Job Summary:

Do you want to impact the lives of local youth this summer through an introduction to backpacking in the wilderness? Successful applicants will serve as lead instructors for The Nature Connection’s youth summer backpacking programs on the Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre and Gunnison National Forests for middle school to high school-aged youth.


Work with The Nature Connection Leadership Team in all aspects of planning and executing wilderness trips for middle and high school students that focus on safety, mental health and outdoor leadership skills
Manage pre and post-trip gear plus food checkout and inventory
Responsible for decision-making and risk management from trip departure to return (24 hours a day)
Navigate a planned backpacking route under The Nature Connection and Forest Service related operating guidelines
Instruct up to 11 youth in a backcountry setting for four days, three nights on topics including wilderness ethics, Leave No Trace travel, wildlife, natural history, health and wellness and backpacking skills
Mentor and supervise up to two Nature Connection high school backpacking interns ages 14-18
Ensure trips meet health and safety guidelines while providing a fun and exciting learning environment for youth and interns
Other duties as assigned

Compensation: DOE; Contract position 2-7 weeks

Location: The Nature Connection HQ; 397 Miners Way, Hotchkiss, CO 81419

Effective Date: Open until filled; Priority given to applications received by March 15

Specific Trip Dates:

*Backpacking leads will be assigned to different trips according to participant numbers, experience and background

June 13th-16th Healthy Forests High School Leadership Program
June 20th-23rd Boots to Roots (12-14 year olds)
June 27th-30th Grand Mesa Mountain Bike Camping (11-14 year olds)
July 11th-14th Girls in the Wilderness (12-14 year olds)
July 18th-21st Boots to Roots (12-14 year olds)
July 25th-28th Girls in the Wilderness (12-14 year olds)
August 1st-4th Wilderness Aware (7-11 year olds)

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

Required Skills:

Demonstrated experience in backcountry travel and outdoor leadership skills
Ability to carry 50+ lbs while hiking 5-10 miles a day in high altitude environments
Drivers License and clean driving record
First Aid/CPR certificate required
Ability to navigate, select suitable camping sites and adjust itinerary as needed
Experience navigating backcountry environments (map and compass, GPS technology); survival skills

Preferred Skills:

Wilderness First Aid or Responder certificate preferred
Experience working/teaching youth in an outdoor environment
Familiarity with the West Elks or other alpine Colorado Rocky Mountain ecosystems
Strong group facilitation, conflict mediation and communication skills
Leave No Trace Trainer preferred

About The Nature Connection

The Nature Connection is the hub of outdoor education and recreation for Delta County and Olathe, and is supported by the Delta County School District.

Our mission is to eliminate barriers to getting outside for youth and families in our community.

We are a not-for-profit organization and our current grant implementation project is funded by the Great Outdoors Colorado Generation Wild Initiative.

Application Instructions

Please Submit: Resume with cover letter to [email protected] Three professional references Top candidates will be selected for an interview by The Nature Connection Leadership Team