Associate Program Director

Company: Outward Bound California

Job Type: Full Time

Job Description


We are committed to reflecting the diverse communities with whom we work and strongly encourage people of color, LGBTQ+ identifying folks, and women to apply. Application closes when position is filled. Please apply on our website with a cover letter and resume.

Position Description

As the Associate Program Director in the High Sierra, you play a pivotal role in the day-to-day management of our wilderness programs. Working closely with the management team, you provide leadership, administrative support, and oversee the High Sierra basecamp, along with a team of 45+ expedition and logistical staff. Your responsibilities include course supervision, quality training, community building, and aspects of business management. Reporting to the High Sierra Program Director, you contribute to the success of OBCA’s mission by ensuring the effective delivery of our wilderness programs and fostering a safe and inclusive environment for staff and students alike.

Compensation & Schedule

Salary is commensurate with experience, with a starting range from $3900 – $4300/month FTE
This is a full time, exempt position working 100% time during the program season and less in the off-season. During the program season (April 1 – Sept 30th), this position works full-time. During our off season (Oct 1 – March 31), this position works approx. 2.5-3.75 days/week, remote with Wi-Fi.
Preferred start date is March 16th, and no later than April 1


  • OBCA offers a competitive benefits package, including comprehensive health insurance with employer contribution, PTO, long-term disability and life insurance, Flexible Spending Account, Employee Assistance Plan (EAP), and 401(k) plan with 3% match after 1 year from start date
  • Pro Deal, the opportunity to purchase outdoor gear at discounted rates
  • Rustic housing is provided during the program season with the possibility to caretake over the winter
  • Food is provided during the program season


Work is in-person in Midpines, CA during the program season and is remote the rest of the year (WA, UT, CA, OR for remote work). Our High Sierra program is based in Midpines, California, in the Sierra Nevada foothills, 30 miles east of Yosemite National Park. High summer temperatures can reach 80-100+ degrees Fahrenheit. The basecamp has a main building with an office, warehouse, commercial kitchen, program gear sheds, and weather port living quarters (durable fabric structures).

Who We Are

Outward Bound California (OBCA) is a non-profit that uses challenging experiences in outdoor settings to create social-emotional learning opportunities for our students (ages 12 and up, including adults & veterans).

Check out what our staff and students have to say about our High Sierra programs in this video.

Equity and Inclusion Statement

We believe that all people should have safe access to the outdoors and culturally relevant and responsive educational programming. OBCA is also striving to create an equitable and inclusive internal culture where all staff members feel represented and honored for their identities and lived experiences. We examine how power, bias, race and other aspects of identity impact our organization. We work to build a culture where we are always learning and improving toward a vision for equity and belonging for all staff. We are looking for team members who can actively join us in this process. We are also committed to reflecting the diverse communities with whom we work and strongly encourage people of color, LGBTQ+ identifying folks, and women to apply.

Who You Are

Outward Bound California does not expect every applicant to have every skill and qualification listed here. If you have 75% of the following qualifications, we encourage you to submit an application.

Skills and Experience

  • Have a deep understanding and personal commitment to equity and inclusion in the outdoors
  • Previous Outward Bound or other wilderness expeditionary experience (backpacking & rock climbing) and management experience required
  • Lived experience or experience working with our target audience of learners, including individuals from diverse backgrounds. Our students and staff are of many different ages, racial groups, ethnic groups, socioeconomic classes, and include members of the LGBTQ+ community, to name a few
  • Knowledge of Outward Bound programs, activities and skill requirements
  • Excellent communication, leadership, and organizational skills
  • Proficient with PC in Word® and Excel®, and Google Apps®
  • Bachelor’s degree and/or 4-6 years’ experience in outdoor education/experiential learning

Physical & Mental  Requirements

  • Ability to participate in vigorous to moderate physical activity including but not limited to running and backpacking.
  • Ability to lift and move a minimum of 40 lbs., and able to carry pack weight of up to 60 lbs.
  • Standing or sitting at a desk or computer 90% of time or greater.
  • Able to maintain composure, exercise sound judgment and decision-making, and assess and mitigate risk under extended periods of stress.

Certification & License Requirements

  • Current WFR/CPR/CA Epi Auto-Injector certification
  • Have had a valid US or Canadian driver’s license for at least five years

Onboarding Requirements

Able to pass a federal & Live Scan background check, MVR check, and provide current (within the last 4 years) negative TB screen or test results upon hire (cost of all screening paid for or reimbursed by OBCA).


  • Program Leadership, Safety & Risk Management, Site Support, and Business Management
  • Collaborate with the High Sierra management team on program needs, goals, and strategies.
  • Support in critical incident responses & on-call system, which may require after work hours and happen during scheduled time off. There are times where the Associate Program Director will be the local Incident Commander.
  • Supervise, mentor, and develop staff
  • Ensure course quality aligns with OBCA mission
  • Oversee program budget line items and financial transactions, and course paperwork
  • Uphold safety protocols and emergency response procedures including on-call responsibilities
  • Participate in basecamp activities, community events, and chore
  • The right candidate will also support outreach and our group programs as part of their off-season responsibilities.
  • Uphold Outward Bound’s zero-tolerance policy for incidents of child abuse and neglect. Protecting our minor students against abuse and neglect is of the highest priority
  • Participate in other duties as assigned – for the full job description click here

Outward Bound California is an equal opportunity employer. Employment decisions are made without regard to race, color, religion, national or ethnic origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, disability, protected veteran status, or other characteristics protected by law. Outward Bound California also promotes respect for all people, and will not tolerate harassment based on any of these characteristics.

How to Apply

Apply on our website: https://www.outwardboundcalifornia.org/connect/careers/administrative-positions/high-sierra-associate-program-director/
Posted on: February 20, 2024
Location: Midpines, CA
Job Type: Full Time
Job Starting Date:
April 1, 2024
Application Closing Date:
May 25, 2024
Job Salary Range:
$3900 - $4300/month FTE
Years of Experience: 3 – 5 years
Job Activity(ies): Backpacking, Top Rope Rock Climbing
Region(s): California