Meet Our Instructors
The Adventure Treks instructor team is the heart and soul of who we are and what we do. They’re more than just instructors—they’re role models, mentors, and friends to our students. Because we don’t take this responsibility lightly, we have a rigorous and selective hiring process. All instructors have significant prior experience working with youth in the outdoors, and they participate annually in a minimum two-week training (senior staff attend three weeks of orientation). The five- to six-instructor dynamic on each trip provides a variety of personalities to match our students and leads to better decision-making, as risk management is our top priority.
Unlike other teen programs, we don’t hire college students simply looking for a fun summer diversion (we feel that age group is better suited to gain experience as more traditional camp counselors). This is also why we don’t refer to our staff as “camp counselors”; we hire professional outdoor educators who truly care about and invest in our students’ personal growth and development.
At Adventure Treks, students learn to think for themselves and for their group. They are encouraged every step of the way and are so thrilled when they have learned and mastered something they never imagined they could do (e.g., summiting Mt. St. Helens). My daughter learned the value of thinking as a group and not as one. She learned how to cook for a group and plan as a group. She blossomed under such fabulous leadership and learned what she is truly capable of doing, how accepting she could be, how to develop valuable insights into how people get along, and how to encourage people to move way beyond what they thought they could do. I would highly recommend this program and Bella’s trip! – Stacy Garner, parent from Winter Park, FL
2021 instructors at a glance:
- Minimum age: 21
- Average age: 27
- Average tenure of trip leaders is 4.5 seasons
- 12 staff are former Adventure Treks students
- All are, at minimum, medical certified as wilderness first responders; some are EMTs, wilderness EMTs, or parademics.
- Our hiring process includes at minimum 3 interviews, 4 reference checks, and complete background checks.
- In a typical year, our instructor return rate exceeds 60%.
In addition to being certified as wilderness first responders, many of the Adventure Treks instructors carry additional certifications:
- Emergency medical technician
- Wilderness emergency medical technician
- Certified nursing assistant
- CPR instructor
- Lifeguard instructor
- AMGA climbing wall instructor
- AMGA single pitch instructor
- PSIA ski instructor
- PSIA alpine level II
- Swiftwater rescue technician
- AASI snowboard instructor
- Leave No Trace master educator
- Leave No Trace trainer
- ACA level II whitewater kayaking instructor
- ACA level II canoeing instructor
- PADI rescue diver
- CMC rope rescue technician
- NSP mountain travel and rescue
Lulu’s experience 2020 summer could not have been any better. She described her AT community as safe and full of people she wants to be like because of their positive attitudes and love of the outdoors. She described her instructors as genuinely interested in each and every student, and each had the unique ability to make everyone feel comfortable in any situation in their own special way. The experience most valuable for Lu was that she could enter a group of kids that all knew one another and knew the AT way and within seconds seamlessly felt a part of the group. She has a strong friend group at home but never has she felt so open to just be herself. I would like to thank all of the instructors for making her 3 weeks with AT more amazing than anything she could’ve ever imagined. They made their way into her heart and won’t be forgotten. An AT community is like none other these teenagers get to experience and it ends up being the one of most powerful and healthy ones in their lives. The overall AT experience is top notch. – Katie Scruggs, parent from Huntersville, NC