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Intern - Ely 

EOE Statement At Voyageur Outward Bound School we strive to embody our values, including diversity and inclusion. VOBS is committed to recruiting and retaining a diverse workforce and supporting a vision of equity for the future. This organization does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, gender, gender expression, gender identity, sexual orientation, physical or mental disability, military status, marital status, age, citizenship, or any other basis prohibited by law.  
Location Ely Base  
About the Organization We challenge you to change a life.
We challenge you to change your community.
We challenge you to change the world!

The need for leaders of character and compassion is great.

For over 50 years, Voyageur Outward Bound School (VOBS) has changed lives through challenge and discovery. We know that personal discovery leads to positive transformation. Our students grow character and compassion through nature-based adventure. Our vision is more resilient and compassionate people for a more resilient and compassionate world.

Voyageur Outward Bound School is a charter of Outward Bound USA, the leading provider of experiential education for youth and adults. We design and deliver intensive single-day and extended wilderness expedition experiences that build and develop character, leadership and service through shared experience.

VOBS delivers high impact programs across three sites: Twin Cities Center in St Paul, MN, Homeplace Wilderness Basecamp in Ely, MN and Big Bend Basecamp in Redford, TX.

Our values are integrity, excellence, compassion, inclusion and safety. Our instructors are highly trained and experienced. We are proud to be recognized as one of the 100 Best places to work by Outside magazine for consecutive years.

Collaboration with educational and non-profit organizations is critical to our mission. We partner with schools, colleges, non-profit organizations and families to serve their youth and young adults with programs that support specific educational goals.
Category Field Positions  


The internship is an on-the-job training program for individuals aiming to become field instructors facilitating expeditions for VOBS. Depending on skill level, experience, scheduling, and availability, some interns will be promoted to instructor the same season. Most will complete the 9-week internship and will seek to be re-hired as a field instructor the following season. Internships begin with 12-14 days of in-the-field expedition training and 5-6 days of introductory technical skills and student management training. This is followed by 6 weeks of practical work supporting the program.

The VOBS Ely Summer Interns will perform a wide variety of duties on any given day or week ranging from supporting a rock climbing day for students, driving to the airport to greet a new student group, or staining one of the many buildings on our 40-acre wilderness basecamp. The intention is for the interns to have a diversity of work that will deepen their understanding and appreciation of the position of field instructor, program management, how the basecamp runs, and how to work with students. Approximately 40% of the intern’s time will be spent in student contact and approximately 60% will be spent supporting courses, course delivery, and the base camp community.

Essential Duties and Responsibilities

  • Trainee
    • Participate in a wilderness training expedition and that is modeled on an Outward Bound student experience and thus, is deliberately challenging.
  • Program Support: Student Experience
    • Assist at technical sites including rock climbing, whitewater kayaking or canoeing, and high ropes sites.
    • Support instructors and students in the Intercept (at-risk) program during their final week at VOBS where they are working to transition home and preparing to reunite with their families.
    • Assist with gear issue on student arrival days or gear switches when (i.e. canoeing to backpacking).
    • Supervise students who leave the field due to illness, injury, or behavioral incidents.
    • Greet, supervise, and inspire students at the airport on arrival days.
  • Program Support: Logistics
    • Driving during student transport including to/from the airport, to/from trailheads, and to/from technical sites using passenger vans and equipment trailers.
    • Assist field instructors during course preparation including packing food and gear, and setting up camp before student arrival.
  • Program Support: Facilities
    • Assist VOBS Facilities Manager in maintaining the basecamp. This includes a variety of tasks that help the basecamp run smoothly and run efficiently. This could include staining a building, cleaning, filling pot holes, yard work, kitchen work, etc.
  • Program Support: Safety
    • Participate as needed to support the basecamp’s on-call field response system. This could include paddling or hiking to evacuate an injured student from the wilderness, answering the emergency field line, and preparing food and gear for evacuation teams.


  • Stipend of $150/week.
  • Skills you will learn through this training program include, but are not limited to: whitewater and flatwater paddling, rock climbing, top rope anchor building, campcraft, navigation, group dynamic and student management skills, conflict resolution skills, and expeditionary leadership and decision-making skills.
  • Room and board on the edge of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area, a 1.1 million-acre wilderness.
  • Eligible for ProDeal (professional discounts from a variety of outdoor companies).
  • Accident insurance available.


  • Applications should be submitted online
  • Hiring happens on a rolling basis beginning in December and positions remain open until filled.
  • There are three sessions of intern training programs each summer. Placement is based on skills/experience and availability/scheduling.
  • The first two sessions of the internship offer paid support and/or field work after their scheduled end date.
  • Dates for 2019 are:
    • May 15 - July 16 (+15 days support and/or field work until August 26)
    • May 31 - July 29 (+15 days support and/or field work until August 20)
    • June 25 - August 26

Position Requirements

Knowledge and Skills

  • Strong desire to learn and eagerness to serve the mission.
  • Ability to be flexible and positive in a dynamic, team-oriented work environment.
  • Willingness to be an active part of a small community.
  • Willingness to live in rustic conditions at Homeplace, VOBS wilderness basecamp, with a common dining hall and shared washhouse.
  • Ability to lift up to 75 pounds.
  • Ability to participate in moderate to rigorous physical activity including, but not limited to, paddling, backpacking, running, carrying canoes overland, swimming, rock climbing, kayaking.
  • Minimum age requirement is 21 years.
  • Valid driver’s license.
  • Wilderness First Responder certification or ability to obtain this certification after hiring.

Education and Work Experience

  • Outdoor, group leadership, and/or experience (preferred, but not required).
  • Outward Bound, NOLS, other extended expeditionary or travel experience (preferred, but not required).
Full-Time/Part-Time Seasonal  
Close Date 4/11/2019  
Hiring Manager(s) Craig Binger  

This position is currently not accepting applications.

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