Work for BOAT
BOAT is trying to change how organizations access the outdoors – and we need your help. We’re looking for guides, instructors, and volunteers for a range of programs.
Interested in joining our efforts to make a more accessible and inclusive outdoors? Check out our mission – and read on:
The mission of BOAT – the Bus for Outdoor Access & Teaching – is to get other organization’s missions outside. A not-for-profit wilderness program on wheels run from a custom bus, we bring a full service outdoor program to the front doors of our partners. Being outside has powerful effects on health, wellness, and learning – BOAT can serve as the logistical backend that gets you there.
DATES: A range of programs are available in 2022. This includes full-season work, and some contract opportunities for single trips or programs. Reach out to micah@theBOATbus.com for details. Specific contract availability includes:
- Full season: June 6th, 2022 – August 14th, 2022 (10 weeks)
- Peak Season: July 5th, 2022 – August 7th, 2022 (4 weeks)
- Weekly contracts available – please inquire for availability.
REQUIREMENTS: Wilderness First Responder preferred. Experience with backcountry navigation, outdoor meal preparation, and basic facilitation required. See job description for more.
DETAILS: While details will vary, most programs in 2022 range between 3 – 5 days. 2022 program partners include multiple youth program focused on cross-cultural immersion to reduce segregation, a primarily Spanish-speaking backpacking program aimed at children of immigrant families, an interfaith girls group, and multiple intergenerational programs aimed at families traditionally underrepresented in the outdoors. We are proud to partner with programs led and designed by leaders for their own communities. Strong preference for guides with background in facilitation, social-emotional learning, and with cultural competence and humility.
COMPENSATION: Base pay of $150/field day, room + board provided. See details in “Learn More” section below.
REQUIREMENTS: Class B Commercial Driver’s License with a Passenger endorsement required. BOAT can provide training to the appropriate candidate to receive their license.
DETAILS: Daily rate, per trip. Ample opportunities to drive on weekdays throughout the summer and into the fall. Typical days last from 8am – 4pm, but hours may vary.
BOAT’s application process is online – you can find the full application here. You will be asked to provide basic information about yourself and your skills, to provide a resume, and to provide at least three references. You cannot save information midway through, so have your references, their title, e-mail, and phone number in advance.
Note that each job has a series of brief question statements – these can be brief, but you may want to prepare answers in advance. Our Job Application Checklist is the best place to get a sense of the process!
The name is an acronym, but it really is like working on a ship. Our crew is small, the quarters are tight, and everything is on board. We aren’t a camp, and we don’t have our own students – instead, every program is a partnership, with leaders from the communities and schools we serve directly involved. You may be used to programs that work out of a particular camp or area, or have their own philosophy and model – we find we can serve more programs, in a more thoughtful way, by focusing on their approach. Our challenge is to mirror what they already do in an outdoor setting. Each trip can look a little bit different. That can be refreshing for some, but stressful for others.
There are still things we look for in our team. We’re proud of trying new things, and we think operational excellence, innovative thinking, and a willingness to change will help us make a more inclusive outdoors. We’re looking for people who want to join us in finding new ways to use the outdoors to fulfill the missions of our partners. We have really robust operational systems, but we want to learn from you too. A commitment to diversity in outdoor spaces is critical; we are often providing the logistical backbone to support leaders from groups who have historically lacked access to the outdoors.
Given the above, we don’t believe in “culture fit.” We are looking for “culture adds.” Bring who you are to the work, and we will try to find the right match (both with partner guides, and partner programs!). Review available opportunities and apply in the other tabs.
Because our trips range widely – both in location and style – each contract may be unique. At a high level, you can expect the following:
- $150/day base pay
- 2 days off for every 5 on*
- Room + board covered**
- All program expenses will be paid while working, including travel to and from the trip start and end location, meals, accommodations, and activities (this may not apply during time off, or for travel to BOAT at the beginning / end of the season).
- Access to pro deals and industry discounts
* While this is our base pattern, the pace of expeditions may shape available days. We typically have 5 day programs with 2 days off, similar to a weekend, but some days may involve travel, and in other cases gaps may be shorter or longer. This is a ratio, not a schedule.
** Specifics vary by location. Read on for details.
Where you’ll live
While in the field, you’ll be camping along with participants. Typically guides are in a separate guide tent, and if you prefer to sleep alone in a tent that may be an option. Most trips in the warmer months are tent or tarp based, but as it gets cooler we may utilize cabins.
While not in the field, there are a few options. Most of the time we’ll be in our base in Milwaukee, WI. Guides share a space in the Hawk’s Nest Community, an intentional living community and urban homestead in an eclectic walkable neighborhood. Out the front door, you’ll have access to the city of Milwaukee, with much of downtown within just a few miles (bikes are provided for those without vehicles). Out the back door, the view over the river valley hides any sense of a city, and weekend activities can include walking miles of trail connected to the property, borrowing a boat to paddle down to lake Michigan, or enjoying the breeze on the porch. At night, relax in the hot tub or with one of our many fire pits. And one advantage relative to many youth guiding programs – no kids on site!
While in other cities, we typically provide a shared Airbnb for guides. Some opt instead to get their own place or stay with friends. If this reduces the cost of the Airbnb, we’ll happily pay that same amount to you as a housing stipend. These can vary widely, but are typically near the city we are operating in.
Breakfast supplies, lunch, and dinner are provided, though you may opt to eat out instead, or provide your own groceries – there is a kitchen available for your use.
Some days are travel days, as the bus moves from place to place. In those cases, we may be camping out along the way.
What you will do
In many ways, we’re the same as many other expedition-based programs. You will lead groups of people, typically youth, through beautiful areas. You will teach them outdoor skills and life lessons. You’ll facilitate activities, help prepare delicious camp meals, sleep under the stars, and encourage social and emotional development.
In other ways, we are quite different. Because we want BOAT programs to enhance the existing mission of our programs, there are some unique aspects of our field work:
- More often than not, an adult mentor, teacher, or chaperone from the program is part of our leadership team. We want to help foster and continue long-term relationships of support with our students.
- Program philosophy or style may vary across trips, to better honor our partner’s efforts. That can mean training between programs on the things that do change.
- Our programs range widely! Rather than a core base of operations we work out of, our base of operation moves.
In practice, you can expect to participate in three kinds of programs, detailed below.
Travel off-trail through one of our premiere backpacking destinations. You will teach students to navigate and work as a team. We focus on remote areas with a lot of authentic choice and flexibility for students.
Ride BOAT to a wilderness base camp for a week of adventure exploring the region. Typically tent camping with a central lodge or kitchen area, or cabins in the winter. We base in one place and move around for day trips.
Adventure Road Trip
Play some tunes, hop on the bus, and check out a new adventure every day – a wider array of activities and campsites, switching locations on a regular basis. This lets us cover a lot of ground to see a “greatest hits” of an area.