General Employment FAQ
Does WI offer full-time or career positions?
Yes. Wilderness Inquiry currently has 15+ full-time career positions. The people in these positions are dedicated professionals who perform a wide variety of functions. We are also a growing organization. If you are interested in a career at WI please apply! We keep a database of people who are interested so you might as well get on the list.
What kind of trips does WI do? We conduct both extended trips and day events, locally, regionally and internationally. Depending on your qualifications, you may work more extended trips, more day events, or likely a combination of both. In the summer season, approximately 50% of our trips are canoeing trips and 30% are kayaking trips, 20% hiking trips. Most extended trips are 3-6 days in duration. There are generally 3 types of groups on trips:
- Approximately 45% are standard adult trips where people register as individuals or with friends or family on one of our prescheduled trips.
- 25% of our trips are Family Trips where families sign up on a prescheduled trip.
- 30% are contract trips, where an organization or individual has contracted an entire trip. These groups consist of schools, scout trips, corporate offices, group homes, family reunions, and everything in between. Most of our day events are contract trips
Day events vary from taking school kids down the Mississippi River to workshops at area festivals where we may take up to 600 people canoeing in one day. Trail staff and interns enjoy the variety of groups we serve on our day events. Staff can expect about 20-30% of their trail days to be day events. We try to vary people’s schedules based on skill and previous tripping experience.
Where is Wilderness Inquiry located? WI’s headquarters are in the heart of Minneapolis. It is just blocks from Dinkytown, which is a little self-contained village next to the University of Minnesota campus. There are a variety of shops in Dinkytown, including restaurants, gift and trinket shops, book stores, coffee houses, a grocery store, a gas station, a post office, music stores, bike shops, and bars all within 3-7 blocks of Wilderness Inquiry and the staff house. There are lots of things happening all the time in the greater Minneapolis area as well. Downtown, which runs next to the Mississippi River, is within walking distance and Uptown is less than a 15 minute drive or 25 minute bike ride. There are also several state parks and great hiking and biking trails within 45 minutes of the city. So much to explore, so little time. We also have a basecamp at Little Sand Bay on the South Shore of Lake Superior near the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore.
How do you get to all those trip locations? In Minneapolis, staff prepare for their trip, load up the trailer and van with gear and participants, and drive to and from their trip destination. For some distant destinations, we set up a remote base for the duration of 2-6 trips. On international trips, we make arrangements and then have staff fly-in to do trips, generally several at one time. We also host many single day events, right here within the city.
What is a typical WI staffing team? Extended trips generally have 1 primary leader and 1-2 secondary leaders or interns. Day trips generally have 1 primary leader and up to 20 other staff depending on the group size. Some leaders come to WI with extensive trip leading experience. Some leaders come with extensive experience leading and working with people of varying backgrounds and abilities. We like to hire leaders that have a variety of backgrounds, just like our participants. The one thing that all WI leaders have in common is that they all come to WI for the mission and the people.
Where can I get certifications? Please visit our certification information webpage for more information.
What is WI’s staff training? Summer Staff Training is a week long training that is held each year in early June. If you are an intern during this time, you will participate in staff training. The topics covered include hard skills and soft skills such as canoeing and camp craft, leadership, risk management, and topics particular to Wilderness Inquiry’s mission such as social integration, Universal Programming and a variety of disability related topics with a focus of servant leadership. The training usually includes a 3-4 day trip at our basecamp near the Apostle Islands, and 3-4 days of instruction at our headquarters in Minneapolis. This training is valued at $1,645 and is provided to employees at no charge. We often offer shorter staff training courses in the fall and/or winter.
Does WI hire international staff? Yes! We welcome international applicants, but we do not apply for visa or sponsor applicants. Staff who require visa to work with us need to obtain their visas on their own.
Is housing available for staff? WI’s staff house, known as “Martha’s Place,” is 5 blocks from our Minneapolis office. The staff house is available for out-of-town interns and trail staff at no cost. We do ask that everyone pitch in and take care of it.
Can I park my car at Wilderness Inquiry? Parking is tight in Dinkytown. Parking is not available for trail staff or interns at WI or the staff house. Trail staff may park on the street or at the Van Cleve Park parking lot under the 15th Street bridge. (Take a left at the corner past WI onto 15th Street and take another left at the first corner). Be careful to park in legal parking spaces since tickets and towing are quite common near the University.
Is there a place that I can park my car while I am on a trip? Again, parking is tight. We typically direct participants and staff to a secure parking ramp near St. Anthony Main. Biking is a great option in Minneapolis.
I am a [insert major] and would like to get course credit for my work with Wilderness Inquiry. Can I? If you are considering getting college credit for your work at Wilderness Inquiry, please apply for an internship, and explore options with your academic advisor.
How can I obtain hands on experience at WI before I apply? We encourage all prospective staff to volunteer at WI or participate in an event to find out more about us. One good way to do this is to sign up to be a Trip Assistant (TA.) TA’s go on WI trips at a reduced cost in exchange for helping out on the trip. This is a great way to get a better understanding of what our trips are about, as well as the expectations we have for our trail staff. Volunteer opportunities are listed on our website.
Can I call and talk with someone about a position? We would love to be able to say yes, call us anytime, but given the volume of applicants this is harder than you might think. We strongly encourage you to apply via the website. If you have questions that you feel must be answered before applying, email is your best bet.
Wilderness Inquiry is an equal opportunity employer.