About this Position
Cottonwood Institute is looking for knowledgeable and passionate field instructors to lead inspiring outdoor programs throughout the year. Most programs operate in base camp settings throughout the Front Range. During the school year, field instructors work with our CAP instructors to take their classes on field days and overnight camping programs. Please read the CAP class section of our website to get a better sense for our flagship program. During the summer, field instructors lead a variety of programs for local youth organizations ranging from week long backpacking trips to urban watershed day programs. Please see more information about out-of-school programs on our website.

Time Commitment
We are looking to hire a field instructor for field days and 1-night camping trips in the spring and longer programs in the summer. Although we hire seasonally, high performing instructors will be eligible to continue employment year round and receive pay increases for every 10 field days worked. This is a variable hour part-time position, meaning that your contract will vary depending on the program schedule and your availability; you will receive contract dates for the upcoming season upon hiring. In addition to time on programs, your contract will include time before and after each trip for tasks like planning, packing out gear, picking up vehicles, unpacking gear, debriefing, and filling out paperwork. We pay for all time spent working, including training. Please see application for specific upcoming program dates.

What you will do
Co-instruct 1-2 day outdoor experiences for middle and high school students
Co-instruct multi day outdoor experiences for youth and families
Facilitate the development of positive group dynamics with and among teens through community building activities
Teach and model exemplary interpersonal skills such as leadership, communication, and expedition behavior
Teach and support outdoor skills development such as camp craft, outdoor cooking, and fire building
Teach and support environmental awareness and connection, including leading hikes and place-based activities
Implement CI’s Risk Management Plan during programming and be responsible for the safety of all participants
Drive students to and from sites in company and/or rental vehicles, including 15-passenger vans
Document program experiences with pictures, videos, blog posts, and participant quotes

Tagged as: Instruction and Guiding, Teaching/Education


Must be 21 years or older
Must have experience instructing or leading middle or high school student groups
Must have a valid driver's license by the start date of this position, pass a Motor Vehicle Record (MVR) check, and complete driver training including online 15-passenger van training and behind the wheel training
Must pass a background check and a registered sex offender check
Must have current certification in Wilderness First Aid and CPR or ability to obtain by the start of this position

Required Skills:

Experience facilitating group camping and field logistics with teens, or a combination of previous work with youth and significant personal outdoor experience
Flexibility with dynamic conditions and program demands
Experience creating inclusive and supportive spaces with students from a variety of cultural economic backgrounds
Personal commitment to advancing justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion, especially in the outdoors
Enthusiasm for service-learning, environmental education, and outdoor education

Preferred Skills:

Spanish proficiency (eligible for pay incentive)
Extensive experience with outdoor trip leading in an overnight camping context (eligible for pay incentive)
Extensive experience teambuilding and facilitating teen leadership development in an outdoor setting
Extensive knowledge of local environmental issues such as fire ecology, water issues, plant/animal identification
Wilderness First Responder or W-EMT certification (eligible for pay incentive)

About Cottonwood Institute

Cottonwood Institute (CI) is a 501(c)3 non-profit on a mission to connect middle and high school students to nature and inspire them to protect it. CI partners with local schools and youth organizations to engage students in the outdoors through environmental education programs and service learning projects. We lead classes and programs in Boulder, Denver, and Aurora and overnight trips throughout the Colorado Front Range.

Application Instructions

Location: Programs in Denver Metro / Louisville Gear Pick-up To Apply: Fill out this form by the end of the day on Friday, February 23 (https://forms.gle/gHV5tLk67js9UA3R6) Timeline: We will conduct interviews from February 26 - March 6 with a start date at the beginning of April.