North Cascades Institute seeks skilled backcountry educators to join our Youth Leadership Adventures (YLA) team. Youth Leadership Instructors plan and instruct 5- and 8-day canoeing and backpacking trips for teens. They are responsible for the physical safety, emotional safety, and education of all trip participants. Our high-school youth population is representative of students from our local counties, which includes people of color, LGBTQ+ individuals, English Language Learners, students from low income backgrounds, students from rural and urban communities, and recent immigrants. Trips incorporate backpacking, canoeing, outdoor skills, and service work as well as curriculum in natural and cultural history, climate solutions, leadership, and community engagement. Each trip will have two instructors and up to ten students. Instructors will participate in training in June and then lead backcountry trips in July and August.

Youth Leadership Instructors will work at the North Cascades Environmental Learning Center (located on the shore of Diablo Lake), and in the field while leading backcountry camping and backpacking courses.

This is a temporary/seasonal, full-time, exempt position. Pay while working in the field during trips is $170 per day
○ You can expect to work 35-40 field days throughout the summer
○ Returning instructors will receive a $5 field day increase for each returning year

Pay while working in the office preparing for trips is $136-$144 per day, depending on experience and training
○ You can expect to work 21-24 office days throughout the summer

Benefits include:
○ Paid holidays: 2 days during the summer
○ Sick leave: ~8 hours per month
○ Ability to participate in Institute pro deals
○ Employees are responsible for their own health insurance

This is a bargaining unit position represented by the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, District Lodge 751. All terms and conditions of employment are subject to change in accordance with a collective bargaining agreement.

Subsidized housing available. Private rooms in shared houses are often available. In some cases,
roommates in shared rooms may be required.

June 4 – August 27, 2024

Tagged as: Backcountry Skills, Conservation, Full Time, Teaching/Education


● One or more seasons serving as an instructor on backcountry canoe-camping and/or backpacking trips for youth
● Demonstrated commitment to increasing equitable access to outdoor engagement
● Experience mentoring, teaching or leading teens
● Ability to evaluate group and individual needs and make appropriate risk management decisions in a backcountry setting
● Must be available for full seasonal employment period including weekends and extended overnights
● Wilderness First Responder

Required Skills:

● Ability to lift and carry 50 pound pack, perform physically demanding work for multiple days in a row, backpack, and hike over uneven terrain

Preferred Skills:

● Experience working with students from a diversity of backgrounds and identities, including Black, Indigenous and People of Color, LGBTQ+ individuals, English Language Learners, students from low income backgrounds, students from both rural and urban communities, and recent immigrants
● Experience teaching lessons on stewardship, climate change, identity, natural and cultural history, and/or leadership.
● Ability to teach canoeing and water safety skills
● Spanish language proficiency.

About North Cascades Institute

North Cascades Institute's mission is to inspire environmental stewardship through transformative learning experiences in nature. Since 1986, we have helped connect people, nature and community through science, art, literature and the hands-on study of natural and cultural history. Our goal is to help people of all ages and backgrounds experience and enjoy the mountains, rivers, forests, people and wildlife of the Pacific Northwest – so all will care for and protect this special place.

North Cascades Institute is a respected leader among U.S. environmental education organizations, and we believe that sustainable communities are built on healthy environments, vibrant economies and social equity. The Institute is in sound financial health with a $4 million budget and strong reserves, and 15 four-star ratings with Charity Navigator for sound fiscal management and commitment to accountability and transparency.

Application Instructions

Review of applications will begin immediately. Positions will remain open until filled. Please apply online on our website at: https://ncascades.org/jobs. Complete the online application and upload a cover letter and resume.