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Wilderness Director

Company: Waya Outdoor Institute

Job Type: Seasonal

Job Description

Position: Camp Wa-Ya Wilderness Director

Overview: Camp Wa-Ya is hiring for an energetic, innovative Wilderness Director to develop and lead our overnight kayaking and backpacking Adventure Camp trips for teens. This program has an educational focus on inspiring and practicing environmental leadership,, outdoor skills, and mindfulness pursuits. We also offer scholarships and tend to serve many at-risk youth in this program. This was a new program for our organization last year and holds great opportunity for growth and creative development for someone who wants to put their expertise to great use!

This is a rare, exciting opportunity to assist in leading the direction and implementation of a unique, place-based immersion outdoor summer camp that combines a love of local South Sound landscapes and native culture with the integration of western and indigenous science and learning.  We are growing and are looking for someone to assist our Program Director in taking the values, intentions and foundations built by the Board and bring them to the next level of sustainable systems and smooth functioning.  We are looking for someone with a passion for youth, environmental education, South Sound ecology and Native communities.  Creative problem-solving, ability to work well with diverse populations and superb communications skills required. 

This position is a full-time seasonal position from May-September. Currently Wa-Ya runs a 10-week summer camp program with both Day Camp offerings for ages 6-13  and Overnight Backpacking & Kayak trips for ages 13-17. This position will focus on developing, planning, and leading the Adventure Camp program, working closely with both the Program Director and Lead Adventure Camp Instructor. It is important to note that this position will also act as an Assistant Director to our Day Camp, assisting our Program Director and providing additional program support, especially during the week when overnight trips are out. 

This position is responsible for assisting with the formulation, implementation, and management of Camp Wa-Ya’s summer camp programs and will set the tone for camp staff culture and engage in a culturally integrated environment, where Wa-Ya’s values of respect, diversity, equity, and inclusion are practiced. The position routinely engages with and works at the direction of the Program Director and engaged Board members.  

This position is a full-time seasonal position from May-September. Compensation for this position is $19.00/hour and is expected to work 40 hours a week. We will also cover WFR/WFA and/or other certifications for the right candidate.


Main Priorities – Adventure Camp Specific:

  • Maintain and ensure quality of Camp Wa-Ya seasonal and year round inventories; Pre- and post-season organization to ensure all group gear and equipment is ready for the backpacking and kayaking trips. Conduct any necessary purchases or gear maintenance throughout the Summer. 

  • Develop additional curriculum and activities focused on outdoor survival and naturalist skills, environmental leadership, and mindfulness pursuits.

  • Design and lead additional training for Adventure Camp Instructors on best practices and procedures for working with teens in the backcountry. This will include running a scouting backpacking trip for hands-on training. 

  • Develop written protocols for Adventure Camp program and staff.

  • Adventure Camp Instructors will also participate in a sea-kayak training trip in the San Juan Islands run by one of our partners. The Wilderness Director will likely have the opportunity to join this trip. 

  • Plan and support backpacking and kayaking trips (one trip per week), including route plans, risk management, logistical support (such as purchasing backcountry permits and passes), parent communications (pre-session newsletter, check dietary and gear needs), etc. 

  • Purchase food for trips weekly and prep group gear (load/unload, organize, routine maintenance) at the beginning and end of each week.  

  • Manage and support the Lead and Assistant Adventure Camp instructors, lead weekly staff meetings and check-ins.

  • Ensure all safety expectations and procedures are known and met by Adventure Camp staff.  

  • Experience and knowledge of working with at-risk youth and trauma informed care preferred.

Additional Day Camp Program Support:

 This position will also assist the Program Director in the following areas: 

  • Pre-season program planning (scheduling field trips, speakers, lesson plans, etc.)  and onboarding of Summer staff; this position may work specifically with evaluating and onboarding intern applicants. 

  • Assist in designing and leading pre-season Staff Training for all lead and assistant instructors and Wa-Ya’s Native Fellow, as well as a possible Intern Training.

  • Assist in development and maintenance of curriculum and associated curriculum resources to ensure Wa-Ya’s learning objectives are met.

  • Assist in providing daily direction, mentorship, routine communications, and supervision to camp staff throughout the Summer, including Lead Instructors, Assistant Instructors, and ancillary staff, interns, and fellows.

  • Assist in providing daily program support and logistics, including but not limited to: maintaining camp rosters, organizing and delivering supplies, arranging and confirming field trip locations and speakers, transporting kayaks, loading and unloading kayaks onto a trailer, overseeing and/or facilitating activities, maintaining camp inventory & supplies, assisting with the purchasing of equipment/supplies, and ensuring that speaker gifts are presented. 

  • Assist in leading weekly staff meetings and check-ins through the Summer. 

  • Serve as a substitute instructor when needed and deliver pre-planned curriculum and activities to students.

  • Drive the WaYa vans (12- and 15-passenger) when necessary.

  • Ensure that all staff follow camp policies and procedures and ensure the safety and wellbeing of all participants at camp.

  • Adhere to established Wa-Ya COVID protocols, including proposal changes as state requirements evolve.

  • Assist in managing administrative tasks such as: online camp registration, general records, Wa-Ya website updates, parent and partner organization communications (email & phone calls), etc.


  • A passion for inspiring and educating youth and connecting them to their authentic selves, their environment, science and Native perspectives.

  • Experience working with youth and leading group trips in the backcountry.

  • Experience managing youth/outdoor programs and supervising staff or peers preferred.

  • Creativity and motivation to develop and maintain a program of excellence that is always looking to improve.

  • Available 40 hours a week May – September

  • Familiarity and experience in at least two elements of the following: environmental education, outdoor adventures activities, ecological science/ research, working with youth, and native cultures.  

  • Knowledge, skills, and abilities to provide excellent logistical support and utilize critical thinking skills, problem-solving skills, prioritizing, and multitasking. 

  • Familiarity with local flora and fauna, STEAM activities, and adventure related activities including, but not limited to sea kayaking, rock climbing, hiking, and outdoor survival.

  • Excellent communication skills including written and oral, presentation, conflict-management, and board communication. 

  • Familiarity with Google Drive, Microsoft Excel, Word, and other Office programs required.

  • Familiarity with Microsoft Access, SquareSpace web design, and other camp management software preferred.

  • Valid driver’s license, clean driving record, and ability to pass a background check required.

  • First Aid/CPR certified, Wilderness First Aid or Wilderness First Responder preferred.

Please submit resume, cover letter, and 3 references to [email protected]

How to Apply

Please submit resume, cover letter, and 3 references to [email protected] Priority Application Deadline: 03/01/2023
Posted on: January 16, 2023
Job Type: Seasonal
Job Starting Date:
May 1, 2023
Application Closing Date:
March 1, 2023
Job Salary Range:
19.00 to 20.00
Years of Experience: 1 – 2 years
Job Activity(ies): Backpacking
Population(s) Served: Youth - At Risk
Region(s): US
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