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Program Director

Wilderness Kids Alexandria is hiring a Program Director. The Program Director will be responsible for designing and leading programs in pursuit of Wilderness Kids’ mission: to provide life-enriching experiences in nature to Alexandria teens from under-resourced families.

 

The Program Director will be the first, and currently only, full-time position at Wilderness Kids (begun in October 2021). The Program Director reports to the Founder/Executive Director who works 75%-time.

 

Wilderness Kids is a new organization and, as such, has a start-up feel and culture. Many processes, policies, and guidelines are not yet in place; we are still figuring out what programs should look like; still finding new audiences to serve; building a volunteer base; and generally making decisions about the future of the organization on a daily basis. The Program Director, as the only full-time employee, will have the responsibility and the opportunity to help the Founder and the Board shape the organization for years to come.

Responsibilities:

The Program Director has responsibility for all aspects of Wilderness Kids Programming. In 2022-23, this program is envisioned as:

 

  • A 90 minute After-School Program for middle school students during which we will visit local parks. The program will run 4 days per week, each day with a different group of students across three different schools (George Washington MS, Francis Hammond MS, and Jefferson Houston MS). The current plan is to run programs for six weeks and then to offer the same program to a new group of students from the same set of schools. With assistance, guidance, and partnership from the Executive Director, the Program Director will:

    • Develop curriculum for a six-week program, and potentially for a 12 or 18 week program as well.

    • Teach the after-school program, as a team with teachers that the Program Director hires and manages.

    • Purchase food, drink, and materials needed for each session.

    • Liaise with school staff to ensure smooth operations of each session.

    • Solicit feedback on programming from school staff and students.

    • Ensure mental and physical well-being of students.

 

  • A twice-monthly Weekend Outing Program. These outings are typically five to seven hours on a Saturday or Sunday. Examples of outings include hikes at Prince William Forest, Mason Neck or Turkey Run; climbing indoors or outside at Carderock; paddling on a lake or river; boating on the Potomac; sailing on the Chesapeake. With assistance, guidance, and partnership from the Executive Director, the Program Director will:

 

  • Plan two outings per month for up to 20 students per outing.

  • Register students to participate for each outing, gathering paperwork as needed.

  • Liaise with program partners, as needed. (e.g. American Alpine Club, Chesapeake Bay Foundation, CRAB Sailing, etc.)

  • Solicit volunteer assistance for each outing.

  • Develop appropriate curricula for each outing, as needed.

  • Ensure mental and physical well-being of students and respond to emergencies in an appropriate manner.

  • Organize transport for each outing. (Currently, all transportation is by volunteers. Together with the Executive Director, the Program Director will explore alternatives to that approach.)

 

  • A Summer Program. As of May 2022, this is the least defined portion of Wilderness Kids programming. In 2022, our Summer Program will consist of three 3- or 4-day overnight camping trips. There will be opportunities for the Program Director to develop the 2023 summer program in other ways, in pursuit of the objective of the program to give students more extended time to explore more remote nature. One preferred option is to offer an extended camping trip (of 2 or more weeks). Ultimately, With assistance, guidance, and partnership from the Executive Director, the Program Director will:

 

  • Develop a summer program for summer 2023.

  • Hire staff to run the program.

  • Manage logistics, including location sites, transportation, gear, partnerships and more.

  • Either run the program, or oversee running of the program. TBD.

 

Additional Responsibilities:

  • Assist in the management of Wilderness Kids social media, including Facebook, Instagram, and Linked In. 

  • Assist in development of marketing materials for Wilderness Kids, including the website, an annual report, and other items.

  • Assist in the development of guidelines, policies, and protocols - including safety and emergency protocols, DEI policy and philosophy, job descriptions, background check policies, behavioral guidelines, and more. 

  • Generally respond to the short-term needs and long-term objectives of a young organization focused on providing life-enriching experiences in nature to Alexandria teens from under-resourced families.

Qualifications:

  • A good sense of humor and proven experience as a successful team-member. Willing and able both to work collaboratively with the Executive Director and independently to grow and manage our programs.

  • 5 years working with children - ideally in the outdoors; ideally ages 12 to 18; ideally from under-resourced families, immigrant families, or BIPOC families.

  • BA in environmental science, outdoor education, or related field.

  • Ability to work remotely and in person. We are small and have no physical office and most meetings will be virtual, at a coffee shop, or along a hike.

  • Skills and experience building a welcoming, inclusive community. Cultural humility, an ability to challenge structural inequalities, and awareness of one's own social identities are all helpful in creating a workspace and program space that honors and welcomes diversity, builds equity, and ensures inclusion. 

  • Ability to manage a budget and keep track of expenses.

  • Ability to hire good staff, train them as needed, and manage them.

  • Ability to prioritize projects when many things are occurring at once.

  • Comfortable meeting with program partners, funders, and board members.

  • Good decision making ability.

  • A temperament that is happy to make a food run to Costco, draft curriculum, discuss a student’s welfare, write up an expense report, and teach 15 kids in the rain–all in one day.

  • While not essential, a car and a valid driver’s license would be very helpful as the job will entail a lot of local travel - to purchase food and materials; to attend after-school sessions four days per week; to travel to weekend outings.

  • Also not essential but suggested: residence within a relatively short commute to George Washington MS, Francis Hammond MS, and Jefferson Houston MS. The Program Director will be going frequently to these places, always about 3 p.m., and it is preferable that they do not take up too much time on a mid-day commute.

 

Salary Range:

$35,000 to $50,000, depending on experience.

Start Date:

August 1, 2022. (Perhaps some part-time work before this)

To Apply:

Send your resume along with a cover letter that describes your interest in the job and highlights one or two aspects of your experience that prepares you for this role. Please email these materials with a subject line “Program Director Position” to Jerry@WildernessKidsAlexandria.org.

We actively seek and encourage applications from people of all backgrounds and identities in areas including, but not limited to race, ethnicity, nationality, religion, class, gender identity, sexual orientation, and ability. We welcome questions and open discussion about this commitment throughout the application process.

Thank you for applying.