Field Staff and Specialist Positions
Thompson Island Outward Bound Education Center employs compassionate, engaging and knowledgeable staff to facilitate experiential learning opportunities for program participants. Our programs primarily aim to serve middle school and high school students from diverse economic backgrounds in the greater metropolitan Boston area. At the same time we enroll students from all over the world to participate on Outward Bound Expeditions and students of all ages that participate in 1-4 day challenge and leadership programs. Additionally, through our partnership with Boston Public Schools and the National Park Service we are able to deliver curriculum based programs to Boston Public School students both inside the school year and over their summer break as well as summer employment opportunities for Boston area youth.
Members of our staff work with students across an array of delivery methods from traditional classroom settings to navigating the waters and islands of the Boston Harbor, and are competent in a wide range of outdoor leadership skills. Most importantly however, staff members come to Thompson Island Outward Bound with the desire to work with diverse groups of young people and are committed to providing students with a unique educational experience that they will build upon for the rest of their lives. Our Programs department is made up of a talented pool of instructors, facilitators, curricular personnel and specialists as well as administrative, logistics and admissions personnel who work together with us to insure that student courses are run safely and effectively.
As an employee of Thompson Island Outward Bound your primary responsibility will be to provide students with a safe learning environment and support the mission of Thompson Island Outward Bound Education Center. All courses and expeditions are designed to enable students to develop compassion, self-confidence, and leadership skills, while learning about environmental stewardship and the rich history and habitats our course areas encompass. By the end of each course, be it one day, a multiple week expedition or a summer long learning program, you will have lead a group of diverse individuals through a sequence of increasing challenges and have fostered their ability to do more as an individual and as a member of team. The positive impact you have on each student’s life can be everlasting and the reward for facilitating such an experience immeasurable.
If you would like to be included on a list of applicants to receive the first mailing of the Blueprint, please send request to email@example.com
Internships are offered to those who wish to gain or build on experience in the fields of Outdoor & Experiential Education. Interns support instructor teams, specialists and logisticians, to ensure safe, quality Outward Bound courses are delivered to all program participants. It is recommended that applicants review the Job Descriptions below and determine which program area might line up best with their own goals and objectives. Support of an Intern’s growth within the organization is offered by Program Management through an Individual Development Plan (IDP), which is reviewed by a manager incrementally throughout the duration of the internship. Additional support will be provided through the mentorship of senior staff and regular staff and peer evaluations.
Students enrolled in a degree program related to education or outdoor leadership can apply to fulfill their internship requirement with Thompson Island Outward Bound Education Center – a well-known and reputable organization in the Outdoor Education Industry. Support of an Intern’s growth within our organization is offered by Program Management through an Individual Development Plan (IDP), which is reviewed by a manager incrementally throughout the duration of the internship. Requirements from student’s College or University need to be submitted and approved during the application process.
Interships require a minimum medical certification Wilderness First Aid and CPR.
Our “Environmental Connections Program,” which runs during our spring and fall sessions, was developed through a partnership with Boston Public Schools (BPS), the National Park Service (NPS), and Thompson Island Outward Bound Education Center (TIOBEC). It is based on a three-day, two-night model delivered on Thompson Island in the Boston Harbor. This program serves 6th-8th grade students from our BPS partner schools. Facilitators lead team building initiatives, manage students on low ropes challenge courses; manage students during meals, evening activities and overnight in their dorms on Thompson Island. National Park Service Rangers deliver environmental curriculum. While facilitators assist in delivery of the environmental curriculum, their primary focus then is on group and student management. This position offers valuable training and experience for educators, facilitators and outdoor professionals alike. Many of our Environmental Connections Staff will naturally transition to our “Summer Connections Program” following their spring season with us.
The Summer Connections Program is an innovative partnership with Boston Afterschool and Beyond and the Boston Public Schools that serves to help close the academic achievement gap. The Summer Connections Program runs Monday through Friday, similar to a school schedule, bringing students on and off the island each day to engage in out of school time (OST) learning. Thompson Island Staff aid this program by assisting Boston Public School teachers in a classroom setting and National Park Rangers in various environmental settings while also helping with lesson plans and overall student management throughout the day. This staff team takes lead on facilitating team building and leadership activities for their students during specific blocks of time each day to augment their academic blocks.
This position requires a minimum medical certification Wilderness First Aid and CPR.
Peer Leadership and Youth Group Facilitators possess extensive knowledge of experiential programming and group processing skills through the use of games, initiatives, and challenge course elements. Facilitators are responsible for delivering customized programming for a diverse range of ages and populations. These 1 to 4 day programs focus primarily on character development, leadership, and social and environmental responsibility. The majority of these programs utilize the low and high challenge course elements; prior experience with challenge course elements and/or an ACCT Level 1 certification are a plus. Successful candidates may also come to TIOBEC with a variety of other relevant skill sets and backgrounds; student management skills and prior teaching experience are a plus.
