Adventure Instructor


Keystone Science School


Keystone, CO



Michael Schneck

Job Title: Adventure Instructor

Department: Adventure Programs

Pay Status/Range: Exempt

Schedule: 6+ days per week

Dates of Employment: May 15, 2023 - August 12, 2022

Reports To: Adventure Programs Manager; Adventure Program Coordinator

Housing Available: Yes

Number of Positions Available: 4

Compensation: $720 per week base rate, 10% boost for Spanish speakers, 3% boost for returning staff.


At Keystone Science School, we believe that the power of inspiring curiosity and critical thinking, through the lens of science, changes lives and strengthens communities.


Located in the Colorado Rocky Mountains, Keystone Science School’s historic campus serves as base camp for our diverse suite of inquiry-based learning programs. We combine hands-on science education with outdoor adventure to create engaging experiences for our students. At KSS, we change lives, we bring fun and laughter to everything we do, we care about each other and those we serve, we strive for excellence, we offer competitive compensation and generous benefits, and we are committed to serving students from diverse backgrounds. We’re proud to be Summit County’s #1 Best Non-Profit and #2 Best Place to Work (2019)! Visit to learn more!


Program Overview and Job Summary

Keystone Science School’s Adventures are designed to build a novice’s skill and excitement to explore the outdoors. Adventures are either 6-day programs designed to expose students to the possibilities of outdoor recreation or 12 day programs designed to build competency in outdoor living and leadership skills. Depending on the Program we do a mix of car camping, backcountry, rock climbing, backpacking, stand-up paddleboarding, and paddling programs. The unique locations for our Adventures cater well to place-based environmental education as students explore beautiful landscapes and ecosystems. We believe that students can utilize lessons learned on an Adventure in their future including: relationships with friends, projects at school, and future work opportunities.


Adventure Instructors are responsible for planning and facilitating curriculum and activities during field-based programs. Adventure Instructors are familiar with the daily schedule, risk management practices, emergency action plans, and the overall energy of Adventure programs. They are responsible for guiding students in their personal growth and daily living skills. Adventure Instructors also help manage logistics and packing for off-site programs on a rotating basis.



Main areas of focus:

  • 75% Teaching and facilitating programming;

  • 15% Lesson planning and curriculum development;

  • 10% Support staff duties (e.g. facilitation of meals, set up/clean up, transportation, student free time).


Essential Duties and Responsibilities

  • Supervise up to 26 students while camping in the front-country and up to 13 students in the backcountry on backpacking trips for 6-12 day programs with other instructors;

  • Teach students outdoor living skills such as packing, camp set-up/take-down, outdoor cooking, orienteering, and risk management;

  • Plan, prepare, and teach age appropriate curricula;

  • Clean, repair, and inventory gear after trip completion;

  • Plan Adventure logistics including schedules, trip routes, emergency action plans, menus, etc.;

  • Supervise and maintain high standards of health and safety, and follow Risk Management policies by engaging with incident prevention and response;

  • Attend and help facilitate wilderness trainings for Instructors, and attend all staff meetings and trainings as assigned;

  • Administer client medications, perform student health screens, and utilize first aid skills;

  • Gather and submit pictures and videos to reflect the experience children have during KSS programs;

  • Document course progression/student concerns, participate in self and peer feedback system, and engage in a post trip debrief;

  • Provide an electronics-aware experience for all children;

  • Maintain storage of all KSS equipment and repair outdoor gear as necessary;

  • Drive a 15-passenger van with a trailer and successfully complete Van Driver and Trailer Training;

  • Abide by and uphold the policies and procedures set forth by KSS;

  • Able to carry pack weights of up to 35-60 pounds

  • Able to maintain composure, exercise sound judgment, and assess and mitigate risk under periods of stress

  • Participates in required staff training

  • Commits to own professional growth as well as improving technical and interpersonal skills

  • Other duties as assigned.


Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities – Minimum Requirements

  • Have an interest in, respect for, and ability to work with children in a backcountry setting;

  • Have an interest in, respect for, and ability to work with people with diverse backgrounds, opinions, beliefs, abilities, and experience;

  • Proven ability to develop and facilitate science, diversity & inclusion, leadership, and risk management lessons;

  • Ability to adapt instruction and lessons to meet a wide variety of learners utilizing different educational philosophies;

  • Ability to be creative, adaptable, and flexible while managing children in a variety of situations;

  • Strong work ethic and will work until the job is complete;

  • Growth oriented mindset and willingness to give and receive feedback;

  • Motivation to contribute positively to the KSS at-large community;

  • Interpret a variety of instructions provided in written or verbal 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;

  • Ability to work in a busy environment with many distractions;

  • Write incident reports and lesson plans with attention to detail.


