Backcountry Guide

Wild Society
Job Overview

Overview: Wild Society is a wilderness education nonprofit based in western WA. Our mission is to cultivate wonder and belonging in the natural world. Our curriculum is built around natural history, basic backpacking and survival skills, and wilderness awareness, taught within a culture of gratitude and respect. Guides must share these values and should have their own strong relationship to the backcountry. All guides are required to adhere to Wild Society policies and practices regarding travel and safety. They are also supported in teaching lessons particular to their own skill sets and passions, so long as they are in accord with Wild Society culture.


Backcountry guides are responsible for guiding and teaching up to 10 youth, ages 12-18, safely and effectively during a week long backpacking trip in the Olympic Mountains. All trips have two lead guides, some incorporate guest instructors (typically naturalists or other specialists in our curriculum). Wild Society programs follow a specific daily structure that incorporates reflection, direct instruction, and exploration into every day. Guides engage the campers throughout the day to encourage connection with, and deeper understanding of, the natural world.


Guides are responsible for:


  • Guiding campers ages 12-18 through a week-long backcountry trip.
  • Teaching Wild Society curriculum. At a minimum: maintain Wild Society’s daily structure, and teach basic backpacking, leadership, leave-no trace, natural history, and awareness skills.
  • Maintaining an environment of safety through adherence to the risk management policies of Wild Society, as well as maintaining a general attitude of safety and risk prevention.
  • Preparing all of the meals.
  • Responding to any emergency that may present itself in an appropriate manner.


All Wild Society guides are required to:

  • Submit to a background check
  • Hold a valid Wilderness First Responder certificate
  • Hold a valid food workers permit
  • Attend a staff training weekend early spring


Time commitment:

  • Weekend staff retreat April 12-14, 2019 in Chimacum—unpaid. Friday night to Sunday noon. All lodging, meals, and materials provided. We guarantee it’s a great time!
  • One six day backcountry trip: 2019 dates are July 22-27, July 29-Aug 3, & possibly Aug 5-10
  • Pre-trip guide meeting & gear check—TBD per guide group, typically week prior to trip
  • Post-trip guide debrief, reporting, reflection—informal meetup, typically week after trip


Compensation: $115/day when in the field—total $690 for one six-day trip. Where possible, Wild Society will cover 50% of WFR certification fees for current and ongoing guides (please ask if you’re up for recert).


Guides are selected based on their training, experience, and availability. We are looking for people who have a tremendous passion for the outdoors, experience working with youth, are comfortable teaching our core curriculum, and believe in our mission as much as we do. Wild Society is an equal opportunity employer. Individuals from all cultures and communities are encouraged to apply.


To apply: Please submit a resume and statement (500 words or less) re: your guiding experience, personal connection to the natural world, and teaching philosophy to [email protected].


Closing date: open until filled—but the sooner we know, the better! Thank you.

Questions? Contact Forrest Nichols, Executive Director: (360) 536-3947, [email protected].