Expedition Instructor – California – (Male Instructor)

Big City Mountaineers’ Expedition Instructors are the heart of our programming and serve as the front line for helping us to serve youth across the country. More than anyone else, they understand the importance of the work that BCM does and how best to create a lasting impact on everyone that they work with. The dedicated field staff that works with BCM role models excellent expedition behavior while facilitating an invaluable experience that will ultimately help the youth we work with to feel more empowered in their everyday lives back home. Instructors serve as field risk managers, educators, guides, mentors and stewards as they venture into remote and wonderful areas across the country. 


BCM is excited to offer new opportunities for Expedition Instructors to take our youth out into wild places surrounding Minneapolis, Seattle, San Francisco, Portland, and Denver. 


About BCM 


BCM aims to instill critical life skills in under-resourced youth through transformative wilderness mentoring experiences. Working with community-based youth agencies and caring adult volunteer mentors, our professionally guided programs improve integrity, self-esteem, responsibility, decision-making abilities and communication skills in youth participants. BCM’s core program is a single gender, week long wilderness expedition (backpacking or canoeing) with a 1:1 ratio of 5 teens to 5 adult mentors. In addition to the expedition, groups participate in single day and overnight experiences pre and post expedition to help develop trust, skills, and transform learning from the backcountry to their everyday lives. 


General Description 

Working as an Expedition Instructor with BCM is highly rewarding. You will be responsible for leading a 7-day backpacking or 8-day canoeing expedition of 5 youth ranging from 13-18 years old. Our programs are primarily single-gender, serving under-served students with a variety of risk factors. Our unique 1:1 mentorship model also allows instructors to creatively lead a team of adult mentors. Expeditions are staffed with 1-2 adults from BCM’s partnering youth agency and 1-3 trained volunteer mentors. This is likely the first wilderness experience for the teens and youth agency leader, and while BCM volunteer mentors often have previous backcountry and/or youth experience. 

Reports to Regional Program Manager (based on location) 


Documented experience in at least one of the following youth development areas: 

  • Experiential education and facilitation 
  • Extended mentoring or teaching teen-aged under-resourced youth 
  • Proven high-quality delivery of youth development programs 
  • Documented experience in all of the following outdoor program areas: 
  • Minimum 6 weeks of documented and paid, multi-day overnight, wilderness-based outdoor leadership experience 
  • Wilderness travel: navigation, map and compass, route selection, off-trail travel 
  • Wilderness camping: LNT, cooking/camp stove use 
  • Group development: group process, behavior management, mentoring, team building 
  • Health and safety management and adherence to policies and procedures 
  • Knowledge of environment and hazards 
  • For backpacking trips—mountain hazard evaluation: terrain, weather, river crossings, environmental, etc. 
  • For canoe trips—flat water canoeing, portaging, lake hazard evaluation: weather, lake rescue techniques, etc. 
  • Current CPR plus WFR, or WEMT Pass background and MVR check  
  • At least 22 years old  



  • Spanish speaking or bi-cultural 
  • Priority given to Instructors excited and able to instruct a full summer season 

Instructor Responsibilities 

The BCM Instructor leads and manages all aspects of the experience while creating a collaborative and inclusive environment that fosters youth development and learning. The instructor is responsible for managing risk and safety, adherence to policy and procedures, and quality delivery of the curriculum. BCM programming may take place in remote settings. Communication and consultation with administrative and program staff is not always possible. In order to provide for the physical and emotional well-being of expedition participants, instructors must be prepared to make decisions affecting all aspects of their expedition including but not limited to: 

  • Itinerary and/or route changes  
  • Behavior management 
  • Youth development practices 
  • Adult Team management 


While BCM expressly encourages group decision-making, the instructor is ultimately responsible for all field decisions. 

  • Risk Management 
  • Follow BCM policies, procedures, and guidelines as outlined in Adult Handbook. Mitigate and manage risk, health, and safety according to industry standard best practices 
  • Logistics 
  • Instructors maybe responsible for coordinating various regionally dependent logistics including: communications, gear issue/de-issue, food shipping, budgeting, evaluations, reporting required paperwork, etc. 
  • Content and Quality 
  • Participate in required training, to include paid field based training in CO, April 26th-28th, 2019 (travel stipend provided in some cases) 
  • Ensure adult volunteer and youth organization participants are thoroughly prepared for their BCM experience via pre-experience communications 
  • Ensure trip effectiveness by: 
  • Instructing and facilitating BCM curriculum 
  • Identifying and facilitating group and personal goals 
  • Establishing and managing expectations for all participants 
  • Managing in-field adult team roles and relationships 
  • Keep program focus on outcomes by emphasizing key program elements 
  • Managing & Coaching Volunteers 
  • Provide guidance and reminders on managing risk and BCM policies and procedures 
  • Create a BCM curriculum, knowledge-share with adult participants 
  • Evaluate volunteer mentor performance 
  • Ask for feedback and evaluate your performance 


Compensation and Locations 

$80-$115/day dependent on number of documented professional field weeks 

Pay Bump: $5/day per returning year in the same position starting 2013 


Bay Area, California (Sierra Nevada/Yosemite backpacking) 

Minneapolis, Minnesota (Boundary Waters Canoe Area) 

Denver, Colorado (Rocky Mountains backpacking) 

Seattle, Washington (Regional backpacking) 

Portland, Oregon (Regional backpacking) 


Please apply HERE.