Residential/Wilderness Apprentice



Pisgah Forest, NC
United States

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The Outdoor Academy is an accredited, residential, semester school for high achieving tenth-grade and select ninth- and eleventh-grade students. Rising from a long tradition of experiential education at Eagle's Nest Foundation, a non-profit organization chartered in 1950, The Outdoor Academy incorporates a college preparatory curriculum with environmental education, wilderness leadership, unique arts offerings, and regional studies in a small community setting. Established in 1995, The Outdoor Academy enrolls up to 28 students from across the United States each semester to attend our school located in Pisgah Forest, North Carolina. The mission of the school is “Experiential education for young people, promoting the natural world and the betterment of human character.” The school is built around its four cornerstones of Intellect, Environment, Craft, and Community, and ENF and OA are currently focused on pursuing a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive community.


The Residential/Wilderness Apprentice team fosters a safe, healthy, and productive living environment in the dorms, around campus, and on trips. They oversee dorm life and work closely with the Dean of Students to design and implement residential life curriculum, including workshops on communication, feedback, identity, healthy relationships, leadership, etc. Their role in OA’s outdoor programming is extensive, as the team supports the Outdoor Education Manager in planning, preparing for, and leading hiking, climbing, and paddling trips. Residents will also have the opportunity to receive professional development and coaching in order to hone skills that will support their career goals in academic, experiential, or outdoor residential settings. Residential/Wilderness Apprentices are immersed in the life of the school and play a crucial role in students’ experience at OA.


January 19, 2023–May 19, 2023. Note that this is a one-semester, midyear replacement to join the existing cohort of Residents. Should the successful candidate so desire, the position may be extended to three semesters, to include the 2023–2024 school year. Additionally, summer work is likely available if so desired at Eagle’s Nest Camp.


  1. Live with students in a dorm or cabin five nights a week (Residents have a private bedroom and bathroom adjacent to the student dorm spaces) .
  2. Observe and enforce all policies of The Outdoor Academy and Eagle’s Nest Foundation.
  3. Monitor student safety in outdoor and residential settings.
  4. Co-lead wilderness trips, including rock climbing, white-water canoeing, and backpacking.
  5. Plan weekend activities with students.
  6. Facilitate morning and weekend meal preparation.
  7. Facilitate morning, evening, and bedtime routines.
  8. Hold dorm meetings, monitor student issues, and coordinate with Dean of Students to address concerns
  9. Work with Dean of Students to lead classes in residential life topics as part of the CIRCLE curriculum.
  10. Proctor study hours three evenings a week.
  11. Support Outdoor Education Manager in trip planning and preparation, cleaning and maintaining gear, and organizing pack-out and de-issue for outdoor trips.
  12. Distribute daily medications and support Medical Coordinator in monitoring student health and wellness.
  13. Accomplish other duties as assigned by the Dean of Students, Outdoor Education Manager, and Director.


  1. A commitment to transformative educational and community experiences
  2. A college degree
  3. A willingness to be immersed in the life of the school and to work closely with teenagers
  4. Significant background/skills in climbing, white-water canoeing, and/or backpacking preferred
  5. Current Wilderness First Responder or Wilderness EMT or proof of enrollment in a WFR/WEMT course that will be completed by the contract dates above


The majority of work will be conducted on campus; however, off-site work in the outdoors supervising teenagers will occur several times each semester.  The ability to work long days in hot and/or cold environments and lift heavy gear and boxes is required.  Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform essential job functions. Faculty should be flexible to work evenings and weekends as needed to fulfill program demands. Residents work Thursday afternoons through Tuesday mornings, with Tuesday and Wednesday nights off and large blocks of free/personal time on Mondays and Fridays.


The Outdoor Academy provides salary, contributory health insurance plan (in the case of a three-semester contract), on-campus room and board, professional development as an outdoor and residential life instructor, holiday and other vacation periods, equipment use and pro-deals on gear, outdoor leadership training and adventure days, and weekly time off. Additionally, Residents each have a private bedroom and access to a kitchen in shared on-campus housing for use during their nights off.