Our Trip Leaders

Trip Leaders are the heart and soul of our program. Read on to learn more about who they are, how they get here, and what makes Wilderness Adventures Trip Leaders stand out!
Person blowing bubbles in the mountains.

Wilderness Adventures Trip Leaders are are companions on the path, weaving together a tapestry of shared experiences, laughter, and moments of awe. They are risk mitigators, chefs, chauffeurs, medics, counselors, and temporary caregivers. Through their warmth, empathy, and genuine interest in each student, Trip Leaders create a supportive and inclusive environment where friendships blossom, barriers dissolve, and memories are made that last a lifetime.


Requirements & Qualifications of All WA Trip Leaders

  • 21+
  • WFR Certification
  • 10-day WA Staff Training
  • Background Check
  • Reference Check
  • Multiple interviews with the WA Leadership Team
  • Experience with and passion for working with youth
  • Each trip will have at least 2 Trip Leaders

Our Trip Leaders are not just outdoor enthusiasts; they are qualified professionals with certifications that ensure the safety and well-being of our participants. Many of our Leaders hold additional certifications, such as EMT, teacher certifications, Swift Water Rescue, open water kayaking, lifeguarding, and more, further enhancing their ability to lead, educate, and keep students safe in the outdoors! The wide range of certifications alone speaks to the depth of expertise and experience that our Trip Leaders bring to their roles. 


Our Trip Leaders come from a variety of backgrounds, each bringing their own unique skills, experiences, and perspectives to the table. Some are seasoned outdoor educators, with years of experience leading expeditions in various corners of the globe and teaching outdoor skills to youth. Others are teachers by profession, bringing their classroom expertise and passion for education to the wilderness setting. Some leaders will be joining us from their school break as they finish degrees, and some work to take a few months from their full-time jobs to continue to come back to Wilderness Adventures each summer. A handful of our Leaders are former WA students who have been inspired by their own experiences and Trip Leaders and have returned to pay it forward. 

For some Trip Leaders, this summer will be their first season leading for Wilderness Adventures, while others are returning for their seventh season or more! Regardless of their number of seasons with our organization specifically, all of our Trip Leaders share a common passion for youth development and a deep love for the natural world. It is this shared passion that drives them to inspire and empower the next generation of outdoor enthusiasts and environmental stewards. Our Trip Leaders each bring a different perspective, energy, and wealth of skills that together enrich the fabric of our team!

Woman talking to students while backpacking in Alaska

Staff Training

Our Leadership Team is present at summer staff training to help make sure Trip Leaders learn the wide scope of information they’ll need and fully understand the expectations of their jobs before jumping into the summer. They will learn the ins and outs of their trips from our Regional Coordinators who created the itineraries. They will learn about each of the students they will work with in the summer season from our Program Experts who worked alongside families to get students enrolled in their summer programs! We personally ensure each Trip Leader is feeling confident moving forward into the summer, is competent in all of the skills they will need to use, and is committed to our mission of inspiring growth and wonder.

Wilderness Adventures Trip Leaders are more than just guides – they are mentors, role models, and friends. Our Leaders are chosen not only for their expertise in outdoor activities but also for their ability to connect with people and foster a sense of community among our participants. Their passion for the outdoors, combined with their knowledge and expertise, make them invaluable members of our team and key contributors to the success of our programs.

Community Building

At the heart of every Wilderness Adventures expedition is a strong sense of community, fostered by our Trip Leaders. From the moment participants arrive, our leaders work tirelessly to create a supportive and inclusive environment where everyone feels welcomed and valued.

Through team-building activities, group discussions, collective challenge, and shared experiences, our Trip Leaders encourage participants to form connections with one another and develop a sense of camaraderie that lasts beyond the summer experience. Whether it’s working together to set up camp, cooking meals over a Whisperlite stove, or encouraging another student catching their first wave, our leaders empower participants to support one another and embrace the spirit of adventure. Because the only thing that is more powerful than standing on top of the Grand Teton is standing on top of the Grand Teton with your 12 new friends from across the globe that helped you get to that spot.

Group of people on the summit of the Grand Teton


Another thing that sets our Trip Leaders apart is their ability to transform ordinary outings into extraordinary adventures. Whether climbing to the top of Mount Adams, paddling through tranquil waters in Yellowstone, or grocery shopping at Smith’s, Trip Leaders infuse every moment with excitement and possibility, leaving an indelible mark on all who embark on the journey.

They help students understand the significance of, “it’s about the journey, not the destination,” by singing songs on the otherwise grueling uphills and pulling out their endless collection of riddles (but never revealing the answers, of course!). And while our trips are meant to be challenging, our Trip Leaders are always aware of students’ capacity for challenge and won’t let a tough day on the trail end without a game of ‘YeeHaw’ or a camp dance party!


Have a question about our Trip Leaders?

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Interested in being a Trip Leader yourself?

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