Position Opening: Summer Day Camp – Lead Instructor

Lead Instructors will work two or more weeks (approx 8:30 am – 4pm, Mon – Fri) at one or more of these programs:

Click the camp links above for this summer’s dates.

Our summer starts with 8-10 hours of staff training and site orientation on June 16, 2023. Earthfriend and Shambhala camps will have additional on-site training, date(s) TBD.

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 of 10-12 youth for at least one week (Mon – Fri) of six-hour days outdoors with the support of an assistant.

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 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.
  • Supervise and collaborate with your group’s Assistant Instructor and any teen or adult interns.


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

  • 37.5 hrs/wk for Summer Camps

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 is $19.00/hour (individuals with current Wilderness First Aid/CPR certifications make an additional $0.25/hour, and $0.25/hour is added for each 2 previous years of experience as a VWS Lead Instructor). 

Housing: Staff hired for Otter Camp and Foxwalk Camp who do not have local housing are eligible for housing assistance from VWS. Depending on availability, we may be able to cover the cost of renting a lean-to/tent platform at Fort Dummer State Park (which is the site of Otter Camp & Foxwalk Camp).


To apply, complete this form.

Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis. However we encourage interested individuals to apply as soon as possible, and we anticipate that most openings will be filled by May 1.


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.