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 River Ridge Instructor/Program Staff
Job Description

Job Title: Instructor/Program Staff
Job Location: Ten Mile, TN USA
Job Duration: February - May 2024
Apply or Questions: execdirector@johnknoxcenter.org


What is River Ridge?

River Ridge Environmental Education Program is an experiential learning-based, outdoor program dedicated to helping students explore and experience nature in a hands-on way for both overnight and day-use groups. We partner with local schools (mostly 5th grade) to provide engaging academic, recreation, and team-building experiences for their students. We work with private but predominantly public school students and their teachers to offer high-quality, life-changing outdoor experiences that create memories and meaningful learning encounters they will never forget. River Ridge is the name of the school group program that is part of the overall program of John Knox Center.

Job Summary

River Ridge Environmental Education Program Instructors/Program Staff lead approx. 14-17 students in at most four 90-minute class sessions, & one 90-minute evening program per day, typically 3 days per week. Staff also facilitate meals, care for animal ambassadors in our Nature Center, and provide leadership for program areas and other needs for guest groups during the fall season. A typical work week consists of 1-3 days of working with schools, 1-3 days preparing for or facilitating guest group experiences, and additional time spent caring for Nature Center animals, organizing program areas, etc.

Instructors/Staff will be expected to:

  • Lead groups of 14-17 students, plus two teacher chaperones from the students' school.
  • Safely manage their groups to mitigate the emotional and physical risks during adventure activities (ropes course, archery, etc.) as well as facilitate experiential activities (low ropes courses, initiatives, discussions).
  • Be high-energy, outgoing, and responsible for engaging students in activities throughout the week.
  • Lead meals for school groups & no more than two 90-minute evening programs per week although guest group assistance may require an additional evening.
  • Take initiative to help groups manage time, risk, travel around the site, and perform any other duties or assistance to students, teachers, or other staff to ensure the success of the program.
  • Maintain a positive attitude, professional language, well-kept appearance, appropriate and professional behavior, and a willingness to take initiative.
  • Assist with other camp duties as needed.

Compensation & Benefits:

  • Competitive per diem starting at $350/week plus bonus for lifeguard, ropes course, archery, or other pertinent certifications.
  • Private Room with shared living space provided for the duration of employment & meals provided while guests are onsite at no cost. Shared kitchen & living space, large flat-screen TV with Chromecast provided in accommodations. Each room is furnished with a twin bed, dresser, closet & chair. Housing is located 50 yards from the Dining Hall and a short walk from main camp.
  • High-speed Wi-Fi, laundry, use of waterfront recreation equipment & airport shuttle at the beginning & end of employment from Nashville, Knoxville, or Chattanooga are provided at no additional cost.

Location Information:

  • John Knox Center is located on the shores of Watts Bar Lake/Tennessee River approx. 15 minutes from the closest towns of Kingston & Ten Mile.
  • Only 45 minutes from Knoxville, TN, 2 hours from Nashville, TN & 3 hours from Asheville, NC & Atlanta, GA. 90 minutes from Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Minimum Qualifications and Requirements:

  • Be comfortable and physically able to thrive in an outdoor/camp setting.
  • The ability to pass a background check.
  • Good risk management, communication, time management, group management, and decision-making skills.
  • Friendly personality with the ability to connect and communicate effectively with youth & adult guests and co-workers.
  • Be able to lift 50 pounds and participate in moderate physical activity including but not limited to belaying, hiking, and moving around the property.
  • Ability to work irregular and long hours during programming days.

Preferred Qualifications:

  • Experience in outdoor education, camp leadership, or bachelor’s in education, biology, or related field.
  • Hold a First Aid and CPR certification.
  • Experience/familiarity with belaying, rock climbing, and teambuilding facilitation.
  • Ability to engage and lead large group activities like skits, songs, & meal facilitation.

Time Commitment: We prefer to train the last week of February but could adjust based on applicant availability. We expect that you will be available to work with us through and including May 24 with 2 days off per 7 days which may or may not be consecutive. Additional unpaid days off can be accommodated if requested in advance. Daily hours vary, but while students are on-site, days frequently start between 8:00 AM-9:30 and end between 5 PM - 9:30 PM. Days when groups are not on-site are typically 9 AM-5 PM.