SUWS of the Carolinas is located in the beautiful Pisgah National Forest in Western North Carolina. We are a wilderness therapy program that provides an intervention and treatment program for young people displaying self-defeating behaviors and destructive decision-making patterns. These behaviors and patterns may be substance abuse problems, difficulty in school, deteriorating personal relationships, a lack of personal care, angry and oppositional behaviors, and a feeling of a loss of control in their lives. SUWS seeks to identify the positive attributes these students already possess, which will help them to overcome their destructive patterns of behavior. We empower students to rediscover their strengths and learn how they can be used in their everyday life. Students then come to an understanding of the effects their negative behaviors have had on their lives. We challenge the “old habits” and help cultivate a desire for change within each student. SUWS is not a boot camp. It is an empowerment program. Our students leave prepared to walk a long road of growth. They become more self-reliant, better able to sustain meaningful relationships, and possess a higher level of personal integrity.
We serve a maximum of 12 students per group. Field Instructors are part of a treatment team that consists of 2 to 3 Field Instructors working 24/7 and a therapist working with the group two days a week. Instructors are with the students around the clock. Work shifts are 8 days on and 6 days off. The Field Therapist engages the students in deeper-level counseling. Under the direction of the Field Therapist, instructors carry out specific therapeutic outcomes for all students and devise strategies for reaching the intended outcomes in the field. Students progress through the program as evidenced by their investment, responsibility, and integration of the therapeutic work.
Wilderness Field Instructor Duties:
First and foremost – Instructors must provide the highest levels of safety for students and help students adhere to those high standards while in the backcountry.
- Have a high investment towards effecting a positive change within student lives and a congruency with our mission.
- Participate in an Informational Seminar and initial employment training. These seminars are two days in length. The Informational Seminar serves as the interview process for instructors. The initial employment training is received after hire and includes, Crisis Prevention Intervention, Anaphylaxis Administration Certification, Documentation Training and First aid and CPR training.
- Lead 8 -day courses of up to 12 at-risk teens into the Pisgah National Forest, accounting for 24-hr safety and supervision. Each week, 2 days are spent at a layover site conducting life skills and therapeutic activities with Field Therapists.
- Participate in pre-course trainings, mid-course evaluation, and a post-course debriefing. Trainings involve therapeutic strategies, hard-skills training, field safety, field logistics, etc.
- Inspire and create self-reliance and personal care standards, insuring student safety and success.
- Teach primitive skills: primitive fire making including striking and bowdrill fire, simple traps, no-trace camping, and backpacking
- Work with the student’s as a teacher guiding them through a curriculum that includes emotional growth skills and academics.
- Collaborate with Field Therapist in order to devise practical strategies to re-frame student’s unhealthy beliefs with positive, healthy beliefs.
- Facilitate practice of treatment goals via primitive skills instruction, simulated families, search and rescue techniques, map and compass navigation, team-building initiatives, ropes course, personal reflection activities, journal writing, etc.
- Empower students to take responsibility for their actions and consequences, make healthy choices, build and maintain strong relationships, and demonstrate community service towards others.
If we determine that you are a qualified candidate, you will receive an invite to an Informational Seminar. This is a two-day pre-hire evaluation period, which imparts crucial information about the instructor role and allows for a thorough evaluation of your skills, while you explore our program. Applicants are required to be here for the full duration of these days and nights. Dates will be included in a follow-up email and are typically Saturday morning to Sunday evening. Possible employment and scheduling is determined following completion of the seminar.
- Must be 21 or older.
- Current Adult and Child CPR and Basic First-Aid Certifications or Wilderness First Responder are preferred. (Training can be provided upon employment for CPR/FA.)
- Experience in 1 or more of the following areas is a plus: 1) Experience with at-risk youth in a work setting; 2) Experience in a counseling/teaching capacity with children; 3) Personal competency with wilderness skills and/or a background in facilitating experiential education.
- A strength and commitment towards pro-active, interpersonal communication.
Must pass a background check and pre-employment drug screen.