Youth Leadership Lead Instructor

The Youth Leadership Lead Instructor’s role is to support the Youth Leadership Coordinator and Youth Leadership Manager in implementing the Youth Leadership Adventures program. This position will help with overall student recruiting and enrollment, course planning, staff training, curriculum development and student mentorship. This includes implementation of Kulshan Creek Neighborhood community field trips for Mount Vernon youth, Youth Leadership Conference and winter reunion. During the summer, this position will lead two-three 8-day and one 16-day canoe camping, backpacking, stewardship, leadership development and field science courses for students ages 14-18.


Want to spend the summer outdoors in the North Cascades hiking, canoeing, camping and doing service projects? Want to work with amazing students from all over the world? Want to help inspire the next generation of conservation leaders? Learn more about this transformative program at! 




This position is full-time, exempt with an annual furlough (unpaid) from December 1-31. The position’s work location is the administrative office in Sedro-Woolley, WA from January through late-May and then again September through November. In the summer (generally the last week of May through August 31), this position’s work location will be at the North Cascades Environmental Learning Center in North Cascades National Park. 

  • Bachelor’s degree in education, conservation, environmental science, or related field with minimum of two years relevant experience and/or training
  • Excellent communication, interpersonal, organizational, and time management skills with strong attention to detail
  • Ability to prioritize effectively and handle multiple projects and deadlines simultaneously
  • Good judgment and ability to work independently and reliably
  • Energetic, flexible, motivated, and professional
  • Experience teaching youth, preferably high school-aged, in wilderness, canoe-based, service, and residential/field programs
  • Experience working with students from diverse backgrounds and cultures
  • Enthusiasm for learning and teaching about the natural world and knowledge of North Cascades natural and cultural history
  • Experience leading service projects in the backcountry, including trail and campground maintenance and field science projects
  • Knowledge of basic scientific principles and ability to teach them
  • Willing to work outdoors and full days and evenings, including multiple overnight camping trips during the summer, and occasionally evening/weekend work during the rest of the year
  • Ability to monitor and model safe work habits on extensive overnight backcountry trips. Must be familiar with backcountry and risk management practices
  • Strong ability to teach canoeing and water safety skills
  • Comfortable working in both office and remote environments that require traveling long distances
  • Current driver’s license, acceptable driving record, and experience (or willingness to be trained) with driving 14-passenger small buses
  • Ability to pass a criminal history disclosure and background check
  • Current Wilderness First Responder certification required - applicants will not be considered without this training
  • Ability to lift up to 75lbs occasionally, carry at least a 50 lb. backpack, and hike over uneven terrain

  • Recruitment and Enrollment (25%): Recruit and enroll high school students for summer courses, Youth Leadership Conference, and winter reunion including coordinating and developing relationships with teachers, giving presentations, conducting interviews, and processing applications and paperwork. Coordinate participant travel arrangements and registration paperwork. Collaborate with registration staff as needed.
  • Leadership and Teaching (25%): Serve as instructional lead in teaching and supervising high school students during four 8- and 16-day canoe camping and backpacking trips, winter reunion, and Youth Leadership Conference, including mentorship of interns/apprentices, graduate students, and staff and completion of pre- and post-trip duties. Support training, supervision, and management of Youth Leadership graduate students, interns/apprentices, and co-instructors.
  • Mentorship (15%): Mentor alumni including helping students develop and deliver community service projects post-course, assist with job placement, college applications, internships, and professional development opportunities, and help to further develop and strengthen Pathways for Youth to participate in next-step opportunities. Develop and coordinate post-course service projects with teachers and community partners. Maintain social media pages and communicate opportunities to alumni regularly through blogs, emails, and social media updates.
  • Kulshan Creek (10%): Coordinate with partners, staff, and graduate students to implement year-round field trips for Kulshan Creek Neighborhood youth ages 5-18 from Mount Vernon. Help lead some Saturday day trips. Strengthen pathway for Kulshan Creek youth to engage in Youth Leadership courses and events.
  • Food/Gear Management (10%): Plan program menus and food packing. Manage inventory, maintenance, and storage of program equipment and supplies.
  • Events Implementation (10%): Support development and implementation of Youth Leadership Conference, winter reunion, and other events, as needed.
  • Course Planning/Curriculum Development (5%): Support development and management of detailed course itineraries, including managing service projects and coordinating with visiting instructors and personnel, as needed. Research, develop, implement, and document lessons to supplement program curricula.
  • Other duties, as assigned.
May 26, 2015 preferred; June 1, 2015 at the latest
This is a regular, full-time, exempt position with an annual furlough (unpaid) from December 1-31. The monthly salary is $2500-2700, depending on qualifications and experience. We offer a competitive compensation package; benefits include paid time-off, medical/dental insurance, long and short-term disability insurance, tax-defined annuity and contribution retirement plan, and a yearly stipend to participate in Institute programs. During the summer and working from the Learning Center, this position will have shared housing and some meals. Given the remote location, personal transportation is required. Pets and smoking are not allowed in housing, during programs, or on the Institute’s campus.
Application review will begin April 24, 2015; position is open until filled.
North Cascades Institute is committed to building a culturally diverse workplace and strongly encourages applications from minority candidates.
Please send letter of interest, resume, and names of three references with current contact information to:
Email: [subject line: Youth Leadership Lead Instructor]            
North Cascades Institute
Youth Leadership Lead Instructor Search
810 State Route 20
Sedro-Woolley, WA 98284
Equal Opportunity Employer: Recruiting and retaining a diverse workforce is a high priority at North Cascades Institute. The Institute does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, gender, gender expression, gender identity, sexual orientation, physical or mental disability, military, genetic information, ancestry, marital status, age, citizenship or any other basis prohibited by law in any of its policies or programs.
About North Cascades Institute
The Institute’s mission is to conserve and restore Northwest environments through education. Since 1986 we have helped connect people, nature and community through science, art, literature and the hands-on study of natural and cultural history. Our goal is to help people of all ages experience and enjoy the mountains, rivers, forests, people and wildlife of the Pacific Northwest – so all will care for and protect this special place. The Institute is committed to innovation and excellence in environmental learning and leadership in the nonprofit community. We believe that sustainable communities are built on healthy environments, vibrant economies and social equity.
North Cascades Institute is a respected, national leader among U.S. environmental education organizations. The Institute is in sound financial health with a $3 million budget and strong reserves. In 2013, Charity Navigator awarded the Institute its 10th consecutive Four-Star rating placing the Institute in the top 1% of nonprofit organizations demonstrating exemplary fiscal management and commitment to accountability and transparency. The Institute was also voted “Best Place to Work” in the 2013 Bellingham Alive – Best in the Northwest annual readers’ poll. This is a wonderful opportunity to join North Cascades Institute at a time of exciting growth.
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