Backcountry Program Volunteer Description
BCM’s nature-based programs are scaffolded experiences that focus on giving students multiple opportunities to gain comfort and confidence with outdoor activities such as sleeping in tents and cooking outside. Student groups will go on on 1-2 Day Trips as well as an Overnight Car Camping Trip before going on an Expedition. These trips scale up both in length of time spent outside and distance from the BCM hub city so that students. This scaffolded approach also builds in opportunities to build community and trust between students and the adult team, prior to spending a week in the backcountry together. It is not a requirement for volunteers to be able attend all program events but volunteers who are able to attend the full program experience will be prioritized.
As a BCM Program Volunteer, you will support BCM Students in navigating and developing meaningful relationships with the natural world around them and with the group. Volunteers will encourage BCM students to lean into challenges and find moments of joy and self-reflection. Volunteers will model these behaviors and work with the rest of the adult team to provide support to the students throughout the trip series.
BCM programs take a lot of work and require that all the adults pitch in throughout the trip to help make it successful. These trips should not be viewed as a “vacation.” BCM programming may take place in remote settings. Communication and consultation with BCM administrative and program staff is not always possible. Successful trips require each team member to work together under the guidance of a professional Lead instructor. One of the reasons BCM is comfortable with a single instructor model is because each expedition has a team of adults to share responsibilities throughout the trip. Adult volunteers must be prepared to support the leadership of the instructor and positively resolve issues to be a high-functioning independent team.
Your attendance role models commitment, reliability, trust, and allows you to get to know and build stronger relationships with BCM students. Season events typically include:
- A full-day adult training and an online orientation (spring)
- 1-2 local pre-expedition single day activities (spring/early summer)
- 2-3 day Overnight Car Camping (late spring, early summer)
- 5-7 day Expedition (summer)
- Post-expedition single day transference celebration event (late summer)
While it is not required for a Volunteer to attend all of these events, Volunteer positions, particularly those on Expeditions will be prioritized for Volunteers who are able to make most if not all events.
While BCM encourages group decision-making, the Lead Instructor is ultimately responsible for all field decisions. As a volunteer, you will need to:
- Follow BCM policies, procedures, and guidelines and provides reminders and guidance for the students teens
- Mitigate and manage risk, health, and safety under the guidance of the Instructor
- Be clear about ground rules, group agreements, and various responsibilities
Communications and Logistics
Program details will be provided in emails, orientation, and training. Good and prompt communication with BCM and the team you are placed on is key to ensure that you and the Adult Team are thoroughly prepared for the BCM journey.
Program Content and Quality
- Assist instructor with various aspects of trip to ensure a well-functioning trip including facilitating parts of the BCM curriculum
- Help to create a fun and safe experience as part of a 3-5 person Adult Team
- Model active listening, cooperation, empathy, supportive communication and social-emotional skills
- Encourage and motivate students throughout the duration of the trip
- Embrace an attitude of curiosity and wonder as well as an ability to learn together as a group.
Volunteers are responsible for bringing personal clothing and personal-care items. A packing list will be provided. BCM has camping gear to loan, if needed.
REQUIREMENTS & QUALIFICATIONS
BCM staff works to build adult teams who have diverse skill sets that will complement one another. Each team-member will bring a wide background of experiences that will contribute to the group as a whole.
- Ability to pitch in and support the instructor as needed throughout the overnight or expedition
- Ability to prioritize supporting student experience be “on” throughout the expedition.
- Positive role modeling skills (speech, actions, attitude, self-awareness, emotional intelligence, etc.)
- Ability to pass a background check (no violent or sexual crimes)
- At least 21 years old
- Reside locally in one of the BCM regions
- Ability to attend full day Volunteer Training, Adult Team Meeting and duration of trip(s)
- Ability to move and facilitate activities on uneven grounds/trails for several hours at a time.
- Volunteers should be able and willing to spend the night outdoors, in a tent, sleeping on the ground
- Ability to donate or fundraise a $20 volunteer fee* to help offset the cost of food, transportation and other resources throughout the trip (BCM can help with the planning for fundraising – Contact your RPM for ideas)
- Physically fit for backpacking expedition with ability to carry backpack weighing up to 50 pounds all day, for up to an hour, and hike at elevations up to 7,000 ft.
- Ability to donate or fundraise $150 volunteer fee* to help offset the cost of food, transportation and other resources throughout the trip (BCM can help with the planning! has fundraising options available as well)
*These donations, as well as any costs associated with traveling to volunteer, may be tax-deductible.
- Overnight camping or backpacking experience, navigation, camp cooking, Leave No Trace, etc.
- Experience in youth development:
- Experiential education and facilitation
- Mentoring or teaching teen-aged youth
- Delivery of youth development programs
- Spanish speaking or multi-lingual
- Lived experience similar to BCM students
- Priority given to volunteers who can make the full BCM program commitment (see below)
Front Country Volunteers
While BCM youth programming generally occurs in the warmer months, the BCM team works throughout the year to plan programs, apply to grants and fundraise, partner with brands, produce social media and marketing content, attend events, and do other activities that support our mission. We can always use help to accomplish our non-programmatic work. Whether you’re able to help lend a hand for a day when it’s time to repackage and ship bulk food to the regions or you want to take on a lengthier pro-bono project with BCM, we have a role for you!
Day-long opportunities may include:
- Representing BCM at tabling events
- Helping organize or move gear
- Admin or Office-based projects
- Food and Gear Pack Out
Pro-Bono skills we are seeking for support on longer projects:
- Outdoor Recreation Certifications
- Medical / First Aid
- Grant Writing / Fundraising
- Legal Expertise
- Community Organizing
- Social Media
If you have another skill you feel like we could use feel free to pitch a project to a staff member at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Over 18 (flexible on case-by-case basis)
- Enthusiastic about our mission with shared personal values
- Other requirements may apply depending on the project