Short Term Backcountry Program Instructor

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Keystone, CO
United States

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Job Description:

Keystone Science School Mission:

Keystone Science School educates youth and adults to broaden perspectives and foster appreciation for engaged citizenship.  We accomplish this through meaningful and collaborative learning experiences in the natural mountain environment that incorporate non-biased scientific inquiry, leadership development, civic engagement and academic rigor. 

Our campus is located at 9,200 feet on the site of Old Keystone Village in Keystone, Colorado. Our historic 23-acre campus serves as the ultimate outdoor laboratory and is the home base for our diverse suite of programs. Our facilities include modern log-style dormitories, a central dining hall, an outdoor amphitheater, a state-of-the-art observatory and geothermal field. Visit to learn more!


Program Overview and Job Summary:

Keystone Science School offers a range of programs that provide a balance of hands-on science activities, field-based exploration, and adventure all based upon themes including aquatic ecology, forest ecology, earth science, snow science, health, and nutrition. Programs can be hosted on the KSS campus, at a school location, or at a camping-based location for a duration of one day to seven days.

The Short Term Backcountry Program Instructor is a teaching and guiding position responsible for running programming for the wide variety of curricula and trip options offered at KSS. This position is a part-time opportunity with varying hours based on program needs. Programs can be scheduled for a variety of durations which range from 1-5 days in length.  Short Term Backcountry Instructors may be responsible for hiking, camping, cooking, attending program trainings, facilitating programming, preparing for programming, supporting programming, or completing other tasks as assigned. Short Term Backcountry Instructors may also be responsible for the facilitation of meals, evening programs, and the completion of manual labor tasks on a rotating basis.


Our ideal candidate will focus on the following areas of responsibilities:

75% Backpacking Guide 

  • Instructors will teach middle school and/or high school students the basics of backpacking to include, but not limited to, how to properly pack a backpack, safe backcountry travel, leave no trace, backcountry cooking and cleaning, and how to hang a bear bag/properly use a bear canister;
  • Facilitate team, leadership, and character building activities; 
  • Safely navigate and teach navigation to a group of approximately 10 students.

25% Program Logistics Support

  • Pack gear and food for week long backpacking trips;
  • Unpack, organize, and clean gear from backpacking trips;
  • Drive a 15-passenger van with a trailer to base camp locations.


Program Instructor Specific Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities:

  • Ability to adapt instruction and lessons to meet a wide variety of learners and schools utilizing different educational philosophies;
  • Ability to be creative, adaptable, and flexible while managing students in a variety of situations;
  • Ability to read, analyze, and interpret professional journals and educational methods;
  • Motivated to contribute positively to the KSS at-large community;
  • Current CPR, and WFR certifications.


NOTICE TO ALL APPLICANTS: To perform this job successfully, an individual must be able to perform each essential duty satisfactorily. The requirements listed below are representative of the knowledge, skill, and/or ability required. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.

  • The minimum requirements in knowledge, skills, and abilities for the candidate of our choice:
  • We require and expect this person to be disciplined in thinking that is clear, rational, open-minded, and informed by evidence;
  • Strong work ethic and will work until the job is complete;
  • Motivation to contribute positively to the KSS at-large community;
  • Interpret a variety of instructions furnished in written or oral form;
  • Multi-task efficiently while managing a high-volume workload in a fast-paced, changing environment;
  • Superior customer service skills with the ability to be creative and think ‘outside the box’;
  • Strong command of communication, writing, and organizational skills;
  • Effectively interact with people of diverse backgrounds and different levels of experience;
  • Ability to work in a busy environment with many distractions;
  • Write reports, correspondence, and procedure manuals with attention to detail;
  • Leave No Trace practices;
  • Backcountry travel.


In addition to the above required talents, our ideal candidate will have these preferred skillsets:

  • Spanish language skills.


Our travel expectations:

Travel throughout the state of Colorado depending on the program location.


Our required education, experience, and certifications:

  • Minimum of one trip leading/guiding professional experience in an outdoor setting;
  • Current Wilderness First Responder and CPR certification upon start date;
  • Experience with risk management practices of the outdoor and environmental education industry;
  • Comprehensive background check;
  • To fulfill Colorado Child Care Regulation 7.711.21 E, Keystone Science School requires applicants, to whom a conditional offer of employment has been extended, to undergo a medical examination to establish their fitness to perform the job(s) for which they have applied without endangering the health and safety of themselves or others;
  • Excellent driving record and a valid driver’s license.


How to Apply:


Short Term Program Instructors are paid per week. The pay rate is $600/week, camping and meals are included in compensation.


Application Procedures

Provide your resume, cover letter, and WFR certificate through the KSS Online Application (visit the employment page at and complete the KSS Short Term Backcountry Instructor application)



Keystone Science School is an Equal Opportunity Employer. Qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability, or protected veteran status.