Need a summer job or internship? Don’t commit to making pizza or stuffing envelopes yet. Spend June through August hiking, rafting and backpacking – and maybe earn money along the way.
“In a sense, physical exploration in the mountains has a more tangible, real effect on the mind and body than does professional exploration,” says Matthew Thomas West a graduate of Texas Christian University in Ft. Worth. West worked as a day camp counselor and hikemaster at the YMCA of the Rockies in Estes Park, Colo. during the summers between college.
“The excitement comes when you and a fellow die-hard hiker point to a place on a map that neither of you have gone to, and you each say, ‘That place looks interesting. Let’s get there.’ You wake up the next morning before sunrise and you set out and if all goes well enough, you find another unique gem of a nook in the playground of the Rocky Mountains,” West says.
Did that heartwarming story intrigue you? Here are some other short-term summer job adventures to consider that keep the environment in mind.
1. Echo Hill Outdoor School
Learn orienteering and survival skills working as a seasonal intern for EHOS. You’ll receive a weekly salary, and your dorm, surrounded by forest on the eastern shore of Maryland, will be free of charge. Learning and teaching students about the nearby Chesapeake Bay, early American studies, dairy and farm ecology, environmental issues and recycling will become your job.
2. Wahsega 4-H Center
Teach survival skills, high ropes, pioneer living skills and earth science classes while residing in the Chattahoochee National Forest in North Georgia, just minutes from waterfalls and the Appalachian Trail. Your job could include taking care of captive wildlife, assisting with daily upkeep and curriculum development. You’ll receive an hourly wage, plus lodging and 12 meals a week for $70.
4. Canyon Country Youth Corps
This may be ideal for you if you want to live in the Southwest for the summer and be in an area that has the highest concentration of national parks. You’ll make a weekly salary while helping teach youth about healthy lifestyles, work habits and respect for natural resources and the environment. You’ll also be engaged in habitat restoration, fence construction and trail maintenance.
5. Hidden Villa
Live on more than 1,600 acres of open space in the foothills of the Santa Cruz Mountains, located about 40 miles south of San Francisco. You’ll help campers explore the Hidden Villa farm and wilderness preserve while learning about social and environmental justice and better understand multiculturalism. You’ll receive a weekly salary and possibly internship credit.
6. YMCA of the Rockies
Work 8,010 feet above sea level in Colorado’s Rocky Mountains as a day camp counselor. You’ll provide leadership to youth in a variety of outdoor programs, including climbing, rafting, mountain biking and horseback riding, all while earning a weekly salary.
7. Grand Teton Lodge Company
Help operate the lodging, restaurants, tours and activities in and around Jackson Hole, Wyo. Although you’re expected to work hard, there’s no end to recreational opportunities available during your off-time. Central to the mission of the Grand Teton Lodge Company is environmental preservation.
8. Student Conservation Association
This nonprofit organization provides college and high school-aged youth with hands-on conservation service opportunities. Opportunities range from restoring desert ecosystems, to tracking grizzlies through the Tetons. For more information on how to apply visit the organization’s website.