Tahoe Youth Backcountry Instructor – Tahoe Rim Trail Association

Stateline, Nevada

About the Tahoe Rim Trail Association (TRTA):

Since 1981, the Tahoe Rim Trail Association has championed recreation in the Tahoe Basin. Today, the TRTA maintains and enhances a world-class 200-mile trail system with over half a million annual users. The organization implements a variety of programming to teach users sustainable trail use practices, connect the public with the outdoors to create lifelong stewards and mitigate the impacts of trail users on the trail and landscape so everyone can enjoy the Tahoe Rim Trail today and in the future.

Position Summary: Contract

Reporting Structure: This role reports to the Youth Programs Manager
Location: Stateline, NV
Job Classification: Temporary Contract (Early June through Mid-August)
Work Schedule: Four-day, 3-night trips in the backcountry; flexible schedule. See “Additional Details.”

Essential Duties:

The Youth Backcountry Instructor (YBI) will supervise, teach, and facilitate meaningful experiences for youth during multi-day backpacking trips. This program focuses on backcountry skills, natural history, and character development through experiences that take youth into new and outdoor environments.

  • With a co-instructor, lead four-day backpacking trips for up to 13 youth.
  •  Responsible for the physical and mental health and well-being of each group member throughout the entirety of the trip. Including, but not limited to, the duration from the initial meet-up at the TRTA office, during field activities, and throughout sleeping hours.
  • Facilitate program curriculum by teaching basic backcountry skills, natural history, and stewardship ethics and leading character-building activities.
  • Foster leadership skills among participants through experiential learning opportunities, encouraging them to take on responsibilities within the group.
  • Create a positive and inclusive atmosphere that encourages active participation and fosters a sense of belonging among youth participants.
  • Facilitate group discussions and reflective activities to enhance the learning experience.
  • Exercise sound judgment and decision-making to assess and mitigate hazards.
  • Respond promptly and effectively to medical emergencies and field incidents, implementing TRTA policies and procedures and coordinating with emergency services when necessary.
  • Address and resolve conflicts among participants, applying conflict resolution skills to maintain a positive group dynamic.
  • Effectively build rapport with participants, co-instructors, chaperones, and co-workers.
  • Maintain high energy, a positive attitude, and attention to participants and chaperones.
  • Conduct post-trip evaluations with participants to gather feedback and assess the program’s effectiveness.
  • Communicate program details and outcomes with parents and guardians.
  • Submit post-trip reports detailing the outcomes, challenges, and recommendations for future programs.
  • Ensure the proper care and maintenance of all program equipment, including tents, backpacks, stoves, and first aid supplies.
  • Conduct pre-trip equipment checks to confirm readiness and safety.
  • Represent the Tahoe Rim Trail Association in a professional manner.

Required Qualifications:

  • Experience Working with Youth in Outdoor Settings: Proven track record of working with youth ages 12-17, understanding their unique challenges, and having the ability to create a supportive and inclusive environment.
  • Risk Management Skills: Comprehensive understanding of risk management in outdoor settings, including the ability to independently implement program protocols and assess and mitigate potential hazards and emergencies during backpacking trips.
  • Cultural Competency: Exhibit cultural sensitivity and competence, recognizing and respecting the diverse backgrounds and experiences of the youth participants.
  • Effective Communication Skills: Possess strong communication skills to effectively interact with both youth participants and support staff, ensuring clear instructions, active listening, and the ability to address concerns and conflicts.
  • Teaching and Facilitation Skills: Experience implementing educational activities during backpacking trips, fostering personal growth, teamwork, and leadership development among participants. Ability to facilitate these activities in Spanish is a plus!
  • Adaptability and Flexibility: Ability to adapt plans based on the needs and abilities of the youth, as well as unexpected changes in weather or other conditions.
  • Environmental Stewardship: Commitment to environmental stewardship and educating participants on responsible outdoor practices to instill a sense of respect and appreciation for nature.
  • Conflict Resolution Skills: Strong conflict resolution skills to manage interpersonal conflicts that may arise among participants during the backpacking experience.
  • Backpacking Expertise: Extensive backpacking experience, including a strong knowledge of outdoor safety, navigation, camping, and leave-no-trace principles. Ability to hike and camp in the backcountry for several days at a time at various elevations up to 10,000’ carrying up to 75 lbs.
  • Background in Education or Youth Development: Background in education, youth development, or a related field to enhance the educational and personal growth aspects of the YBCC experience.
  • Passion for Youth Empowerment: Genuine passion for empowering disadvantaged youth through outdoor experiences, fostering personal growth, confidence, and resilience.

Required Certifications:

  • Certifications are valid from start to employment end date.
  • Wilderness First Aid certification or higher.
  • CA Epinephrine Auto-Injector.
  • CPR.
  • Lifeguard.

Preferred Qualifications:

  • Youth Mental Health First Aid certification.
  • Leave No Trace Trainer certification or higher.
  • Nature-based Social-Emotional and Behavioral Interventions.
  • Experience hiking on the Tahoe Rim Trail.
  • Tahoe/Sierra Nevada Naturalist.

Additional Details:

Work Schedule:

Youth backcountry camps run from June-August with trips predominantly in July and August. Due to the nature of the YBCC Program, the Youth Backcountry Instructor will have a nonstandard schedule with significant fieldwork for the duration of the position. Fieldwork weeks will typically include four full days and three nights in the backcountry.  The TRTA expects a minimum commitment of 4 trips for the season. 

To Apply:

Candidates should complete the application form as well as upload a cover letter and resume. The TRTA will conduct interviews and fill the positions on a rolling basis. Apply as soon as possible for priority consideration. Applicants with questions regarding this position may contact Emily Dawes, Youth Programs Manager at emilyd@tahoerimtrail.org or 775-298-4493.


  1. Daily Rate: Commensurate with certifications and prior experience at the time of job offer.

US $150 per day of YBCC training where a day is defined as being 24 hours.

US $200.00 to $250.00 per day of the YBCC program where a day is defined as being 24 hours.

  1. Check-in Rate: Contractors are required to attend a minimum of 2 check-ins with the Youth Programs Manager during the guiding season.

US $50 for a maximum of three hours of “administrative” work conducted outside of guided trip hours.

  • Professional Development
  • Instructor Training
  • Meals during programs


See NV independent contract Information here. 

  • Employer will provide 1099 tax form
  • Employer does not withhold taxes

The TRTA is an Equal Opportunity Organization 

The YBCC Program is committed to ensuring access to Tahoe’s natural spaces for all by providing fully outfitted recreation experiences to youth from underserved and underrepresented communities. It is important for participants to see outdoor leaders who represent and can relate to their identities and backgrounds. We encourage candidates who identify as Latinx, BIPOC, LGBTQ+, and/or with other communities historically underrepresented in outdoor spaces to apply.

Click here for more information.

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