If you are interested in combining kids and the outdoors for summer or year-round employment, check out the sites below.
From the Occupational Outlook Handbook published by the Bureau of Labor:
- 2016 Median Salary: $23,870
Do your research to get a better sense of what specific companies in particular cities are paying entry-level employees. Check out Glassdoor and Salary.com to get an idea. Also, a cost of living calculator can be very useful when trying to compare salaries in different parts of the country.
Wilderness Ventures: Founded in 1973, Wilderness Ventures runs more than 30 outdoor experiences for teens every summer that run from several days to several weeks. In a wide variety of locations around the world, Wilderness Ventures emphasizes intensive outdoor education, leadership, and environmental stewardship. The program provides young people with a chance to learn about themselves and gain valuable skills in a challenging but supportive environment. Employment opportunities are available for those interested in leading expeditions; check out their website for more information.
EXPLO Exploration Summer Programs: A summer enrichment program for young people from ages 9 to 17, EXPLO is dedicated to unlocking the potential in its students by offering them opportunities to grow and explore their curiosities and passions. EXPLO programs take place on several US college campuses and positions are available for those interested in engaging with program participants as leaders, advisors, and educators.
High Mountain Institute: The High Mountain Institute is dedicated to nurturing personal and community growth through interaction with the natural world and to the idea of “simple in means, rich in ends.” Learning by experience, academic excellence, and education that inspires intellectual growth are fundamental principles of all our programs. The High Mountain Institute promotes these tenets to local and national students through its own curricula and by supporting other events and organizations that further these goals.
National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS): A nonprofit educational institution which takes people of all ages on remote wilderness expeditions, teaching technical outdoor skills, leadership, and environmental ethics in some of the world’s wildest and most awe-inspiring classrooms. With courses ranging from 10 days to a full academic year, NOLS attracts highly motivated students who want to learn how to lead. The hands-on, learn-by-doing approach means that graduates get the skills they need to be competent, responsible wilderness travelers.
Rippleffect: Stay in Maine this summer working at Cow Island in Casco Bay (Portland, ME). Rippleffect hosts youth development programs as well as leadership adventure programs for people of all ages. This is a fantastic local organization. Visit them at the Maine Employers Career Fair and check for job postings in Handshake.
Teens to Trails: Another opportunity to stay in Maine connecting local teenagers with the great outdoors.
Outward Bound: The mission is “to inspire character development and self-discovery in people of all ages and walks of life through challenge and adventure, and to impel them to achieve more than they ever thought possible, to show compassion for others and to actively engage in creating a better world.”
Overland Summers: Overland offers 28 carefully crafted outdoors, community service and language study programs to boys and girls ages 12 to 18. Each program has clearly defined goals: hike to the summit of a mountain peak, reach out to a community in need, master another language. Add exceptional leaders and small, supportive groups, and an experience of unsurpassed quality results for our students. Whether the setting is a mountaintop in the Rockies, an impoverished neighborhood in the Southwest or a classroom in the châteaux country of France, Overland’s students thrive in an environment of friendship and fun, as they learn from our inspiring leaders and discover their own strengths through their accomplishments.
The Student Conservation Association: The Student Conservation Association (SCA) offers a variety of opportunities at National Parks and Historic Sites. Work an internship or as a member of a crew. Serve as a trip leader to high school students or as a Park Interpreter for school groups. The SCA also offers a variety of back country trail crew positions and ecological research opportunities as well as other “indoor” experiences. The best part? You can work for a summer (3 months) or post-graduation for longer-term positions (6 to 12 months).
Apogee Adventures: Apogee offers outdoor youth adventure travel. Apogee’s primary goal is for students to have fun, form lasting friendships, and to return home with a feeling of accomplishment and self-confidence that will carry over into all aspects of life. Based out of Brunswick, Maine and run by a Bowdoin alumnus, Apogee hires summer Trip Leaders to lead overnight Outdoor Adventure/Community Service trips in New England, Québec, Montana, the Pacific Northwest, and the Caribbean.
