Wilderness Instructor

Company: YMCA BOLD & GOLD - Seattle

Job Type: Seasonal

Job Description

OUR MISSION: Building a community where all people, especially the young, are encouraged to develop their fullest potential in spirit, mind, and body.


EQUITY STATEMENT: The Y actively promotes a culture free from bias and injustice. We are dedicated to removing institutional and systemic barriers that result in oppression and racism. We will be accountable to marginalized communities for creating equitable and sustainable environments where social justice is woven into every facet of our programs, and by caring for our communities in a culturally versatile and respectful manner.



Do you want to make a difference in the world and have fun while doing it? As a Wilderness Instructor, you and your co-lead will be responsible for the physical and emotional safety of up to 10 participants while engaging them in activities such as backpacking, rock climbing, and mountaineering in the beautiful Pacific Northwest. Instructors work from a set itinerary, manage the risks of backcountry travel, and facilitate a variety of workshops and activities that help participants develop their own leadership style.


BOLD & GOLD is dedicated to inspiring courage and confidence in diverse groups of youth through outdoor adventures. As a program of the Camping & Outdoor Leadership branch of the YMCA of Greater Seattle, BOLD & GOLD offers year-round partnership programs and summer expedition experiences. Partnership programs engage with schools, non-profits, and community-based organizations to design and implement transformative outdoor experiences. The summer expedition program runs single-gender and all-gender expeditions that engage youth through frontcountry and backcountry trips ranging in length from 5 to 15 days. BOLD & GOLD experiences take place in Mt Rainier National Park, North Cascades National Park, Olympic National Park, National Forests, Washington State Parks, and local green spaces. Activities include backpacking, rock climbing, kayaking, snowshoeing, fishing, art, and teambuilding. The goal of BOLD & GOLD is to increase confidence, courage, emotional intelligence, wonder, and community awareness in our participants. BOLD & GOLD believes these traits are the foundations of leadership and works to inspire participants to develop their own leadership style. BOLD & GOLD prepares young people to be the next generation of leaders through multicultural experiential education in the natural world.


Find out more at www.ymcaleadership.org.



1.    Lead 5–15 day wilderness-based backpacking, paddling, rock climbing or mountaineering courses with an emphasis on multicultural leadership.

2.    Build strong rapport with participants and staff, foster positive group development, create structure, and draw learning from experiential activities.

3.    Model cultural humility and celebrate diversity, effectively working with people of different identities, backgrounds, experiences, and abilities.

4.     Ensure both a physically and emotionally safe and inclusive environment for youth and staff.

5.    Transport participants in 14-passenger mini-buses to and from program areas.

6.    Manage the unique risks of wilderness-based programs.

7.    Other duties as assigned.

Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.


BOLD & GOLD is based out of the Cascade People’s Center (CPC), located in Seattle, WA. BOLD & GOLD courses begin and end at the CPC. BOLD & GOLD Programming takes place in remote wilderness locations (National Park, National Forest, State Park land) across Washington State.



The physical demands described here are representative of those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of this job.


Employees must be able to lift and carry items weighing up to 50lbs, safely travel over varied terrain (trails, tree roots, boulder/rock fields, shoreline, mud, snow, ice) up to 15 miles per day, be comfortable spending multiple days and/or weeks in a wilderness setting, communicate both verbally and non-verbally with other staff, volunteers, and participants. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.

This is a seasonal exempt position and staff are paid a daily rate. There is an optional Backcountry Skills Training June 4th-6th that new staff are encouraged to attend. All Staff Training occurs June 9th- 18th and instructors can expect to have three to five field-weeks of work (usually about 35 – 55 working days) between late June and late August.



BOLD & GOLD employees must be able to commute to the Cascade People’s Center, 309 Pontius Ave N, Seattle, WA 98109. Parking is not available onsite, but there is paid public parking located around the building. The area is serviced by several public bus routes. All travel required for work will be done in YMCA vehicles. This is an Authorized Driver position, read more in the Position Requirements.



1.    Two or more years of experience working with teens in an organized setting, including facilitating activities that address issues facing adolescents.

2.    Excellent judgment and decision-making skills.

3.    Strong group facilitation, communication, and conflict resolution skills.

4.     Knowledge of developmental needs of teens; demonstrates an understanding of the needs of teens and the ability to evaluate their needs individually.

5.    Experience making the transference of a wilderness experience relevant to the everyday lives of underserved youth.

6.    Personal or professional experience in backpacking, rock climbing, paddling, and/or mountaineering.

a.     Be able to hike and/or backpack over a variety of terrain and teach techniques for approaching that type of terrain.

b.     Have experience and knowledge of basic backcountry equipment or techniques such as stove use, bear hangs, water purification, and/or shelter craft.

c.     Have experience and knowledge of reading maps and using them for navigation.

d.     Effectively manage physical risks for yourself and participants including terrain, weather, and wildlife interactions.

7.    Other applicable education, training, and experience, which provide the knowledge, abilities, and skills necessary to perform effectively in the position will be considered.

8.    Current WFA and CPR Certification*

9.    Current Washington State Food Handlers Permit*

10. This position requires driving:

·       21 years of age or older

·       Current Driver’s License with a minimum 3 years safe driving experience and a driving record which meets or exceeds YMCA standards

·       Maximum one minor violation

·       No speeding violation of more than 20mph over the limit

·       YMCA Pre-employment Drug Screening

·       BOLD & GOLD uses 14-passenger mini-buses to transport passengers and equipment to trailheads and campsites. This includes driving on interstates, city streets, and rural roads.


* Required by start date



·       Current WFR or W-EMT Certification

·       Prefer knowledge of and previous experience with diverse populations (language, culture, race, physical ability, sexual orientation, etc.). Ability to speak any language in addition to English may be helpful.

·       Experience with anti-racism practices.



·       Individual membership to the YMCA of Greater Seattle.

·       Free access to mental health resources.

·       Rapidly accruing paid time off (PTO) available immediately upon hire.

·       Subsidized ORCA Transit Pass.

·       Access to discounted gear and equipment through pro deals.

·       Staff may be eligible for a stay bonus for completing their agreement.


Other combinations of applicable education, training, and experience which provide the knowledge, abilities, and skills necessary to perform effectively in the position may be considered.


This job description may be changed at any time, at YMCA of Greater Seattle’s discretion.

How to Apply

To apply, please use the Y of Greater Seattle's hiring portal.
Contact Person: Carly Andrews
Contact Phone: 206-922-3402
Posted on: February 13, 2024
Location: Seattle, WA
Job Type: Seasonal
Job Starting Date:
June 9, 2024
Application Closing Date:
June 22, 2024
Job Salary Range:
135.00 to 165.00
Years of Experience: 1 – 2 years
Preferred/Required Degree Level: High School/GED
Population(s) Served: Youth - Teen
Job Category(ies): Seasonal Program