Adventure Risk Challenge (ARC) is a youth development nonprofit in Central and Northern California. Our mission is to empower underserved youth through integrated literacy and wilderness experiences.

We integrate academics (English literacy, writing, public speaking, and environmental science) with outdoor adventure.

Originally based on a New York City Outward Bound leadership and literacy program, ARC engages English Language Learner and under-represented high school youth in rural California communities.

BASIC INFORMATION: ARC is hiring seasonal instructors at each of its three program sites – Yosemite National Park, Sequoia-Kings Canyon National Parks, and Lake Tahoe. The summer courses intersperse wilderness components (multiple extended backpacking trips and other short expeditions including rock climbing and rafting) with basecamp components. The basecamps are held at University of California field stations in Yosemite, Sequoia-Kings Canyon, and Lake Tahoe.

The courses include daily physical fitness, English and environmental science classes, group reading and public speaking, and leadership classes. In addition to the course days, there are approximately three weeks of training prior to the start of the course, including a week-long backpacking training trip, and four days of post-course debrief. Work for all instructors will begin in late May 2021.


  • Responsible for logistics for expeditions and basecamps, including leading on- and off-trail backpacking, gear and food organization, daily schedules, meal preparation, transportation, etc.
  • Work in a highly collaborative environment with other ARC staff
  • Create a safe, open, and inclusive culture for students and staff
  • Responsible for teaching one academic subject area AND backcountry outdoor living skills and supporting other academic subject areas
  • Have a thorough knowledge of ARC curriculum, how pieces fit together, and overall goals
  • Manage all student behavioral issues, utilizing contracts and other tools when necessary
  • Ensure all protocol and risk management guidelines are adhered to in all program activities
  • Manage student safety in frontcountry and backcountry course environments
  • Ensure students are punctual for all academic and wilderness course components
  • Responsible for driving students in SUVs between course areas

QUALIFICATIONS: This is a very rigorous summer course and requires a high level of professionalism, organizational skill, and dedication. ARC will give preference to candidates with experience leading backpacking trips for youth, but all interested candidates are encouraged to apply, as we may have openings for assistant instructors, instructors, and lead instructors.

Preferred qualifications include:
Current WFR and CPR
Experience leading or co-leading groups of youth backpacking in the wilderness
Experience teaching (in a traditional or non-traditional setting)
Experience working in a dynamic and demanding work environment

COMPENSATION: Instructors are paid $110 per day. Extensive paid training is provided. Shared housing is provided. Meals are provided during the summer courses and some portions of training.

TO APPLY: Please email your resume, cover letter, and names and contact information for three references, including your most recent employer, to Mel Hoffman at mel@adventureriskchallenge.org by December 4, 2020.

Please note that we are unable to accept overseas applicants at this time.

For more information about our programs, please visit our website