Chewonki: A camp for boys and girls with a wilderness classroom and sustainability office located in nearby Wiscasset, Maine.
Walking Mountains: Pete Wadden ’09 currently works there and suggests that you take a look at the seasonal naturalist or graduate educator fellowships offered by this Colorado-based organization.
American Mountain Guides Association (AMGA): The premier source for training, credentials, and services for professional mountain guides and climbing instructors in the United States.
Ancient Pathways: Based in Flagstaff, Arizona, Ancient Pathways is a wilderness skills company specializing in desert survival and primitive technology. The focus of all Ancient Pathways courses is to provide hands-on training in practical survival skills and outdoor safety techniques.
Aspen Education Group: Headquartered in Cerritos, California, Aspen operates in 13 states and the United Kingdom and is recognized nationwide as a leading provider of education programs for struggling or underachieving young people. Aspen’s programs exist at the intersection of therapy and education for students who have demonstrated behavioral issues that are interfering with their performance in school and life. Aspen programs range from short-term intervention programs to residential treatment, and include a variety of therapeutic interventions including: boarding schools, wilderness therapy, residential treatment, special needs summer camps, and weight loss programs.
Association of Experiential Education (AEE): The Association of Experiential Education exists to connect a global community of educators and practitioners and expand their capacity to enrich lives through experiential education. The organization fulfills that mission by increasing member skills and knowledge, connecting members, defining professional standards and best practices, measuring the impact and value of experiential education, and fostering career opportunities for members.
Bay Area (San Francisco) Wilderness Training: BAWT is a project of the Earth Island Institute. It’s mission is to create opportunities for urban youth to experience wilderness first hand. BAWT’s primary strategy for achieving its mission is to provide Bay Area youth agency staff with wilderness leadership training and outdoor equipment so that they, along with the youth they serve, may explore the power and beauty of California’s wilderness.
Breckenridge Outdoor Education Center: BOEC was established in Breckenridge, Colorado, in 1976 as an educational organization to provide outdoor experiences for people with disabilities and to train the instructors who work with special populations. Ultimately, BOEC strives to integrate disability with ability, providing outdoor experiences to all. BOEC welcomes people of all abilities from around the world to spectacular natural classrooms in the Rocky Mountains and beyond.
Jack Mountain Bushcraft and Guide Service: This year-round bushcraft and wilderness survival school and traditional Maine guide service, located on the banks of the Aroostook River in Masardis, Maine, runs field-based, college-level semester and year-long immersion programs in bushcraft and wilderness guide training, courses on traditional north woods crafts, and classes on sustainable living and wilderness survival. It also guides canoe, snowshoe, and fishing trips in northern Maine.
Nantahala Outdoor Center: Located in western North Carolina near the Great Smoky Mountains, NOC strives to share its special environment with the public through whitewater rafting, hiking, pedaling, and paddling trips.
North American Association for Environmental Education: Search for additional environmental education opportunities via the NAAEE website!
Stonehearth Open Learning Opportunities (SOLO): A leader in wilderness medicine training in the United States, SOLO is the only school in the country with a campus dedicated solely to teaching wilderness medicine (on 300 acres in the heart of the White Mountains).
The Tracker School was founded in 1978 by Tom Brown, Jr., America’s renowned Tracker and Wilderness Survival expert. Based on the teachings of Stalking Wolf, the Apache elder from whom Tom began learning when he was seven years old, the school has expanded to include over 75 classes, divided into eight course tracks. Each course covers the three major categories of survival: tracking, nature observation, and awareness — and aims to help achieve closer attachment to the Earth, and the skills and philosophy that will help the student live in harmony and balance with Creation.
Environmental Education Nonprofits
The mission of the Orion Society is to inform, inspire, and engage individuals and grassroots organizations in becoming a significant cultural force for healing nature and community. The Orion Grassroots Network lists jobs and connects groups working for positive social and environmental change across North America and beyond. The Orion Society’s magazine, Orion, is beautiful, inspiring, and thoughtful.