Position Opening: School-Year Youth Programs – Lead Instructor

Instructors commit to working one or more days of the weekfrom September to May, at either or both of these programs:

Click the links above for dates.

Our session is preceded by a Staff Training day in early September. (If you are unable to attend the training, please go ahead and apply and we can discuss it.) 

About the position:

We’re looking for vibrant, experienced instructors to join our teaching team. As a Lead Instructor, you must be able to lead a group outdoors for a full program day. Each day includes 6 hours spent (4 hrs in the case of Foxwalk Forest School) with 10-12 youth and one Assistant Instructor, and about 90 minutes with the full camp staff (to allow for meetings, set-up, & take-down). A 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 some of the children begin at VWS when they are only 5, and many of them return year after year.

Instructors are paid for program instruction and time spent in staff meetings and trainings. More than a job, it’s an opportunity to grow and tend nature-connected community.


The following qualifications are broad areas of knowledge and skills and we do not expect anyone to be an “expert” but at a minimum to have some skill and familiarity.  Also a willingness to continue developing and learning!

  • Experience with nature connection mentoring
  • Some naturalist knowledge, earth living skills, and familiarity with past and present human relationship with the lands of this region. (If you don’t have much experience in one or two of these areas, we will support you in your development.)  
  • Ability to create a safe and nurturing program experience for children and families, including those who identify as Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BiPOC), LGBTQ+, and/or disabled. (If you don’t have much experience in these areas, we will support you in your development.)
  • Strong group management and safety skills
  • Good communication and interpersonal skills
  • Organizational and time management skills
  • Current First Aid/CPR certification (These are available locally in the months before programs begin, and the cost is partially subsidized by VWS.). If your certification recently expired, you may apply anyway, but on the application form be sure to note when it expired.
  • Ability to perform essential job functions involving light-to-vigorous physical outdoor activity in all weather conditions
  • Ability to attend staff training sessions before your 1st day with youth; dates & times to be arranged with your Program Director.

What you embody:

  • Love of children
  • Love of nature
  • Attunement to the diverse experiences and identities participants bring
  • Playfulness and fun
  • Integrity & emotional intelligence
  • Humility & service-mindedness
  • Creativity & collaboration
  • Commitment to personal & professional growth
  • Commitment to equity and creating an inclusive space for all children


  • Oversee physical and emotional safety and instruction for children during our nature programs.
  • Work with a teaching team to develop program activities.
  • Communicate with parents (email, phone calls, in-person, before/after programs) if needed. (The Program Director does the bulk of this.)
  • Participate in staff meetings and staff development trainings as requested.
  • Collaborate with your group’s Assistant Instructor and any teen or adult interns.


You will be paid hourly for your time in the field:

  • Blue Heron Community School: 27 weeks (1 program day/week). 9.75 hrs/week.  
  • Foxwalk Forest School: 27 weeks (1 program day/week). 9.75 hrs/week.

Approximately ¾ of these hours are spent with youth. The remaining ¼ are for daily staff prep and debrief meetings, email & phone communications, and required staff training.  The base pay for a Lead Instructor is $19.50/hour. Individuals with current Wilderness First Aid/CPR certifications make an additional $0.25/hour. It may be possible to work multiple programs, depending on available openings.


You may apply to work more than one program.  Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis. We encourage interested individuals to apply as soon as possible, and we anticipate that most Lead & Assistant Instructor openings will be filled by August 30. Some openings for substitutes may remain afterwards.

To apply, complete this form

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.