Outdoor Leaders create the magic at WI, staffing all events from single to multi-day adventures for adults, youth, and families of all backgrounds and abilities. Most extended trips are 3-12 days in duration. We also conduct hundreds of local day trips in other cities across the United States via Canoemobile. Our activities on these trips range from canoeing, kayaking, hiking, and land-based educational programming.
Outdoor Leaders are classified according to skill and experience and compensated on a per event basis. Depending upon classification, an Outdoor Leader may earn between $50 and $125 per day. Typically, two to three staff conduct each trip for group sizes of 10-20 on extended trips. For day trips, staff numbers will depend on the number of participants and needs for that particular event. Opportunities for advancement available upon demonstrated performance with Wilderness Inquiry. Staff housing and professional service stipends available.
SUMMARY OF RESPONSIBILITIES:
The primary responsibility of Outdoor Leaders is to serve participants and ensure the safety, quality and cost-effectiveness of WI experiences. Outdoor Leaders are responsible for the lives and well being of WI participants throughout a WI adventure. Life as a WI Outdoor Leader can be fun, exciting, and incredibly rewarding, but it is also a tremendous amount of responsibility and it can involve a lot of hard and challenging work.
• Provide excellent leadership for adults, youth and families.
• Using effective judgment and decision making regarding trip implementation.
• Embrace a “servant leadership” ethic that places the participant first.
• Assess participant ability and expectations to safely and effectively meet their needs.
• Provide a high level of customer service for all participants.
• Effectively communicate WI policies and procedures to participants.
• Proficiently perform activities conducted on WI trips including cooking, canoeing, hiking, camping, etc.
• Provide emergency first aid and conduct and/or assist in back-country medical issues including evacuations.
• Work with logistics staff to pack-in and pack-out gear and food.
• Care for equipment while in the back country.
• Complete post trip paperwork including evaluations.
• Safely drive a 15-passenger van pulling a loaded trailer in all weather and road conditions.
The ability to plan, implement and follow through with responsibilities is essential. Must have an aptitude for wilderness leadership, excellent people skills, the ability to oversee projects independently or as part of a team, and strong communication skills. Must be interested in leading extended wilderness trips and/or day trips for people of all abilities, including people with disabilities. Must be willing to keep flexible hours. Must have significant outdoors experience. Must be able to lift and carry heavy loads over rough terrain for distances of up to 1000 feet. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.
Certifications are highly recommended and may influence job placement:
- Wilderness First Aid (WMI, WMA, SOLO, EMSRB, Red Cross)
- Wilderness Water Safety or Lifeguard/Professional Rescuer
- Current Drivers License and safe driving record
All new Outdoor Leader hires are contingent upon successful completion of Wilderness Inquiry staff training, including: Staff Training, Driver Assessment, Voyageur Canoe Assessment and Outdoor Education Interpretive Training.
Wilderness Inquiry is an equal opportunity employer.Apply Now
Frequently Asked Questions
When does WI hire Outdoor Leaders and how long is the application process?
Applications are accepted year round. We do most of our interviewing and hiring between January 1st and May 1st, but we do review applicants at other times of the year. Typically, once we initiate an interview we will conclude the whole process within 2-3 weeks. 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.
How much are Outdoor Leaders typically paid?
The pay range is between $55 and $125 per day based upon individual skill set and responsibility level. Outdoor Leaders are assigned work on a contract basis and will receive a contract with the pay amount for each event based on their pay level. Pay is on a per event basis, and includes pre- and post-trip responsibilities -- which are not paid separately. Total compensation includes training (see below), food provided on trail, housing in between trail if needed, and Pro Deals. After every 55 days on trail, leaders who maintain current certifications receive a professional stipend of $300 to defray the costs of certifications.
Does WI Provide Staff Training?
Yes, and it is required for most staff. WI Staff Training typically takes place mid to late May. Training lasts about 1 week and includes time at WI and time on trail. Training focuses on 4 areas: Leadership, Wilderness Skills, WI systems, and working with diverse groups of people, including people with disabilities. Staff receive a stipend of $125 to attend staff training, and an additional $125 upon successful completion of staff training and working 10 days post training. Staff training serves as an extension of the interview and hiring process. Successful completion is the final step of each leader’s on-boarding.
Where can I get required certifications and do I need to pay for them?
Please visit our certification information webpage for more information. It is recommended to get certifications as early as possible so you can work at the beginning of the season and will not need to take time off to attend certification courses. Certifications are the financial responsibility of the Outdoor Leader. However, WI does provide a $300 stipend to Outdoor Leaders after completion of 55 trail days as financial incentive to help cover the cost of maintaining required certifications.
What will my schedule be like as an Outdoor Leader?
Your schedule will vary. Many Outdoor Leaders work 2-10 extended trips, and 10-30 day events throughout the summer season of June - August. We also run day events May-October. Most extended trips are 3-5 days in length, typically leaving on a Wednesday, returning Sunday. Day events are scheduled Monday through Sunday. Scheduling is typically done after staff training, which provides an opportunity for us to learn about each staff member's strengths and styles. Outdoor Leader and intern schedules for June are typically provided the ﬁrst week after staff training, with additional event schedules to follow.
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.
Are there year-round opportunities for work as an Outdoor Leader?
Yes. In the fall and spring we send 25-40 staff out to conduct Canoemobile programming in cities across the United States (see website on Canoemobile). We also conduct trips in the fall, winter and spring to places like Costa Rica, the Boundary Waters, Belize and the 10,000 Islands. Many trail staff go on to full-time careers in the WI office.
Where can I live in-between trips?
Wilderness Inquiry does have a staff house. Staff housing is limited in capacity and provided on a case by case basis. Rooms are shared among staff/interns. There is a kitchen, bathroom and living room as well as laundry facilities, similar to a youth hostel setting. Staff housing will be discussed in your interview. Please let us know if this is something you are interested in.
Do I need my own gear for trips?
You will need basic personal items such as a sleeping bag, sleeping pad, appropriate outdoor clothing, and a PFD. You can often purchase used or new gear at low-cost through WI. Wilderness Inquiry provides group gear such as tents, cooking gear, boats, etc. For items you need to purchase, we have an arrangement with several outdoor companies, which allows us to give trail staff and interns a substantial savings on outdoor gear (Pro-deals). We are excited to offer this great perk.
I have a wedding or other event that I need to attend. Will this be okay?
Time-off requests should be submitted as early as possible for consideration. The sooner you let us know about your schedule, the better the chance of your time-off request being approved.
Do Outdoor Leaders qualify for benefits?
Seasonal and part-time staff at Wilderness Inquiry do not qualify for health insurance benefits, however WI does provide workers compensation insurance, sick and safe time, and, for trail staff who qualify, an 8% match to a retirement program.
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.
Who do I ask if I have more questions?
The best thing to do is to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.