Assistant Program Manager

This job has been Expired
The Glacier Institute
Job Overview

Big Creek Outdoor Education Center

Assistant Program Manager


Since 1983, The Glacier Institute, a private 501(c) (3) nonprofit, has been providing hands-on, field-based education in some of nature’s wildest places. Through a science-based approach to outdoor education, our participants leave better prepared to make informed and constructive decisions as empowered stewards. The Glacier Institute is looking to hire 1 full-time, seasonal Assistant Program Manager for its Big Creek Outdoor Education Center located in northwestern Montana. 

Big Creek Outdoor Education Center primarily serves students ages 7-18, however, specialized groups of all ages visit our site each year. We are an all-inclusive site, which means we provide lodging, meals and transportation for most of our participants. Big Creek is located 20 miles north of the nearest town of Columbia Falls, Montana, and occupies an old Forest Service Ranger Station. Our remote, off-grid site sits in the heart of the Flathead National Forest (Glacier View District) along the banks of Big Creek. We are 200 yards away from the wild and scenic designated North Fork of the Flathead River,  which designates the western border of Glacier National Park. Reaching us requires traveling 7 miles of unpaved gravel road. Most of our buildings are historically designated and nearing 100 years in age, resulting in truly rustic accommodations. 


Job Summary:

The Big Creek Assistant Program Manager is responsible for supervising the 4 full-time, seasonal Outdoor Educators and 1 Outdoor Educator Intern in curriculum and educational programming, as well as day-to-day operations at our Big Creek Outdoor Education Center. At Big Creek, we work with local school groups and youth camps to empower students of all ages through place- and science-based learning. The Assistant Program Manager is responsible for monitoring, maintaining, and improving the quality of curriculum through conducting staff training, evaluations, and program development. The Assistant Program Manager will be responsible for designating and supervising staff projects at the request of the Program Manager. Along with the Outdoor Educators, the Assistant Program Manager is responsible for teaching various environmental science classes, leading students on day-hikes and backpacking trips, and monitoring students during mealtimes, and free-times. All staff rotate through a variety of camp tasks including, but not limited to, cooking, cleaning, and overnight bunk supervision (during the summer season). The Big Creek Assistant Program Manager reports to the Big Creek Program Manager.

Start Date: March 1, 2020 End Date:  November 1, 2020 

*There is some flexibility in these dates, specific details will be discussed during hiring.


  • Full room and board.
  • DOE monthly stipend with the ability to earn a performance based, end-of-season bonus.  
  • 2020 employee entrance pass into Glacier and Waterton National Parks.
  • Friends and family discounts for all Glacier Institute courses (subject to availability). 


  • Conduct observations and evaluations of educational curriculum and programming.
  • Provide staff training in curriculum and educational techniques. 
  • Delegate, supervise, and participate in daily/weekly housekeeping and cleaning tasks as assigned by the Program Manager.
  • Delegate, supervise, and participate in staff projects and site improvement tasks as assigned by the Program Manager (e.g. painting, staining, light-carpentry, rodent control, wood chopping, landscaping, etc.).
  • Develop and improve curriculum and educational programming.  
  • Operate as the point-of-contact in the circumstances when the Program Manager is not available/on-site. 
  • Ability to operate calmly and responsibly as second-in-line during emergency responses (training will be provided). 
  • Lead students, grades K-12, through day, multi-day, and overnight field-based outdoor education programs and day hikes. Curriculum and program training will be provided, however, there is always room and encouragement for staff to collaborate and develop new programming ideas.  
  • Manage students’ safety in unregulated outdoor environments by applying sound judgment, problem solving, and risk management skills. Glacier National Park boasts the highest density of grizzly bears in the lower 48 states, and staff should expect at least one bear encounter to occur. Bear spray and bear safety training will be provided.
  • Administer and document first aid and appropriate emergency responses.
  • Safely operate 15 passenger vans/buses to transport students down rough dirt roads, up the highly technical Going-to-the-Sun road, and along highway corridors. 
  • Display confidence and comfort working in adverse environmental conditions (snow, rain, 0°F-100°F temperatures, mosquitoes/ticks, hazardous wildlife, etc.).
  • Ability to work and live in remote, off-grid locations with limited cell-phone service or immediate emergency services. 
  • Monitor students during meals and free-times, and provide overnight supervision in gender-separate bunk houses July-August on a rotating schedule. 
  • Lead 5 day backpacking trips with students ages 11-16. 
  • Prepare daily meals for up to 45 guests while following Montana Serv-Safe regulations (no certification necessary, on the job training will be provided).
  • Represent The Glacier Institute and its mission and goals.

