Frequently Asked Questions
FOR residential outdoor science instructors (ROSI)
Q: Where do I live?
We have four staff houses off-site, exclusively for our Residential Outdoor Science Instructor staff. Houses are about a 5-minute drive from campus. Some staff do not have cars; the houses are an easy bike ride from campus.
Q: What will I be teaching (what groups will I be working with)?
During the spring and fall, your time will be spent teaching our Overnight Outdoor Learning curriculum to fifth and sixth graders from the Reno, Tahoe, and Sacramento areas. Our engaging lessons are built using Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) and Common Core Standards. Topics include hands-on exploration of resource conservation, local ecology and biology, energy transfer, and engineering principles.
During the summer, your time will be spent delivering curriculum to our SNJ Summer Campers and Community Groups. Community programming often focuses on leadership development on our challenge course. Summer camp programming includes swimming, ropes course, sports, archery, and campfires.
The challenge course is a very popular program area for our campus and instructors spend 2-3 days/week facilitating the course. Many school groups and community groups request the challenge course to promote collaborative problem solving and critical thinking to the experience.
Q: What type of training will I receive?
Instructors receive two weeks of training in the spring. One week is dedicated to the challenge course, the other is dedicated to the Overnight Outdoor Learning curriculum, teaching tips, behavior management techniques, and risk management. You will receive additional training related to summer camp programming and other topics throughout the year, which include:
- Special needs adaptive programming training
- Diversity/social justice/restorative justice training
- Training to incorporate teen leadership into the ropes course
- Training to lead summer program areas such archery, kayaking, and fishing
Q: What do people do in their free time?
Grizzly Creek Ranch is perfectly situated for outdoor recreation. Near campus, we have Lakes Basin Recreation Area, Bucks Lake, and Lake Davis. Lake Tahoe is about one hour away. All areas offer outdoor recreation opportunities like climbing, hiking, skiing, kayaking, and fishing. Additionally, Reno is 50 miles away. Many staff routinely visit Reno to stock up on personal supplies, go out to dinner, catch a movie, or concert.
Q: How many instructors are there?
There are 13 Residential Outdoor Science Instructors, and we will bring in about 20 additional staff members for the summer season (summer instructors and summer counselors).
Q: Who else works on campus?
There are four Program Coordinating Instructors (PCIs). The PCIs coordinate the groups and act as instructors when needed. The Program Manager manages the PCIs and the ROSIs, as well as the overall program quality and implementation. The Program Director directs, evaluates, and updates all campus programming. The Challenge Course Manager rounds out the program leadership team. Additionally, there is an Executive Director, Registrar, and full maintenance, kitchen, and housekeeping crews that provide our awesome food and help keep the campus looking spectacular.
View Grizzly Creek Ranch's virtual tour for more information about our campus.
Q: What is the food like?
Instructors are welcome to eat meals on campus any time they are being served. Our food is both kid- and adult-friendly. We always provide a hot and cold option for each meal and regularly accommodate dietary restrictions and food allergies for both staff and participants. We value our very strong reputation with campus visitors for serving great tasting, healthy meals.
Q: Will I be staying in a cabin with the students/campers?
During summer camp, you will spend three or four weeks staying in cabins with the campers and leading activities during the day. You may be asked to stay in a cabin during the spring and fall seasons, but it is rare. Anytime you stay overnight with kids, you will earn additional compensation.
Q: What will my work schedule look like?
Daily work schedule varies with each group. With Overnight Outdoor Learning groups, the day begins at 7:45 a.m. with breakfast and ends at 9 p.m. with the evening program. Instructors are scheduled on a rotating basis for meals and evening programs. If not working breakfast, instructors arrive for a staff meeting at 9 a.m. If not working dinner or an evening program, instructors leave at around 5:30 p.m. The number of meals and evening programs worked each week varies on group size. An instructor may work anywhere from 1-4 evening programs in a week. Hours vary when working with other community groups. Our campus is operational seven days/week and therefore your days off will vary. Some weekend work is required, and instructors work an average of five days/week over the course of employment.
Q: What professional development opportunities are available?
- Create and manage your challenge course portfolio
- Lead training segments during summer and fall training periods
- Develop and execute interest-based projects (such as developing curriculum or creating program materials)
- Work with diverse groups and populations (low-income, special needs, leadership development, students, campers, teachers, adults)
- Waterfront lifeguard certification
- Deep resume experience teaching elementary and middle school STEM subjects with a well-known, high quality education provider
- Sierra Nevada Journeys is committed to providing meaningful professional development opportunities for our instructors. In prior years we have sent Residential Outdoor Science Instructors to Next Generation Science Standards trainings or the AEOE Conference. Each year’s opportunities vary with timing, location, and applicability.