This is a seasonal position (arriving in May and continuing through August) working primarily in the field. Candidates are required to attend a pre-employment training before the season begins that includes wilderness travel training, technical skills training, OB curriculum and educational philosophy.

On-the- job training continues when the Sea Kayak Instructor (I) begins working in the field under the supervision of a Course Director and Lead Instructor (LI). Working as part of an instructional team, Instructors are expected to observe, learn, and practice the art of facilitating educationally effective sea kayaking programs and teaching students the skills necessary to thrive on a wilderness expedition. They are also expected to learn and follow VOBS safety policies and procedures meant to mitigate the risks inherent to remote sea kayak travel.

VOBS serves a wide range of student populations. The majority of our students are youth and young adults between the ages of 14 and 25. Some of our programs (Intercept) specifically work with youth and young adults who are struggling to make positive decisions in one or more areas in their lives and whose needs cannot be met through participation in a standard or “Classic” expedition format. The bulk of our programming occurs during the summer months, with students participating on canoe expeditions in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness and backpacking on the Superior hiking trail. VOBS also has a small sea kayak program with courses in both the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore and the Lake Superior Marine Conservation Area in Black Bay, Ontario. The Sea Kayak Instructor should be capable and willing to work in both the canoeing and sea kayaking program.


Program Delivery & Implementation

Collaborate with VOBS staff to design and implement a nature based, experiential expedition that serves students and is in line with Outward Bound mission and educational philosophy
Willingness to role model the values Outward Bound seeks to teach to students, including character, leadership and service
Participate in course planning and logistics including: development of educational and technical curricula, route planning, and food and equipment planning and pack-out

Community Development

Committed to actively participating in building a community where all students and staff feel a sense of belonging
Provide clear, effective and timely communication with co-instructor, Course Director and other staff
Able to give and receive timely, effective oral and written feedback
Assist in managing student behaviors, group dynamics, and facilitating group processes
Work with VOBS staff to facilitate workshops and restorative conferences with parents of students participating in Intercept courses

Student Supervision & Safety

Assist in identifying, assessing and managing environmental, physical, social and emotional risk during all course activities
Adhere to local ope

Tagged as: Backcountry Skills, Teaching/Education, Water Skills


21 years of age as of start date of employment
Valid Driver's License (held for 5 years) that passes Outward Bound USA screening criteria
Wilderness First Responder and CPR (available to staff on-site at a reduced price starting in late April)
Wilderness Water Safety or Active Lifeguard Certification (Water Safety class provided to staff at a reduced cost during staff training cycle)

Required Skills:

Demonstrated competency in expedition skills including paddle strokes, self and assisted rescues, navigation, knowledge of marine weather, rough water paddling skills, camp craft, expedition logistics and decision-making, and ability to teach these same skills
Demonstrated experience teaching the above skills to students
Demonstrated experience leading others
Demonstrated ability to assess students’ ability and backcountry hazards and use that information to mitigate the risk

Preferred Skills:

Critical Thinking
Complex Problem Solving
Judgement & Decision Making - demonstrate sound judgment in adverse situations
Social Perceptiveness
Active Listening -Ability to listen to what others are saying
Active Learning - Strong commitment to professional development and personal growth
Instructing/Teaching -ability to communicate in a way that is easily understood by others with varied learning styles
Service Ethic
Time Management and Organization

About Voyageur Outward Bound School

We challenge you to change a life.
We challenge you to change your community.
We challenge you to change the world!
The need for leaders of character and compassion is great.
For over 50 years, Voyageur Outward Bound School (VOBS) has changed lives through challenge and discovery. We know that personal discovery leads to positive transformation. Our students grow character and compassion through nature-based adventure. Our vision is more resilient and compassionate people for a more resilient and compassionate world.
Voyageur Outward Bound School is a charter of Outward Bound USA, the leading provider of experiential education for youth and adults. We design and deliver intensive single-day and extended wilderness expedition experiences that build and develop character, leadership and service through shared experience.
VOBS delivers high impact programs across three sites: Twin Cities Center in St Paul, MN, Homeplace Wilderness Basecamp in Ely, MN and Big Bend Basecamp in TX.

Application Instructions

Please apply on our application portal at https://www.vobs.org/connect/employment/

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