Minimum Qualifications:

  • A Bachelor’s degree or equivalent experience with a strong education background and a thorough knowledge of comprehensive natural/environmental processes. 
  • Valid driver’s license with an insurable driving record.
  • Current Wilderness First Aid/CPR certification through the contracted dates of employment.
  • Ability to live remotely on-site. 
  • Ability to work long and flexible hours including evenings and holidays. 
  • Extensive outdoor skills experience (e.g. hiking, backpacking, fire building, route-finding, etc.)
  • Ability to hike 12 miles with up to 3,000 feet of elevation gain over steep, rocky, and potentially snowy terrain, and carry a pack up to 50 pounds. 
  • Experience operating large vehicles in off-road conditions (4×4 experience not required).
  • Self-motivated with the ability to efficiently work independently with little instruction or supervision. 


What to Expect: 

  • The average age of our staff is around 22-26 years old with very diverse backgrounds and personalities.
  • As an Outdoor Educator, you are first and foremost responsible for the safety and well-being of all students. All of our operations occur in high-risk, unpredictable, remote, and unregulated wilderness conditions, which can pose a limitless set of challenges. 
  • On many days Plan A has gone out the door by 9:00am. The nature and location of our work provides for a fast paced and unpredictable environment. Those who can think on their feet, adapt quickly, and be flexible thrive at Big Creek.
  • The buildings we occupy are old and have seen a lot of use over the years. Mice, spiders, bats, and Becky the pack rat are all part of the deal.  You will quickly get acquainted with mouse traps, finicky water heaters, and hodge-podge amenities, but these are just some of the things that gives Big Creek her lively character.
  • Big Creek is off the grid, however, the site is fully functioning with running water, electricity, and heat. We run a large solar panel on site that is supplemented by a propane generator when needed, our water comes from a well, each room has its own propane heater, we have 2 refrigerators, 2 propane stoves/ovens,  a washer/dryer on site for personal laundry, and 2 cell phone boosters that allow for phone calls and texts. 
  • Because we all work, live, and recreate together in a remote setting, a strong bond quickly forms between staff. You will leave here with lifelong friends and connections. 
  • Because we all work, live, and recreate together in a remote setting, conflict will occur. As a staff, we will work early on to establish healthy communication and teamwork practices so we can all enjoy a positive, fun, and productive season! People (staff and students) will have different beliefs and habits than each other, and to be a successful member of our staff you must be respectful of diversity, empathetic, and open-minded. 
  • We usually work five long (10-14 hour) days a week** and are always on the move. **During crunch weeks and/or staffing shortages staff may be scheduled for more than 5 days/week, advanced notice will be given if these circumstances occur.
  • We work hard in exchange for unbelievable access to some of the wildest, most rugged, and most scenic landscapes in the U.S. Many past staff members have enjoyed mountaineering, backpacking, fly fishing, rafting/canoeing/kayaking, mushroom collecting, skiing (there’s snow year round!), wildlife photography, catching a glimpse at the Northern Lights, and so much more.

If this position sounds like the right fit, please submit a resume, 3 reference contacts, and a cover letter to [email protected], and include the title of the position(s) you are applying for in your cover letter and subject line of your email. 

We look forward to your application!