Lead Wilderness Instructor

Wa-Ya Outdoor Institute

Olympia, Washington

Job Type Temporary
Salary Details $18.00/hour + $100 per overnight
Deadline Mar 26, 2023


Camp Wa-Ya is hiring a Lead Adventure Instructor to work Summer 2023. This position runs  June 19th through September 2nd, and also has the option to start earlier on May 22 to begin pre-season tasks such as plan routes, inventory gear, and develop curriculum. Our Lead Adventure Instructor leads Wa-Ya’s Teen Adventure Trips program and teaches lessons centered around sea kayaking, backpacking, and camping with a focus on outdoor survival and naturalist skills, environmental stewardship, Indigenous teachings, and mindfulness. As a Lead Adventure Instructor, you will be responsible for leading a group during 9, five-day sessions including overnights (4-day, 3-night kayaking and backpacking trips). You will be partnered with an Assistant Adventure Instructor to design safety and route plans, teach lessons, run activities, and organize games for your group of up to 10 campers, ages 12-17.

The Lead Adventure Instructor is an elevated responsibility position requiring experience in outdoor overnight adventures, childcare, and developing lessons plans, safety plans, and trip routes and logistics. Specific to each camp, the Lead Adventure Instructor will be expected to teach sea kayaking, backpacking and camping skills including basic kayaking skills such as standard paddle strokes tracking and navigation, wet exits and assisted reentry; dressing and packing for the elements (including how to pack a backpack and sea kayak); camp safety including Leave No Trace principles; outdoor survival skills such as shelter building, water purification, fire building; and orienteering and navigation including map, compass, and GPS use.

All Wa-Ya staff engage in a culturally integrated environment, where Wa-Ya’s values of respect, diversity, equity, and inclusion are practiced. Logistical direction and support provided by the Camp Director.


  • Teaching South Puget Sound plant and wildlife identification, natural history, conservation, marine biology, geology, river systems, survival skills, orienteering, and Indigenous culture.
  • Providing outdoor adventure instruction specific to sea kayaking, backpacking, and camping.
  • Curriculum, lesson, safety, and trips planning, weekly preparation, and clean-up. This includes directing and managing the Assistant Adventure Instructor to ensure work is accomplished in a safe, complete, and timely manner.
  • Management of Adventure Trips logistics including travel plans, meal planning and prep, equipment management, trail or route planning, and primary coordination with the Camp Director who will serve as your support throughout the Adventure Trips process.
  • Providing care and quality control of Wa-Ya field equipment, adventure equipment, and teaching supplies including maintaining a well-organized and clean equipment storage room.
  • Following camp policies and procedures and ensuring the safety and wellbeing of all participants at camp.
  • Adhering to Wa-Ya COVID protocols, including protocol changes as state requirements evolve.
  • Driving the Wa-Ya vans (12- and 15-passenger) to teaching sites, including periodic requirements for towing Wa-Ya’s Sea Kayak Trailer.
  • Engaging with parents and the Camp Director.


  • First Aid/CPR certified, Wilderness First Aid or Wilderness First Responder preferred.
  • Preferred certifications in Open Water Rescue and Boating Safety.
  • Valid driver's license, clean driving record, and ability to pass a background check.
  • Must be 18 or older.
  • Available to work 8:00am - 5:00pm, Monday - Friday, including Tuesday/Wednesday/Thursday overnights, and attend orientation.
  • Demonstrated knowledge, skills, and abilities in developing and delivering environmental science and/or outdoor education curriculum to kids.
  • Demonstrated experience leading sea kayaking and/or backpacking overnight trips including competency in supporting overnight camping conditions for youth.
  • Experience working with wilderness therapy or at-risk youth and trauma-informed care preferred.
  • Familiarity with local flora and fauna, and STEAM activities.
  • Passion, curiosity, patience, and reliability required.


In-person 4-day staff training begins June 19, 2023, followed by an additional week of training for Adventure Camp instructors, which will include a sea-kayak training trip provided through one of our partners. Adventure Camp then begins July 3, 2023. Adventure Camps run Monday through Friday and end September 1st, 2023. Adventure Camps are 5 day programs and include a 4-day, 3-night kayak or backpacking trip. All day-program shifts run approximately 8 hours, although additional time may occur for curriculum prep, cleanup, or to provide normal and routine child care needs.


  • $720 per week base pay ($18.00 per hour equivalent); $100 per night additional compensation
  • Additional training such as WFA/WFR, kayak skills advancement, and other safety certifications will be provided for the right candidate.

Non-Discrimination Policy:

Wa-Ya does not and shall not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion (creed), gender, gender expression, age, national origin (ancestry), disability, marital status, sexual orientation, or military status, in any of its activities or operations. These activities include, but are not limited to, hiring and firing of staff, selection of volunteers and vendors, and provision of services. We are committed to providing an inclusive and welcoming environment for all staff, clients, volunteers, subcontractors, vendors, and campers.


To Apply:

Submit the following required materials for consideration to wayaoutdoorschool@gmail.com:

  • Resume
  • Cover Letter
  • 3 References

This position will remain open until filled. The application deadline has been extended to March 26th 2023

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

Category Environmental Education, Outdoor Recreation
Tags Naturalist