Summer Field Instructor- Outdoor Discovery Day Camps

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Missoula, MT
United States



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Job Summary:  Summer Camp Program Instructors will provide leadership and instruction for the full-day Summer Outdoor Discovery Day Camps at the Montana Natural History Center.  Have fun, get outdoors, and make a difference this summer while gaining valuable training and experience working in environmental education!

MNHC’s camps for kids ages 4–11 combine experiential natural science education with outdoor fun and adventure. Camps include environmental education, exploration, projects, field trips to local natural areas, free play, games, and more. Every week is unique, so camp staff will gain broad experience in outdoor environmental education while exploring a variety of topics in natural history.

Length of Commitment:

  • June 3rd - August 20th.
  • Must attend two full weeks of training from June 3rd-June 14th from 9:00am-5:00pm. There are no exceptions to this requirement as this training commitment is essential to ensure the quality of our programs.
  • Following training, each staff person will work for 6 or 7 out of the 8 weeks of camp with 2-3 full weeks off (unpaid) during the summer (including the week of July 1st, when there are no camps). 
  • During camp weeks, staff will work 8-hour days, 5 days a week (either 8:15-4:15 or 9:30-5:30, M-F). This schedule is set on a rotational basis and is not an either/or option.
  • All instructors must also participate in the one day of camp clean-up on Monday, August 20th, from 9:00am-5:00pm.


  • Get first-hand experience using Environmental Education best practices, including exposure to training and curriculum
  • Experience teaching a variety of natural science curricula in an outdoor setting
  • Spend the summer exploring, teaching, and learning in local natural areas
  • Practice program management skills in planning, evaluation, and safety
  • Develop curriculum and pilot your new lesson ideas in a supportive environment
  • Expand and enhance your knowledge of natural history, place-based, and inquiry-based education
  • $10.50-$11.50/hour, depending on experience
  • Housing is not provided for this position, though we can help connect you to resources in the Missoula area.

Specific Summer Camp Instructor Duties Include:

  • Attend two weeks of training where you’ll learn techniques and best practices for teaching kids in the outdoors, be oriented to MNHC’s summer camp policies and protocols, and visit local field sites that you will visit with campers during the summer.
  • Work in a team to develop and lead week-long, nature-themed outdoor education camp programs for kids in preschool-5th grade (campers are divided into age-appropriate groups). You’ll be responsible for some curriculum development though MNHC can provide resources and support based on your experience.
  • Ensure that your programs meet MNHC’s expectations for safety, education, and positive group dynamics.
  • Work alongside a co-instructor to supervise and mentor camp groups of up to 13 kids in order to build positive group dynamics and ensure a safe and fun learning environment. (Camp groups are broken into smaller age groups of preschool-kindergarten, first-second grade and third-fifth grade. You can request to work with specific age groups but may be assigned to work with a variety of ages throughout the summer.)
  • Actively engage with campers throughout the normal camp day (9:30am-3:30pm), as well as at morning- and after-care as scheduled (8:30-9:30am and 3:30-5:30pm).
  • Communicate on a regular basis with supervisors, parents, and MNHC staff about camp dynamics, successes, and challenges.
  • Supervise morning and after-care activities as scheduled in order to provide a safe and positive environment for children and their guardians.
  • Maintain program supplies and participate in keeping camp and storage areas organized.
  • Additional Note: Camps include field trips, requiring many (but not all) camp instructors to be willing to be trained to drive MNHC’s short buses and drive them during the camp day in order to transport campers safely to local destinations. 


  • Experience teaching/working with groups of kids:  This position requires confidence in outdoor teaching with limited time for training.
  • Teaching experience—preferably with elementary-aged children in an outdoor setting—is desired.
  • Knowledge of local flora and fauna:  This position requires you to help kids explore local nature and to take advantage of teachable moments that might arise. We will train on some basic natural history concepts, but outside knowledge of local natural history subjects, and/or a desire to learn more, is helpful.
  • Ability to work efficiently both individually and as a team:  Summer instructors work on their own, alongside co-instructors, and in teams along with other seasonal and permanent staff to develop and lead lessons and activities and to ensure positive group dynamics at camp. A functional team environment is essential to program success.
  • Commitment to stewardship and hands-on, experiential education.
  • High levels of dependability and responsibility:  We rely on our teaching team to be ready and on time to work with our campers every day!
  • Flexibility and ability to deal with unexpected situations while maintaining a positive attitude:  We teach outdoors nearly every single day, and sometimes the weather isn’t ideal, campers have challenges, plans don’t work out as expected, or other problems arise that need solving, but we do our best to make sure that every day at camp is a meaningful and positive experience for our campers.
  • Basic computer skills:  Although this position is mostly focused on directly working with campers, field staff must be able to reliably communicate through email, use Microsoft Word and Google Docs to develop and submit camp schedules, and use a web-based schedule and timesheet for tracking work hours.
  • Current OSHA-approved First Aid/CPR certification, obtained no later than June 3rd.

Preferred additional qualifications:

  • WFR, Lifeguard, and/or additional safety certifications
  • Experience developing environmental education curriculum in an outdoor setting
  • Experience participating in or teaching various outdoor and naturalist skills such as camping, nature journaling, orienteering, doing citizen science, place-based knowledge of Montana, etc.

Employment is conditional upon applicants:

  • Passing a criminal background check
  • Obtaining OSHA-approved CPR and first aid certification by June 3rd, 2019
  • (For bus drivers only) Obtaining a Department of Transportation medical certificate (paid for by MNHC) by June 3rd, and having a clean driving record to be verified by a driving record check

Position Start Date:

Monday, June 3, 2019

Job Duration:



How to Apply:

To apply, please submit 1) a cover letter detailing your specific qualifications for and interest in this position, 2) a resume outlining work related to this position, and 3) the contact information for 3 professional references to Please write “Summer Camp Instructor” in the subject line. 

Applications are currently being accepted and reviewed on a rolling basis. We encourage interested applicants to apply as soon as possible to ensure they are considered.

For questions, contact Stephanie Potts at 406.327.0405 or

Job Compensation:


Compensation Information:

$10.50-$11.50/hour, depending on experience

Contact Name:

Stephanie Potts

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