The Philadelphia Outward Bound School (POBS) empowers individuals to effect positive change in their communities. POBS Instructors design and lead customized backpacking, canoeing, and rock climbing expeditions that help both youth and adults realize their true potential through challenge and discovery.

Expedition Apprenticeship

The 2.5-month-long Expedition Apprenticeship is intended for individuals who are invested in working towards becoming a POBS Instructor and who have education, trip leading, and/or expedition experience.  Expedition Apprentices gain extensive classroom and in-field training, including:

  • 10-day training expedition
  • 5-day classroom training, including Outward Bound history and philosophy, student management, conflict resolution, safety and risk management, diversity and inclusion, and curriculum development
  • Technical skills: backpacking, canoeing, top-rope rock climbing
  • Up to three opportunities to participate in backpacking and/or canoeing expeditions as a “third Instructor”
  • Exposure to POBS Insight (daylong teambuilding) programming, with opportunities to work alongside experienced Insight Facilitators
  • Logistics: gear maintenance and repair, vehicle maintenance and driver training, vehicle shuttles, base site projects

Expedition Apprentices can anticipate a dynamic, varied schedule that requires some flexibility! The general rule of thumb is five days on, two days off. Days on are often spent in-field as logistics support or on expedition.

Upon successful completion of the Apprenticeship, individuals are very likely to promote to Assistant Instructor and co-lead wilderness expeditions throughout the Summer and Fall.


Expedition Apprenticeship: March 28 – June 4, 2018

Application deadline: February 2, 2018

Our hiring season begins in December and we take rolling applications throughout the year for our seasonal apprenticeship/internships. We hire a season in advance. Please fill out our online application and indicate the position for which you wish to apply.

  • Participate in staff training
  • Practice clear, effective, and timely communication and feedback with supervisors, instructors, and other staff members
  • Encourage teamwork, cooperation, and individual effort
  • Maintain an appropriate appearance, a positive attitude, and professional demeanor
  • Assist with field evacuations, student supervision, and other various program tasks as needed
  • Assist with logistical functions such as food preparation, course transports, equipment resupply, gear repair, and cleaning
  • Perform base site tasks as assigned, such as building and maintenance of program facilities, sites, and equipment
  • Assist with administrative functions such as development of marketing materials, school briefings, event planning, and data entry
  • Successfully plan and execute an agreed-upon “legacy project”
  • Adhere to all local operating procedures, safety policies, and emergency procedures outlined in the staff handbook
  • Take on personal ownership to initiate, seek out, and commit to professional development through both trainings and additional work experience
  • Other duties as assigned
  • Relevant certifications (WFR, ACA, AMGA, SWRT, etc.) a strong plus
  • Outdoor experience (trip leading, personal excursions, etc.) a strong plus
  • Basic knowledge of the mission of Outward Bound
  • Demonstrate multi-cultural competence and sensitivity
  • Demonstrate sustained ability to work with underserved populations
  • Background in Education, Physical Sciences, Social Sciences, Youth Development, Non-Profit Management or other related discipline
  • Strong communication skills
  • Organized, with an ability to prioritize time-sensitive assignments
  • Creative and flexible
  • Must be 21 years or older
  • Must possess up-to-date and valid driver’s license and have at least three years of driving experience
  • Must procure and pass Pennsylvania Access to Criminal History, Child Abuse Clearance, FBI Background Check, and Motor Vehicle Record Screening
  • On feet most days, sometimes for long hours (e.g. early morning departure to late night return)
  • Able to carry, lift, and move a minimum of 50 pounds
  • Exposure to Outward Bound curriculum and facilitation training
  • Exposure to Outward Bound technical training
  • Room and board, including food staples (we can and do accommodate dietary restrictions)
  • $400/month stipend
  • Professional development
  • 10-20 formal opportunities per contract year that promote technical and non-technical skill mastery