Job Summary: Do you want to change the lives of local youth this summer through an introduction to outdoor adventure in the wilderness? Successful applicants will serve as the lead backpacking instructors for The Nature Connection’s youth summer backpacking programs. Enrollment will determine the number, duration and focus of trips throughout the summer.


  • Work with The Nature Connection Directors in all aspects of planning and execution of wilderness trips for middle and high school students that focus on safety and outdoor leadership skills 
  • Responsible for decision-making and risk management 24 hours a day 
  • Navigate a planned backpacking route under The Nature Connection’s operating guidelines
  • Instruct up to 11 students in a backcountry setting for up to four days, three nights on topics such as wilderness ethics, Leave No Trace travel, wildlife, natural history, and backpacking skills.
  • Mentor and supervise The Nature Connection high school backpacking interns
  • Ensure that trips meet health and safety guidelines while still providing a fun and exciting learning environment to youth and interns

Position Requirements:

  • Demonstrated experience in backcountry travel and leadership 
  • Ability to carry 50+ lbs while hiking 5-10 miles a day in high altitude environments 
  • Experience working and teaching youth in an outdoor environment
  • Familiarity with the West Elks, Cimarrons, or other alpine Colorado Rocky Mountain ecosystems preferred
  • 21 years or older
  • Drivers License and clean driving record
  • First Aid/CPR certificate required
  • Current Wilderness First Aid or Responder certificate preferred
  • Strong group facilitation, conflict mediation, communication skills and on-site risk management
  • Experience in the following: navigating backcountry environments (map and compass, GPS technology), survival and outdoor leadership skills, selection of suitable camping sites and itinerary adjustments for trip success and safety
  • Leave No Trace Trainer preferred

Compensation: Summer contract position dependent on experience and responsibilities/hours worked: $100-200/day

Location: The Nature Connection HQ; 397 Bulldog Street Hotchkiss, CO 81419

Job Positions: 1-2 openings available 

Specific Trip Dates: 

  • July 12th-15th
  • July 19th-22nd
  • July 26th-29th
  • August 2nd-5th

*Additional days and job duties may be negotiated

Please Submit:

  1. Resume with cover letter to
  2. Three professional references
  3. Top candidates will be selected for an interview by The Nature Connection Directors