The Youth LEAD (Leadership, Environment, Adventure, and Diversity) Program (YLP) is one of ETC’s three main programs. We provide life-changing outdoor experiences for youth from diverse cultural and economic backgrounds, focusing on technical outdoor skills, environmental education, socio-emotional growth, and leadership development.
Our 14-to-21-day courses incorporate sea kayaking, rafting, and backpacking. Students learn about themselves, their community of peers, natural history, and environmental science through lessons, storytelling, community-building, and adventure in the wilderness.

*2023 Course Dates & Details: 

–> 14-Day Adventure – Co-Instructor 
– Sea Kayak camping on Tomales Bay
– Backpacking in Desolation Wilderness
– Prep days: June 20, 21, 22
– Course dates: June 24 – July 7
– Post day: July 9

–> 21-Day Sea to Source Course – Co-Instructor 
– Sea Kayak camping on Tomales Bay
– Backpacking in Desolation Wilderness
– Whitewater rafting on the South Fork American River (and camping at gorgeous ETC River Camp, on the banks of the river!)
– Prep days: July 12, 13, 14, 16
– Course dates: July 17 – August 6
– Post day: August 8


Each YLP Course has a team of one Lead Instructor, one Instructor, and one YLP Fellow Field Intern. This core Instructor Team is supported by 3-6 ETC Volunteers during the sea kayak and rafting portions of each Course (depending on the activities of the Course).

–> Currently hiring for: The Instructor position is for individuals with experience and competence in the outdoor education and/or wilderness guiding fields.


$125/day starting wage for Instructors (for course days and prep/post days)
All receive $400 for participating in the 5-day Instructor Training
Optional: YLP Instructors are invited and encouraged to join ETC’s Inclusion Training (May 20-21, 2023) and YLP Instructor River Trip in August 2023 (exact dates TBD)

*Transportation and Lodging:
Instructors must provide their own lodging and transportation to/from Fort Mason Center in San Francisco on June 5 & 6th for Instructor Training, as well as the 3-4 preparation days before course and one post debrief day after course. While on course, all meals and camping accommodations are provided.


Tagged as: Backcountry Skills, Instruction and Guiding, Mountaineering Skills, Teaching/Education, Water Skills


●Age requirement: 20+
●Current Wilderness First Aid (WFA) Certification or higher before course begins; Wilderness First Responder certification highly preferred (some scholarships available)
●Hiring is dependent on criminal background check and DMV driver check
●Must have clean driving record; Must have 2+ years licensed driving experience; Ability to safely drive youth in a large SUV for up to 6 hours
●Previous experience as a leader in a backcountry setting during extended expeditions

Required Skills:

●Attend mandatory field staff training from June 5th - June 9th in the SF Bay Area, including overnight kayak camping component from 6/7- 6/9.
●Work collaboratively and communicate compassionately with the core Instructor Team and 3-6 ETC Volunteer Sea Kayak/River Guides to safely instruct 10-12 high school students on the Course.
●Engage students in meaningful, honest, inclusive community as a starting point for genuine learning in the outdoors. Hold space for individual strengths and areas for growth.

Preferred Skills:

●Experience as a sea kayak, backpack, and/or raft guide preferred
●Bilingual (English/Spanish)
●Class B Commercial Driver’s License
●Comfort navigating both on and off trail in alpine environments, particularly in the Sierra Nevadas

About Environmental Traveling Companions

ETC is a non-profit, volunteer based organization that provides outdoor adventure and environmental education experiences for people of all abilities. ETC conducts Sea Kayak, Whitewater Rafting, and Cross Country Skiing trips for youth and adults from under-resourced backgrounds and people with disabilities as well as extended Youth Leadership Programs for disadvantaged youth.

Application Instructions

Thank you for your interest! Please send a resume and cover letter detailing your qualifications, related experience, and which course(s) you're interested in to Isabela Celedón at [email protected]. If you have any questions about the position, please email [email protected] or call 415-474-7662 ext.16.