Required Education, Experience, and Certifications

  • Experience leading/guiding/instructing students in a wilderness/backcountry setting (minimum of 5 overnight trips);

  • Prior experience working with school-age children: at least three (3) months (460 hours) of full-time or equivalent part-time satisfactory and verifiable experience with school-age children;

  • Experience with risk management practices of the outdoor education industry;

  • Current Wilderness First Responder (WFR) and CPR certifications, from an approved vendor, or the ability to obtain before the first day of employment;

  • KSS is looking for staff with a strong background in outdoor climbing skills. Applicants should have a demonstrated history of climbing and be confident and knowledgeable to guide outdoor climbing trips for participants ages 5-17. Professional experience and industry specific current certifications are a plus.

  • Age 21+ with a minimum of 5 years driving experience, excellent driving record, and a valid driver's license;

  • Must be able to successfully pass a comprehensive background check;


Job Qualifications

Preferred Skills

  • Equipment familiarity with all aspects of outdoor climbing

  • Ability to properly inspect software and hardware used for outdoor sport climbing.

  • Able to build safe and clean sport anchors for top rope belays.

  • Familiarity with tying knots and hitches related to sport climbing.

  • Demonstrated background in working with youth in an outdoor climbing setting.

  • Demonstrated awareness of safety practices associated with outdoor climbing crags.

  • Ability to climb, at minimum, 5.6 on lead.

  • Ability to clean routes.

  • Familiarity with safe rappel practices.

  • Familiarity, or ability to learn, basic rescue techniques such as belay transfers.

  • Ability to lift 50 pounds and hike steep terrain with climbing equipment.

  • Familiarity with climbing crags associated with the KSS climbing program is a plus but not required.

  • Climbing certifications such as an SPI are a strong addition to any application.

  • Strong ability to manage groups of youth in climbing situations is a requirement for this position. 

  • Not having a strong background in climbing does not disqualify you from this position. All skills will be reviewed during training week prior to the start of programming. 

  • Ability to communicate verbally and teach in Spanish;

  • Previous experience driving with a trailer;

  • Proficiency with Microsoft Office (Word, Excel, etc.) and Adobe; 

  • Extensive experience on personal backcountry trips;


Travel Expectations 

In many situations, KSS will provide transportation to satellite programming locations. However, staff may be asked to use personal vehicles to travel within Summit County. Any travel mileage outside Summit County may be reimbursed. 


Physical Demands of this Position 

The physical demands described here are representative of those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of this job. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions. While performing the duties of this job, the employee is regularly required to sit; use hands and fingers to feel, handle, or hold objects, tools, or controls; reach with hands and arms; and talk and hear. The employee often stands for up to 16 hours per day, but may be required to stand longer in emergency situations. The employee must be able to lift and carry at least 40 pounds for an extended duration. The employee is frequently required to travel for extended periods over rugged terrain. Specific vision abilities required by this job include close vision and the ability to adjust focus. 


Work Environment 

The work environment characteristics described here are representative of those that must be met by an employee while performing the essential functions of this job. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions. This position requires the employee to work in close contact with their teammates and children. Staff will be expected to adhere to dynamic health guidance and policy set forth by KSS while working with children during a global pandemic. The noise level in the work environment is usually moderate, but varies seasonally due to programs and staffing on campus. While performing the duties of this job, the employee often works outside and drives vehicles in various weather conditions.  



Housing and food are provided at no additional cost. A housing deposit may be collected at the beginning of employment and refunded at the end of contract contingent upon inspection of living spaces by operations manager or other approved administrator.

Equal Employment Opportunity 

Keystone Science School is committed to building a diverse, equitable, and inclusive community, and we seek to recruit, develop, and retain the most talented people from a wide variety of backgrounds. We prohibit discrimination and harassment of any type, without regard to race, color, national or ethnic origin, sex, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, pregnancy, age, religion, disability, veteran status, genetic information, or any other characteristic protected by law.