Self Directed, Nature Based Learning

Self-Directed Education is a whole-life, agency and consent-based process. When young people are free to learn on their own terms, they learn everywhere and all the time — not only in places and at times set aside for “educational purposes.” Self-Directed Education facilitators reject the notion that young people need to learn a standard set of skills and subjects by a certain time. Successful facilitation requires, among other skills, a deep appreciation for informal, spontaneous, and emergent learning processes. A commitment to self directed learning is essential for those interested in becoming part of the White Ash Learning mentoring team. There are a number of ways to become involved, please read through this information and fill out the application below.

We are currently interviewing applicants for lead mentors, a year round full time position.

Seeking applicants who have 2-3 years of experience guiding wilderness programs with youth.

Review the full job description before applying by clicking here.

Guest Volunteers

We invite guest volunteers to offer a unique skill, activity, or experience. If you are interested in visiting as a guest, please propose specific offerings that you would like to facilitate. Your proposal will be shared with mentors and participants.

Substitute Mentors

When a mentor has a scheduled or unexpected absence we call on substitute mentors to fill in for one or more weeks depending on the circumstance. It is preferable that substitute mentors have a minimum of CPR/First Aid and ideally a current WFA or WFR. It is required to visit as a guest to become oriented to the program before being hired as a substitute mentor.

Lead and Assistant Mentors

We are looking for enthusiastic, experienced facilitators. You must be able to support self directed learning, following the curiosity of the group and supporting their interests. Programming is entirely outdoors, so a high level of comfort working outside in varied conditions is necessary. A deep love of empowering young people and prioritizing their autonomy is crucial to success as a mentor for this program, as is skilled communication and playfulness.

Mentors work from 8:30am – 4:30pm on program days, which includes a half hour before and one hour after program time for staff meetings. Full time mentors are paid an hourly rate based on experience, training, and certifications. There may also be opportunities for administrative or site work, please let us know your related skills if interested.

Mentors in Training

The mentor in training position offers the opportunity to gain experience, receive on the job training, and become familiar with Self Directed Education. Mentors in training take on rotating roles and responsibilities as lead mentors do but instead of carrying the full responsibility of any specific staff role each week they can opt to take on a few of the pieces instead. In general, mentors in training work alongside a lead mentor for the majority of program time. This is an ideal position for high school or college students that have some experience with youth and are pursuing education or a career working with youth outdoors.

What we’re looking for

    • Passion for supporting self directed learning.

    • Experience with nature connection mentoring (8 Shields or alternative models).

    • Naturalist knowledge and wilderness skills.

    • Ability to independently lead crafts and diverse types of projects.

    • Working knowledge of English and familiarity with Spanish, French, ASL, or another language.

    • Current First Aid/CPR, WFA or WFR preferred.

    • Excellent communication skills.

    • Experience in conflict resolution with youth.

    • Strong desire for personal and professional growth.

    • Commitment to equity, regenerative culture and decolonization.

    • Active engagement in relationship with the more than human world.

We accept applications for all positions on a rolling basis.


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As an EOE/AA employer, White Ash Learning Collective will not discriminate in its employment practices due to an applicant’s race, color, ethnicity, religion, sex, national origin or ancestry, age, sexual orientation, gender identification, genetic information, veteran or disability status, or any other factor prohibited by law.