This position requires a minimum medical certification Wilderness First Aid and CPR.
Crew Leaders – Youth Jobs Program
Youth Jobs Crew Leaders have experience in both the essential technical and interpersonal skills needed to assure projects are completed in a safe, efficient, and team-based manner with high-quality results. Crew Leaders will be selected to co-lead a crew of 10 to 12 Crew Members. These students are 15 to 18 years old, come from a diverse array of backgrounds, and travel from urban communities in Boston. Crew Leaders work alongside Youth Jobs participants on service projects throughout the Harbor Islands and in urban Boston neighborhoods. Development and educational activities occur throughout participants’ time in the Youth Jobs program, be that over the course of one summer or up to four years as returning youth staff. These may include manual service projects, gaining skills in cross-cultural communication and group living, and educational/vocational planning. In addition each crew will participate in one to two, overnights on a Harbor Island working with their crew in a field camp setting; camp craft and outdoor leadership skills are a plus. Crew Leaders are responsible for developing these and other activities for Youth Staff with the support of the Program Manager and a Course Director.
This position requires a minimum medical certification Wilderness First Aid and CPR.
Expedition Instructors are responsible for leading 7-14 day expeditions on Boston Harbor and Massachusetts Bay course areas and on Thompson Island throughout the summer. Both our 7 day island based expedition and our 10 day kayaking expeditions are run as single gender courses and serve students ages 12-14. Our sailing courses are run as both 10 day single gender expeditions for students age 12-14 and 14 day coed trips for older students, ages 14-17. Expedition Instructors present a wide range of outdoor leadership and group management skills, a clear understanding of Outward Bound pedagogy, expeditionary learning and sustainable practices in wilderness contexts. In addition each course element employs its own specific set of specialized skills that instructors must be able to both perform and teach.
Lead Instructors – Land Based
- Instructors for land (or “island,”) based expeditions are responsible for the physical and emotional safety of students throughout a 7 day course on Thompson Island, on a 24/7 basis. Course elements include camping, climbing and environmental exploration for single gender groups ages 12-14. An understanding of and sincere belief in the Outward Bound philosophy is essential to the position and to the overall success of this course. Instructors for our Island based courses are effective and compassionate leaders, familiar with the challenges that the 12-14 year old student faces and ability to help them find success at different levels. Our island based expeditions cater to a diverse group of students, aiming to help each achieve their own level of success with their Outward Bound experience. Experience working with students who face such challenges as Anxiety, ADHD and Autism are also essential to this position. Lead instructors must possess all the skills and validated relevant experience necessary to lead a group in a wilderness setting, including demonstrated decision-making skill, self-care and pacing, and the ability to reach quantifiable objectives. Instructors must be able to demonstrate and teach camp craft and sustainability practices (LNT) and facilitate all daily activities required on course. Lead Instructors for our Island based courses are required to have current Wilderness First Responder and CPR certifications.
Lead Instructors – Sailing Expeditions
- Lead Instructors on our sailing courses are primarily responsible for the physical and emotional safety of students throughout their course, both on board the boat and on land. An understanding of and sincere belief in the Outward Bound philosophy is critical to this position and to the overall success of course leadership. Lead instructors need to display a wide range of outdoor leadership skills and a high level of comfort aboard a sailing vessel. They should be able to comfortably lead group activities and initiatives in dynamic and harsh environments and display compassionate yet affective student and group management abilities. Wilderness First Responder and CPR certification is required for all Lead Instructor positions.
Lead Instructors – Kayak Expeditions
- Kayak Instructors are responsible for leading twelve-day, single gender kayak courses for 12-13 year old girls or boys in Massachusetts Bay. All lead instructors will be required to pass a level III ACA Certification that is included as part of instructor training. An understanding of Outward Bound philosophy and methodologies is critical to this position and to the overall success of course leadership. Candidates must display strong paddling, navigation, and group management skills, and demonstrate a firm understanding of course area and structure. Successful candidates will be a minimum of 21 years of age, have extensive experience leading sea kayak trips and possess a Wilderness First Responder Certification or higher.
Assistant Instructors – Sailing, Kayaking or Land Based Expeditions
- This position requires the same maturity and skills as a Lead Instructor but allows space for a newer instructor, or someone new to Thompson Island, to become more comfortable with our course area and big picture group management. Assistant Instructors work in the field under the supervision of a Lead and may in turn be supervising and mentoring a second assist or an intern. Most assistant instructors work for at least one season before becoming a Lead. The Assistant Instructor position requires a minimum of Wilderness First Aid and CPR certification.
