The Senior Director of Youth Programs provides strategic direction and leadership to grow Wilderness Inquiry’s national youth programs including Canoemobile and Outdoor Career Academy. The Senior Director of Youth Programs directs all aspects of youth-related programs including outreach, partner relations, training, staffing, implementation, evaluation, and finance/budgeting.
Founded in 1978, Wilderness Inquiry began to actively serve youth of all backgrounds and abilities in 2006. Since then, several new programs have emerged which currently account for almost 50% of Wilderness Inquiry’s operations and budget. The primary program is the Canoemobile, which reaches 30+ youth in more than 50 cities coast to coast annually. Another program, Outdoor Career Academy, helps hundreds of urban youth learn new skills and find career pathways in the outdoors. Wilderness Inquiry also conducts hundreds of backcountry youth experiences per year. This is a new position created to drive, coordinate, and manage the growth of these youth programs.
Program Oversight: Develops long-term and short-term goals to achieve WI’s strategic initiatives related to youth programs.
- Develops annual and long-term plans to achieve youth program goals.
- Oversees implementation of youth programs – moving from vision to action.
- Leads execution of strategic initiatives including the establishment of Canoemobile hub cities.
- Creates and updates program logic models such as the Pyramid of Engagement to demonstrate outcomes of youth programs.
Operational Excellence: Ensures programs for youth are delivered with the highest level of operational excellence.
- Reviews and updates training protocols for youth leaders.
- Oversees youth curricula based on best practices in the field.
- Creates pathways for youth through well-designed, integrated programs – building from introductory to in-depth experiences.
- Outlines and reviews goals and benchmarks to achieve consistently high level of operational performance.
- Develops comfort at the intersection of outdoor learning, accessibility, personal growth, and technology.
- Collaborates with partners to ensure we capitalize on existing resources and meet the educational and emotional needs of youth.
Financial Ownership: Ensures WI has the resources necessary for youth program implementation
- Collaborates with WI’s leadership team to create and oversee annual program budget.
- Achieves program revenue goals.
- Proposes program financial needs based on annual goals and plans.
- Ensures timely and accurate reporting about programs, internally and externally.
- Aligns program revenues and expenses with the overall WI budget and goals.
Outreach and Partnerships: Strengthens current multi-sector partner relationships and cultivates new strategic partners ranging from school district superintendents to corporate leaders to local naturalists.
- Drives multi-modal outreach campaigns to grow programs and partners.
- Creates messaging for external audiences regarding program purpose, goals, outcomes, and impact.
Evaluation and Improvement: Demonstrates program impact and areas for change based on internal and external data.
- Summarizes research and evaluation related to program development.
- Designs and implements high quality, cost-effective program evaluation system.
- Analyzes program feedback to make systematic improvements.
- Shares outcomes and impact internally and externally.
The work of WI continuously changes in order to maintain relevancy. All of WI’s staff team members must be flexible and able to adapt to short and long-term shifts in their job responsibilities.
- BA/BS degree. Graduate degree or M.B.A. preferred.
- Ten years or more experience in field or related field
- Professional experience leading outdoor, camping and paddling pursuits preferred
- Track record of continuous process improvement and operational excellence
- Personable and flexible, with a team-based, customer service framework
- Demonstrated success in a fast-paced environment with a culture of high performance
- Able to think strategically and execute tactically
- Possesses refined and well-organized multi-tasking skills
- Demonstrates high energy and the ability to motivate others to action through a positive, can-do attitude
Wilderness Inquiry is an equal opportunity employer.Apply Now
Frequently Asked Questions
How senior is this position?
The Youth Programs Director is one of the most senior leadership positions at WI.
What is the salary range for the Youth Programs Director position?
$75,000-$100,000 commensurate with experience. Wilderness Inquiry also offers highly competitive benefits.
Where is this position based?
The Youth Programs Director position is based in Minneapolis.
How much travel is involved?
This position involves significant networking with partners throughout the United States, especially Washington, DC, San Francisco, New York, Chicago and Atlanta. In short, it will be important to develop relationships with organizational partners and funders, and this will involve travel.