Expedition Instructor – Canoe & Backpack

Company: Voyageur Outward Bound School

Job Type: Full Time, Seasonal

Job Description

Position Description

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 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 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 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.


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 operating procedures, safety policies and emergency procedures as outlined in the field staff manual

Assist in managing student emotional and physical safety in times of duress, such as field emergencies



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 canoeing, portaging, backpacking, campcraft, map and compass navigation, expedition logistics and decision-making

Demonstrated experience teaching the above skills to students

Demonstrated experience in leading others

Demonstrated ability to assess students’ ability and backcountry hazards and use that information to mitigate the risk of participating in expedition style travel in a natural environment

Personal initiative, motivation and resourceful

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

Application Instructions 

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

How to Apply

Please visit our website at https://www.vobs.org/connect/employment/ where you will be directed to access our application portal. If you have any questions or concerns, please email [email protected]
Contact Person: Dan Drehmel, Anabell Deutschlander
Contact Phone: 2184916799
Posted on: January 26, 2024
Location: St. Paul OR Ely, MN
Job Type: Full Time, Seasonal
Job Starting Date:
June 22, 2024
Application Closing Date:
June 22, 2024
Job Salary Range:
$93/day includes room and board
Years of Experience: 1 – 2 years, Not Specified
Preferred/Required Degree Level: Not Specified
Region(s): Midwest US