Challenge Course Instructor (Part-Time)

Outward Bound California

San Francisco, California

Job Type Permanent
Salary Details $22.66/hr
Required Experience 0 - 1 years

Challenge Course Instructors facilitate full-day programs for students in grades 6-12 and adults. You’ll be responsible for planning the curriculum and flow of the day, setting up and breaking down the challenge course, and safely facilitating students through the program elements (high & low ropes, ground games, and team-building activities). Our instructors are skilled in facilitation and experienced in working with a variety of students and ages.

Compensation & Schedule (Part-Time)

  • Starting wage is $22.66/hr with opportunities to promote to lead positions 
  • This is a part-time, non-exempt, hourly position, typically 2.5-3 days a week (~20 hrs/week)
  • Position dates are Jan 29 - November 8, 2024 with opportunities to return for the 2025 season
    • Paid Training: Jan 29 - Feb 9, 2024 (8 hrs/day Mon-Fri)
    • Program Season: Tues-Sat, Feb 13 - Nov 8, 2024. Staff meet for a half day on Tuesdays. Student programs run Wednesday-Saturday, 8am-4pm. There is also an unpaid summer break of programs from June 10-15 & July 29-August 3, 2024. Availability of work is dependent on the number of booked programs.

Benefits (Part-Time)

  • Paid and Unpaid Time Off - Accrue 1 hour for every 13 hrs worked 
  • 401K (with employer match) after 1-year of employment
  • Pro Deals (the opportunity to purchase outdoor gear at discounted rates)
  • Free youth development training, professional development funds, and recertification reimbursements
  • Access to Employee Assistance Program (EAP), free of charge for staff and family members
  • All required training is paid


Most program days take place at the McLaren Park Ropes Course in southeast San Francisco. 

Who We Are

Outward Bound California (OBCA) is a non-profit that uses challenging experiences in outdoor settings to create social-emotional learning opportunities for our students. We are a part of the Outward Bound USA network of outdoor education programs.

At the Challenge Course, we offer 1-day experiences for students aged 12+, including adults. We serve a variety of participant groups including schools, community organizations, and companies. To learn more about our course elements, check out the video tour

OBCA is deeply committed to increasing access for students and schools that have traditionally been excluded from outdoor spaces. We do this through our 40+ community partnerships and offer partial or full scholarships to over 2/3 of our students. 

Equity and Inclusion Statement

We believe that all people should have safe access to the outdoors and culturally relevant and responsive educational programming. OBCA is also striving to create an equitable and inclusive internal culture where all staff members feel represented and honored for their identities and lived experiences. We examine how power, bias, race and other aspects of identity impact our organization. We work to build a culture where we are always learning and improving toward a vision for equity and belonging for all staff. We are looking for team members who can actively join us in this process. We are also committed to reflecting the diverse communities with whom we work and strongly encourage people of color, LGBTQ+ identifying folks, and women to apply.

Who You Are

Outward Bound California does not expect every applicant to have every skill and qualification listed here, and we are committed to the professional development of our employees.  A strong candidate who is interested in growing and learning in this role will possess at least 75% of the following qualifications.  If this is you, then we strongly encourage you to submit an application for consideration.  

An Educator

  • Passionate about working with youth, especially teens and middle schoolers
  • Have a deep understanding and personal commitment to equity and inclusion in the outdoors
  • Lived experience or experience working with individuals from diverse backgrounds including age, racial, ethnic, socioeconomic class and members of the LGBTQ+ community 
  • Comfortable giving and receiving feedback
  • Adaptable to the different learning needs of students

Physical Requirements

  • Able to participate in all course activities while maintaining energy, strength, and focus to aid students and instructors
  • Able to lift and transport 20-50 pounds of gear several times a day
  • Can be on feet most days - sometimes for up to 8 hours a day
  • Comfortable working outdoors and climbing to height

Required Current Certifications & Licenses (by Start Date)

  • First Aid & CPR/AED (must meet EMSA requirements for childcare providers [i.e. requires an in-person assessment]) 

Other Requirements

  • 20 years of age or older by start date
  • Able to work Tuesdays and nontraditional hours (earlier than 9am)
  • Able to pass a federal & Live Scan background check and provide current (within last 4 years) negative TB screen or test results (cost of all screening paid for or reimbursed by OBCA)

Bonus if you…

  • Have Saturday availability
  • Have prior experience in experiential, outdoor, or environmental education programs
  • Familiar with belaying and spotting low and high ropes course activities
  • Speak Spanish, Mandarin, or Cantonese
  • Have held a valid US or Canadian driver’s license for at least 3 years


Ropes Course Operation

  • Facilitate students through a 1-day challenge course program 
  • Fit personal safety equipment
  • Belay participants and teach/monitor student belayers
  • Set up and break down of course

Program Design & Delivery

  • Plan and facilitate programs in conjunction with Outward Bound values and partner’s desired outcomes
  • Assess students to ensure all activities are appropriate for experience level and social/cultural needs 
  • Role model inclusive behavior and build a positive group culture
  • Demonstrate cultural responsiveness and an ongoing desire to work with students from diverse backgrounds
  • Create an emotionally safe environment for students and staff
  • Consistently give and receive feedback with co-workers and supervisor to support a learning community

Safety & Risk Management

  • Adhere to all operating procedures, safety policies, and emergency procedures outlined in the staff handbook
  • Clearly establish limits and boundaries for student behavior and independence
  • Respond to or manage a student group in emergencies as appropriate
  • Able to safely and efficiently perform high angle rescue in training and as needed
  • Practice proper self-care and energy management while working outdoors
  • Uses good judgment while making decisions regarding safe use of the challenge course
  • Uphold Outward Bound’s zero-tolerance policy for incidents of child abuse and neglect. Protecting our minor students against abuse and neglect is of the highest priority.

Outward Bound California is an equal-opportunity employer. Employment decisions are made without regard to race, color, religion, national or ethnic origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, disability, protected veteran status, or other characteristics protected by law. Outward Bound California also promotes respect for all people, and will not tolerate harassment based on any of these characteristics.


Application open until filled. Priority for applications received by November 20. No cover letter required.


When you apply, please indicate that you are responding to the posting on Conservation Job Board.

Category Outdoor Recreation