About Big City Mountaineers
Big City Mountaineers (BCM) is committed to providing transformative experiences through nature that strengthen life skills and build community for youth from disinvested communities. BCM creates opportunities for 12 to 18 year-old students to connect with nature, themselves, community, and joy by providing free, fully outfitted, and professionally-led backcountry trips.
BCMs programs occur on the ancestral territories of many of this nation’s first peoples. Our regional hubs are on the lands of the Ute, Araphaho, and Cheyenne (Denver), the Dakota and Anishinibawaki (Minneapolis), the Ohlone, Ramaytush, Chochenyo, and Muwekma (San Francisco Bay Area), the Duwamish and Muckleshoot (Seattle), the Cowlitz and Chinook (Portland), and the Massachusett, Wampanoag, and Pawtucket (Boston).
For over thirty years, the BCM idea and organization has shown staying power, and has a stable operating budget to match. Headquartered in Denver, CO, BCM is a national organization with a dedicated team of full-time staff, seasonal trip instructors, and volunteers. For more information, you can visit our website, bigcitymountaineers.org.
Lead Instructors are an integral part of the BCM program model. Most often a solo position, Lead Instructors are responsible for leading a variety of outdoor-based programs and activities with students from BCM’s partnering youth development organizations. Instructors are responsible for leading single day programs, 1 to 2-night campouts, and 5 to 7-day expeditions. The group size varies anywhere from 3 to 12 youth depending on the type of program as well as a team of up to 5 other adults composed of local volunteers, staff from partnering organizations, and potentially student leaders. Lead instructors manage implementation of the field component of BCM’s programs, while working to create a collaborative and inclusive environment that fosters students’ connection to nature, self, community, and joy.
Lead Instructors are responsible for delivering outcomes based curriculum, managing risk and safety, and overseeing direct program logistics with support from the regional program manager. BCM programming takes place in city and state parks as well as remote settings. While BCM expressly encourages group decision-making, instructors are ultimately responsible for all field decisions, including but not limited to:
- Itinerary and/or route changes
- Behavior management
- Curriculum delivery
- Adult team coordination
Leadership and Facilitation
BCM students are resilient, adaptable, courageous, and resourceful. They come to our backcountry trips eager to learn and (sometimes) pretty nervous about the experience. Our instructors guide with joy, compassion, empathy, and deep care in facilitating this often new experience. It’s important that our instructors have an interest and passion for understanding and addressing outdoor access barriers for communities that have been historically underrepresented in the outdoors. And furthermore, have a commitment to personal self-reflection, accepting and giving feedback, and leading with empathy.
Over a multi-day course, Instructors will be responsible for delivering BCM curriculum with a focus on; creating opportunities to connect with nature, themselves, community, and joy.
Instructors build rapport and mutual trust between all the participants while facilitating a meaningful experience. Our instructors meet students where they are and prioritize validating and addressing student concerns. They exemplify humility, vulnerability, and a commitment to one another. It’s important that Instructors recognize that learning is a two-way street – and that adults will be learning from and alongside the students. In addition to supporting student development, instructors provide thoughtful feedback to the adult team so that they can best support students. This happens daily during allocated time for the adult/student groups to gather and discuss how to make the best of the trip.
Instructors are critical in providing experiences that mitigate the situational and environmental risks inherent in a backcountry trip. They understand BCM policies and guidelines and guide the group in proactively following them. Our instructors are patient and compassionate as they support students and adult participants through mental and physical concerns. Instructors need to be able to communicate effectively and appropriately with all members of the group and know how to communicate differently between adults and students. Lead instructors serve as the final decision maker for risk management decisions in the field.
Outdoor Technical Skills
BCM delivers programming in diverse course areas across the nation. Instructors have prior experience with multi-day overnight, backcountry-based outings and have proven experience and confidence making decisions in sometimes challenging outdoor and remote settings. They have competencies in outdoor technical skills such as; navigation, route selection, cooking/camp stove use, LNT concepts, etc. These serve as a basic foundation that can be built upon through BCM specific learning opportunities.
Program Preparation and Clean-Up
Depending on program type an Instructors’ contracts will include tasks that take place before or after the actual program dates. These tasks can include:
- Pre-Trip: facilitate an adult team meeting with the adults participating on a program, review student registration forms, finalize the food and gear preparation.
- Post Trip: debrief trip with thoughtful feedback and growth points, write and review evaluations, review and finalize incident reporting and near misses, and assist in gear de-issue and cleaning.
Qualifications and Compensation
- Experience working with youth who come from racially, ethnically, and socioeconomically diverse communities.
- 35 days of documented multi-day backcountry trip leading experience relevant to the type of programming offered in your region of interest.
- Current WFR with CPR or WEMT certification (or an ability to obtain one by employment date)
- Ability to attend Regional Instructor Training (stipend included).
- Ability to pass a background check.
- Clean driving record.
- Spanish speaking or bi-lingual
- Priority will be given to instructors who 1) can commit to facilitating multiple programs during the summer including day programs, overnights, and weeklong expeditions, 2) live within 100 miles of BCM hub cities.
Instructors are hired and paid as 1099 independent contractors.
- Daily compensation: $115 – $142/ day dependent on experiences and qualifications
- Pay increase: BCM instructors will earn an additional $5 a day per returning year up to $25.
- Bay Area, California (Regional backpacking)
- Boston, Massachusetts (Regional backpacking)
- Denver, Colorado (Regional backpacking)
- Minneapolis, Minnesota (Boundary Waters Canoe Area)
- Portland, Oregon (Regional backpacking)
- Seattle, Washington (Regional backpacking)
HOW TO APPLY
Click here to apply now. Please include any personal or professional experience that you feel will be relevant for the Instructor Position.
Priority will be given to applications received by Friday, January 7. Additional applications will continue to be received on a rolling basis.
For general questions about this position please email: Fred.email@example.com
For questions specifically about working in California please email: David.Lee@bigcitymountaineers.org
For questions specifically about working in Colorado please email: Sal.Prado@bigcitymountaineers.org
For questions specifically about working in New England please email: Maggie.Lacwasan@bigcitymountaineers.org
For questions specifically about working in Minnesota please email: Megan.Parkinson@bigcitymountaineers.org
For questions specifically about working in the Pacific Northwest please email: Khadijah.Tividad@bigcitymountaineers.org