Position Opening – Youth Program Lead Instructor

We currently have no openings for substitute lead instructors but an opportunity may become available later and you are welcome to complete the application below to let us know you are interested.

About the position:

Our four separate weekly youth programs meet from late September to late May. We expect all four programs to be fully enrolled for the 2020-2021 program year.

  • Monday Program – Marlboro, VT
  • Tuesday Program – Putney, VT
  • Wednesday Program – Dummerston, VT
  • Thursday Program – Dummerston, VT

We’re looking for vibrant, experienced instructors to complement our teaching team. You must be able to lead a group of six children for a six-hour day outdoors with the support of one teen or adult volunteer.  There are no indoor spaces on site, so you and your group will establish a tarped natural shelter that can be used in all seasons when needed. We have honed our COVID-prevention protocols over ten weeks of summer camp, and we will train you in implementing these important new practices in an outdoor setting.

A deep love of children and an understanding of their developmental needs is crucial to your success in our program, as is your skilled communication and playful spirit. Long-term mentoring is a hallmark of our programs, as many of the children begin at VWS when they are only 5, and many of them return year after year.

Instructors are paid for program facilitation and planning/prep time. More than a job, it’s an opportunity to grow and tend nature-connected community.

Qualifications we’re looking for:  

  • Experience with nature connection mentoring (experience with the 8 Shields mentoring model preferred but not required)
  • Naturalist knowledge, earth living skills, and familiarity with past and present human relationship with the lands of this region
  • Ability to create a safe and nurturing program experience for all children and families, including those who identify as Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BiPOC), LGBTQ+, and/or disabled.
  • Strong group management and safety skills
  • Excellent communication and interpersonal skills
  • Organizational and time management skills
  • Current First Aid/CPR certifications
  • Ability to perform essential job functions involving light-to-vigorous physical outdoor activity in all weather conditions

What you embody:

  • Love of children
  • Love of nature
  • Attunement to the diverse experiences and identities participant bring
  • Playfulness and fun
  • Integrity & high emotional intelligence
  • Humility & service-mindedness
  • Creativity & collaboration
  • Commitment to personal & professional growth
  • Commitment to equity, anti-oppression, anti-racism, and decolonization


Each weekly program includes approximately 9 hours/week. Hourly wages are $16/hour. Working as many four of our weekly programs simultaneously may be an option.

Key Areas of Responsibility:

  • Oversee physical and emotional safety and instruction for children during our nature programs.
  • Work with teaching team to develop program activities.
  • Meet seasonally with the Program Director.
  • Communicate with parents (email, phone calls, in-person, before/after programs) on a weekly basis.
  • Participate in staff meetings, on-going staff development trainings, and other meetings as requested.
  • Supervise & mentor the intern/service instructors that serve our programs.

Fall programs have started but if you are interested in being on our list of potential substitute instructors, please complete the application below.

More about who we are:

The Vermont Wilderness School envisions a world where every person and every community is able to cultivate a deep connection with the natural world. We believe this will only be possible alongside the replacement of systems of colonization, oppression, and extraction with new systems of equity, justice, and regeneration. Our vision and values are reflected in our employment-related decisions, including hiring practices. VWS actively seeks to employ a diverse staff.  We invite you to bring your own unique perspective, culture, and identities if you join us in this work.

As an EOE/AA employer, VWS will not discriminate in its employment practices due to an applicant’s race, color, ethnicity, religion, sex, national origin or ancestry, age, sexual orientation, gender identification, genetic information, veteran or disability status, or any other factor prohibited by law.