Wilderness Therapy Field Mentor - Adult Program
Upcoming Training: January 26-31, 2022
Elements Traverse is dedicated to serving young adult clients (18 and up) who are struggling to live healthy independent lives. Traverse works with our clients to use the strengths they already possess to identify & shift whatever is underlying their struggles. Mentors are critical in helping clients recognize what they do well, and where they have room to grow. Oftentimes, that is simply being present and asking the right questions.
As an organization, we strive to keep our focus on the client experience. That is why you’ll find us more accessible than many, providing excellent service, priced with integrity. A client entering Traverse will spend their entire stay in the field. They will be able to participate in safe, well-designed adventure therapy activities twice a month that are an integral part of their therapeutic process. Their therapist will come visit them and their group in the field, becoming an active presence. They will be treated as the adults they are; challenged and empowered to be active and involved, not talked down to. They will be taught evidence-based treatment models and tools that they can take with them for the rest of their lives (e.g. DBT, mindfulness, yoga, and Seven Challenges).
Role of a Field Mentor
Field Mentors at Traverse are attuned to the needs of our clients. Mentors ensure an environment of physical and emotional safety through their outdoor living skills and compassion. Staff are role models for healthy relationships, appropriate boundaries, assertive communication, and meaningful confrontation. We look for those who are confident and passionate about these goals, and who bring with them a spirit of flexibility and creativity. In sum, Mentors are called upon to be a parent figure, an advisor, a teacher, a friend, a source of encouragement, and a keen listener. Our Mentors are NOT single-minded authoritarians, enforcers of a system of punishments-and-rewards, nor are they able to force a client to change.
Life as a Field Mentor
Mentors oversee and participate in small group living for 8 days at a time. They are primarily responsible for giving clients the tools they need to succeed at living in a challenging environment. Longer-term, staff are also encouraged to develop a deeper area of interest and specialty within the work (e.g. traditional primitive skills, substance abuse counseling, etc).
In a typical day or week, you can expect to:
- Hike over beautiful, rugged terrain.
- Take responsibility for client safety (e.g. ensure they are warm, dry, and hydrated).
- Cook on open flame.
- Play a game around the fire or in a field.
- Participate in a rappelling or rock-climbing session.
- Sleep on the ground under the stars.
- Lead a yoga or meditation session.
- Teach a lesson on family dynamics.
- Provide feedback for clients & peers alike.
- Be challenged to grow as person and as a professional
In the summer months, Elements Traverse operates in the Manti-La Sal National Forest, northwest of our office in Huntington, UT. During the winter, we transition to the San Rafael Swell area of central Utah. This change in field area provides a variety of settings for staff and clients alike. You’ll get to experience mountains, canyons, ancient areas occupied by Native Americans, and rock expanses visited by outlaws of the wild west. Periodically, Traverse will also explore new areas for our adventure programming, e.g. paddling on the Green River, snow-shoeing, or cross-country skiing in the winter.
We provide specialized adventure programming staff who are tasked with overseeing the technical aspects of all the adventure activities. Mentors act as support to those staff, and play a primary role in the debriefing and meaning-making that stem from the adventures.
What Does an Off Week Look Like
When not in the field, Mentors have 6-days at a time free to rest, explore, play, socialize, and stay connected with friends & family. The schedule allows for ample time off to explore National Parks, climbing sites, and the mountain slopes of Utah and Colorado. Most Mentors find their home in Moab or Salt Lake City. However, staff may live (or roam) wherever they choose, so long as they are ready for work the morning they head into the field. To help ease the transition to and from the field, Traverse provides a room and access to a kitchen at our office for staff the night before or after a shift.
For more details on the position as well as Elements Traverse, please visit our website.
- 21 years of age
- Current (at the time of training) medical certifications. Minimum of CPR (within the last year) & First Aid (WFR strongly preferred)
- High school diploma (bachelor’s degree preferred)
- Annual physical (ability to lift & carry a pack of 50+ lbs; hike over uneven, rugged terrain, etc)
- Pre-employment drug screening
- Beyond these requirements, we’re seeking Mentors who are genuinely excited about working as part of a small team—in and out of the field. Wilderness therapy requires a flexibility of spirit, determination, and commitment (from clients AND from staff). Our interview & training process will ask you to demonstrate these skills.
- We are committed to the well-being of our clients and staff alike. Therefore, we support generous medical and dental insurance plans after only 30 days of employment. 75% of the plan is paid for by Traverse, providing excellent and affordable healthcare benefits for employees.
- We also know many staff are constantly on-the-go. We provide a shared room and access to a kitchen the night before and after your shift.
- Field Mentors can expect to make $35,000 to $38,000 a year (starting at $165/day), depending on their motivation and development. Mentors achieving Lead status and beyond will earn $44,000+ a year ($215/day).
- Field Mentors accrue two paid shifts off per year.
- Field staff have access to discounts through pro-deal agreements.
- Required trainings (e.g. yearly CPR, WFR) will be reimbursed by Traverse.
Our next training opportunity will take place September 22-27, 2021.
1. Please submit the following:
- Resume (including educational background, previous work experience, two professional references, and noting any certifications you hold)
- Cover Letter (speak to what you’d bring to Traverse and why you're interested in working with adult clients)
After reviewing your application materials, we will contact you about the possibility of setting up an in-person, phone, or video interview.
3. Initial Training:
Our staff trainings are invitation-only. After completing interviews, we will invite select applicants. Unlike some programs, we only invite those we believe to have a strong chance at fitting in at Traverse. That said, the training is itself also an assessment for us and you. We may decide to not offer a position at the end of training, or you may decide the work is not for you.
Upon offer of employment (you’ll know at the end of the training period), we will schedule you for your first shift. You will be paid from Day 1, and be expected to contribute what you already know as well. After that, on-going training, feedback, and development opportunities will be provided.