Watch Officers (Licensed Captains – Sailing Programs)
Coast Guard – Licensed Captains (Watch Officers), are required on every one of Thompson Island’s sailing expeditions. To be considered for the position, applicants must hold a current 50-ton (or greater) USCG issued License with sail endorsement that is valid for the duration of the upcoming season, a TWIC card, or ability to attain prior to season start and current medical certifications. Watch Officers are responsible for expedition route planning, sailing instruction, and the handling and care of our 30′ sprit-rigged pulling boats. We operate 7-12 day expeditions on the Boston Harbor, Mass Bay and up the Massachusetts coast line. Courses include co-ed environmental expeditions for students age 15-18, single gender expeditions, for students 12-14 and shorter week long expeditions for college students. A full slate of courses is scheduled for the summer season offering plenty of work. The work and the students can be challenging and unpredictable, requiring strong leadership skills and flexibility. But for the right person prove an extremely rewarding and unique experience. Thompson Island Outward Bound offers competitive salary and professional development for this position.
A Course Director (CD) is responsible for the overall quality, consistency and safety of the Outward Bound courses in their charge. In most cases Course Directors are seasoned Outward Bound instructors who have demonstrated an outstanding ability to supervise and train others. From pre-course planning to the student graduation ceremony and post-course debrief, the CD is the point of contact for instructor teams in the field and the families of the students on course. The CD is most often at base coordinating with other departments, islands or outside entities to ensure the courses in the field run safely and smoothly at every turn. Course Directors may go into the field multiple times throughout course to advise teams on situations requiring outside assistance or to resupply their crew(s). Course Directors should be at a level of skill with their course element wherein they could comfortably replace a Lead Instructor in the field if the need presented itself. Course Directors must display the highest level of professionalism, dedication and commitment to safety both in the field and at base and are expected to be on call 24 hours a day for the entire duration of their course. Thompson Island Outward Bound offers competitive salary, housing and professional development for this position.
Climbing Site Managers
Site Managers possess extensive knowledge of industry standard operating procedures for challenge course operations. Site Managers must be comfortable moving and working at height and must be physically capable of climbing challenge course elements. Site Managers are responsible for the setup and takedown of high challenge course elements as well as the overall management of the climbing site while in use. Site Managers demonstrate abilities and skills similar to that of the ACCT Level 2 Challenge Course Practitioner Certification. Documented Challenge Course hours may be a requirement for this position upon request. An ACCT, PRCA, or AMGA certification is a plus.
Outward Bound Professional
The mission of Outward Bound Professional (OBP) is to create positive lasting change in the workplace. With this mission in mind, OBP facilitators provide cutting-edge, customized programs that enhance the effectiveness of individuals, groups, and organizations. OBP programs serve a diverse clientele from Northeast area businesses and organizations to Boston area colleges and universities. OBP Facilitators possess extensive knowledge of adult/business focused programming and group processing skills. Successful candidates have prior experience with facilitating problem solving initiatives, experiential learning models, and low and high challenge course elements. Prior experience or formal education in organizational behavior, business management, higher education, or experiential education is a plus. An ACCT Level 1 or 2 certification is also a plus.
Field Staff Employee Benefits
All Facilitator positions earn a 300 dollar weekly stipend throughout the length of their employment contract and have priority access to free housing on Thompson Island. Specialist positions are paid a set daily rate between 100 – 150 per diem as determined by their job description. Expedition Instructors are paid between 70 – 125 per Diem based on relevant experience and qualifications.
Offered each season, our trainings include low ropes, high ropes and group facilitation, student management and diversity training. Most training is program-specific and open only to current field staff, interns and pre-qualified applicants. We do, however, offer a few specific trainings each season that are open to anyone interested in skill development for experiential education; these include a pre-season Open Facilitator Training and one or more Wilderness Medical Trainings. Higher level and specialized trainings / opportunities are offered to certain positions
in accordance with the requirements of that position, its course area and program element. These include ACA Kayaking Certification, Sail Training, Challenge Course Management, Corporate Group Facilitation and various development opportunities throughout the season.
Room and board are offered with many positions for the duration of an employment contract and under the contingencies of the Residential Housing Policy. Rooms are offered in dorms on Thompson Island which open at the beginning of our spring season and remain open until we wrap programming in late fall. Staff dorms have 2-6 person rooms, comfortable common areas, full kitchen with hot/cold food storage and free laundry machines. Twice daily ferry service provides transportation between the island and the city of Boston at no cost to employees.
Professional Discount Program
While employed with Thompson Island, staff members gain access to our professional discount programs with outdoor industry leaders such as Patagonia, L.L. Bean, Gill, Petzl and more. These discounts often range between 30-70% off retail.
Interested applicants are encouraged to email a cover letter and current resume to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Most positions will also require you fill out an Outward Bound Field Staff Application, submit two TIOBEC Reference Forms and, for Specialist and Expedition positions, a Technical Skills Portfolio. Details about these documents and any additional requirements will be provided on an individual basis depending on the requirements of the position for which you are applying. We accept resumes year-round, and begin interviewing in January for the following season.