Adventure Risk Challenge (ARC) is a youth development nonprofit in Central and Northern California. Our mission is to empower underserved youth through integrated leadership, 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 Lead Instructors for its 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. 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 Lead Instructors will begin in mid-May 2021.

Job Description

  • Oversee all aspects of running an ARC summer course, including: supervising three ARC instructors, managing logistics, overseeing the implementation of curriculum as well as direct teaching, and ensuring a high level of risk management throughout.
  • Supervision: observe lessons taught by summer instructors, provide feedback and coaching, meet with instructors to provide formal and informal feedback, oversee management of all student issues.
  • Course logistics: manage all expeditions and basecamps including on- and off-trail backpacking, gear and food organization, daily schedules, meal preparation, transportation, etc. Drive students in SUVs between course areas.
  • Teaching/curriculum: oversee all academic and backcountry curricula, serve as lead English instructor, assist in staff training, and ensure high quality curriculum integration and implementation.
  • Risk Management: ensure all risk management protocol and guidelines are followed by staff team and student group and manage incidents that may arise.
  • Work in a highly collaborative environment with other ARC staff.
  • Create a safe, open, and inclusive culture for students and staff.


This is a very rigorous summer course and requires a high level of professionalism, organizational skill, and dedication. Experience leading backpacking trips for youth and/or teaching is required, and experience in a supervisory position is preferred. Current WFR and CPR is required.


Lead Instructors are paid $135 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 as soon as possible. We are in the process of interviewing and hiring summer staff and will continue to accept applications on an ongoing basis until all positions are filled. For more information about our programs, please visit our website www.adventureriskchallenge.org.