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Environmental Traveling Companions

  • 2 Marina Boulevard, San Francisco, CA

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Field Instructor – Youth LEAD Program

Organization & Program Description: Environmental Traveling Companions (ETC) is a volunteer-based nonprofit providing the joy and challenge of outdoor adventures to people with all abilities and from all backgrounds since 1972. We inspire self-confidence, connection to nature, and community-based environmental stewardship through accessible sea kayaking, rafting, and multi-week expeditions for youth from historically marginalized backgrounds. The Youth LEAD Program (YLP) is one of ETC’s three main programs. We provide life-changing outdoor experiences for youth from diverse cultural and economic backgrounds, focusing on technical outdoor skills, environmental education, socio-emotional growth, and leadership development. Our 14-to-21-day courses incorporate sea kayaking, rafting, and backpacking. Students learn about themselves, their community of peers, natural history, and environmental science through lessons, storytelling, community-building, and adventure in the wilderness.


min experience

salary range

$125 - $155 / day

Additional Job Details

International Applicants Allowed?
Work Visa Sponsoring Available

Job Overview

2023 Course Dates & Details

14-Day Adventure – Co-Instructor 

  • Sea Kayak camping on Tomales Bay
  • Backpacking in Desolation Wilderness
  • Dates
    • Prep days: June 20, 21, 22
    • Course dates: June 24 – July 7
    • Post day: July 9

21-Day Sea to Source Course – Co-Instructor 

  • Sea Kayak camping on Tomales Bay
  • Backpacking in Desolation Wilderness
  • Whitewater rafting on the South Fork American River (and camping at gorgeous ETC River Camp, on the banks of the river!)
  • Dates
    • Prep days: July 12, 13, 14, 16
    • Course dates: July 17 – August 6
    • Post day: August 8


Each YLP Course has a team of one Lead Instructor, one Instructor, and one YLP Fellow Field Intern. This core Instructor Team is supported by 3-6 ETC Volunteers during the sea kayak and rafting portions of each Course (depending on the activities of the Course).

  • The Lead Instructor position is for individuals with exceptional technical and interpersonal skills, advanced medical wilderness certification, and previous experience with ETC. Most Lead Instructors have worked a minimum of one Youth LEAD course or have extensive experience with another ETC program. (All Lead Instructor positions filled at this time)
  • Currently hiring for: The Instructor position is for individuals with experience and competence in the outdoor education and/or wilderness guiding fields.
  • The YLP Fellow Field Interns are youth who have participated in a YLP summer course and the YLP Fellowship. They are growing towards becoming amazing future Instructors!


  • $125/day starting wage for Instructors (for course days and prep/post days)
  • All receive $400 for participating in the 5-day Instructor Training
  • Optional: YLP Instructors are invited and encouraged to join ETC’s Inclusion Training (May 20-21, 2023) and YLP Instructor River Trip in August 2023 (exact dates TBD)

Job Responsibilities:

  • Attend a mandatory paid field staff training from June 5th – June 9th in the SF Bay Area, including an overnight kayak camping component from June 7th – 9th.
  • Work collaboratively and communicate compassionately with the core Instructor Team and 3-6 ETC Volunteer Sea Kayak/River Guides to safely instruct 10-12 high school students on the Course.
  • Engage students in meaningful, honest, safe community as a starting point for genuine learning in the outdoors. Hold space for their individual strengths and areas for growth.
  • Learn ETC environmental science and leadership lessons during field staff training and deliver engaging lessons and activities in the field.
  • Prepare course components including food packing, gear packing, lesson organization, and daily flow (with support from ETC office staff).
  • Demonstrate and model excellence in personal organization while living and traveling in campgrounds and backcountry settings for 14-21 days.
  • Provide positive and encouraging support and guidance throughout all course activities.
  • Instruct technical and interpersonal skills to encourage participant leadership growth and personal development.
  • Safely manage and supervise all activities according to ETC operating policies, protocols, and procedures.
  • Responsibly handle and care for all gear and equipment.
  • Supervise and mentor high school aged YLP Fellow Field Intern who is a crucial member of the instructor team and part of ETC’s Youth LEAD Fellowship Program.
  • Serve as a positive, authentic role model for participants, Assistant Instructors, and co-workers.
  • Participate actively in post-course evaluations.


  • Age requirement: 20+
  • Current Wilderness First Aid (WFA) Certification or higher before course begins; Wilderness First Responder certification highly preferred
  • Hiring is dependent on criminal background check and DMV driver check
    • Must have clean driving record
    • Must have 2+ years licensed driving experience
    • Ability to safely drive youth in a large SUV for up to 6 hours
  • Previous experience as a leader in a backcountry setting during extended expeditions
  • Ability to be present, responsive, and focused with student participants for 14-21 consecutive days
  • Previous experience leading equity, diversity, and inclusion activities and/or facilitating programs with racially and socioeconomically diverse groups. Sensitivity to the needs of folks from these groups, especially in the outdoors (a historically white-dominated context), is crucial to this role
  • If identified with a socially dominant group (white, wealthy, heterosexual, cis gender, etc): is committed to examining personal power and privilege and self-education about power dynamics
  • Ability to communicate positively, value feedback, and excel in a strong team-oriented environment
  • Experience with leading outdoor activities and lessons while fostering environmental curiosity, excitement, and stewardship
  • Exemplifies patience and adaptability in dynamic outdoor situations, especially when challenges arise
  • Open to different leadership styles and collaboration; celebrates individual uniqueness with goal of creating inclusive, safe spaces

Additional Preferred Experience:

  • Experience as a sea kayak, backpack, and/or raft guide preferred
  • Bilingual (English/Spanish)
  • Class B Commercial Driver’s License
  • Comfort navigating both on and off trail in alpine environments, particularly in the Sierra Nevadas

Transportation and Lodging:

Instructors must provide their own lodging and transportation to/from Fort Mason Center in San Francisco on June 5 & 6th for Instructor Training, as well as the 3-4 preparation days before course and one post debrief day after course. While on course, all meals and camping accommodations are provided.

**We strongly encourage people of color and individuals identifying as LGBTQI to apply for this position.**

How to Apply:

Thank you for your interest! Please send a resume and cover letter detailing your qualifications, related experience, and which course(s) you’re interested in to Isabela Celedón at [email protected]. If you have any questions about the position, please email [email protected] or call 415-474-7662 ext.16.

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