VWS is accepting new board member applications until Nov 15, 2017.


The Vermont Wilderness School Board of Directors strives to be inclusive, collaborative, and effective, and to have fun together. We are seeking new members as we enter a new stage of our growth. We welcome your application!  The application link is at the bottom of this page.

Our Vision and Mission  

Vermont Wilderness School’s vision is of vibrant communities, in deep relationship with the natural world, inhabiting our bioregions sustainably and equitably for the long term.  We engage youth and adults in cultivating long-term mentoring relationships rooted in community, nature connection, and earth living skills.

Our youth programs provide immersive experiences in the natural world and build confidence, self-sufficiency, and aliveness in each child.  Our adult programs, including the annual Art of Mentoring workshop, train participants experientially in nature connection, wilderness skills, mentoring, and cultural design/facilitation.  We also act as an incubator for new programs, providing fiscal sponsorship to several other programs in the community.

Responsibilities of the Board

1.  Uphold and affirm the VWS vision and mission.

  • Represent the interests and perspectives of the full breadth of VWS’s community.
  • Together with the staff, set the strategic direction and goals for the organization.
  • Interpret VWS’s work and values to the community, represent the organization, and act as ambassadors.

2. Establish fundraising goals and participate in fundraising activities.  

VWS will provide fundraising skills training, and we will match each board member to the types of fundraising tasks they think fits them best. We practice a grassroots fundraising model, which in part means that board members do not need to be wealthy or know wealthy people. However, because we strive for 100% board giving, each board member is expected to give an annual gift at a level that is meaningful to them.

3. Provide legal & fiscal oversight.

  • Ensure that the organization is properly managed, including:
    • Set policy.
    • Supervise and evaluate (and when necessary hire and fire) the Executive Director.
  • Oversee the organization’s finances, including:
    • Review periodic financial reports. (VWS will offer board members training on managing nonprofit finances.)
    • Approve and monitor the annual budget.

Time Commitment

  • Participate in at least 75% of our bi-monthly board meetings (6 per year). Typically the second Friday of the month from 6:00 – 8:30 pm, in Brattleboro, VT or Greenfield, MA. When an urgent item comes up that requires an additional board meeting, that is usually a 1-hour telephone conference call.
  • Participate in the annual board/staff retreat in March  (once per year, an 8 hr day on a Saturday or Sunday)
  • Serve on at least one board committee: Fundraising (approx 2-4 hrs/month). Governance (approx 1-3 hrs/month). Right Relations / Decolonization (approx 1-3 hrs/month).
  • Prep, reading, or research time for monthly board meetings. (0-1 hours per month)
  • Advise the VWS staff in your area of expertise (on an as-needed basis).
  • Board members are strongly encouraged to attend the Vermont Art of Mentoring workshop (Aug 27 – Sep 1, 2018), and to participate in other VWS programs and events whenever they can.

Board Policies

  • The board is made up of 6-12 members.
  • The board should reflect the diversity of our whole community, including gender, race, age, class, geography, and more.
  • Board membership is a volunteer, unpaid position. Board members are asked to pay the costs of travel to board meetings and any program fees for VWS events they attend.  In cases where someone would be prevented from meeting their board responsibilities because of lack of funds, VWS will make an effort to reimburse or waive those costs.

Our Current Challenges

  • The VWS board is making a transition from a small board (7) to a medium-sized board (11).
  • VWS has increased our budget, and in 2018 will be relying on the board to take greater leadership in fundraising than in previous years.

Desired Skills

  • Leadership or organizing experience
  • Non-profit experience, especially prior board membership
  • Fundraising experience, with individual donors, events, and/or foundations
  • Financial literacy
  • Marketing/media experience
  • Vision, passion, and strong strategic thinking for the ongoing development of a small community-based nature education organization
  • Strong ability to connect across social/cultural differences and work with staff, program participants, and community members of diverse backgrounds
  • Familiarity with 8 Shields / Art of Mentoring tools and language
  • Skilled in clear, direct, peaceful communication
  • Sense of humor, curiosity, and creativity!

The VWS Board provides you the opportunity to:

  • Work with great people with a shared vision.
  • Be part of a team that strives to incorporate each person’s unique gifts and offerings, through use of a structure based on the ACORN model.
  • Be in meetings that hold a culture of community– through personal check-ins and gratitude, as well as including embodied learning and fun (like games, skills, sit spots, etc.)
  • Professional development and training possibilities, depending on the board’s needs. Possibilities include training on: fundraising; non-profit finance; diversity and inclusion; being an effective board member.


Current VWS board members

  • Ingrid Burrows
  • Allie Comet
  • Judy Hyde
  • Lauren Layton
  • Kalia Lydgate
  • Jason Morris
  • Gia Neswald

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  1. Nov 15 – Complete your application form by the end of Nov 15.
  2. late Nov – The current board will review your application.
  3. We may then invite you to attend our Dec 20 (6 – 8:30 pm) board meeting. This would be a chance for you to observe the board before committing to join.
  4. Dec – The current board will vote to accept a limited number of new members.
  5. Jan – New board member orientation
  6. Feb 9 (6 – 8:30pm) – Board Meeting w/ new members
  7. Mar 10 (snow date Mar 11) – Annual Board/Staff Daylong Retreat

Questions? Go to the application form for our board chair’s contact information.