Trip Leaders

GOALS will not be running a program in 2020. Check back for 2021 plans!

GOALS – Girls’ Outdoor Adventure in Leadership and Science – is a free summer program for high school students to learn science hands-on while backpacking through Sequoia National Park. During the two-week immersive program led by UC Davis and National Park scientists, GOALS participants learn how to design and conduct field-based scientific experiments while developing leadership and outdoor skills. Our student scholars – girls and gender expansive youth, primarily people of color – have likely had the experience of walking into a classroom, a lab, or an outdoor space where no one else looked like them.

GOALS provides an opportunity for youth scholars, trip leaders, and volunteers to build learning communities that counteract norms of who belongs in science and the outdoors. GOALS is a program for women, femme, gender nonconforming, and nonbinary people of color, and we seek trip leader candidates who identify similarly.


  • Participate in a one-day trip leader orientation workshop at UC Davis to become familiar with the curriculum content and overall structure of the GOALS immersive program, plus additional hours as needed for leader training
  • Participate in an overnight trip leader training 
  • Participate in a one-day youth scholar orientation with the other leader and the high school participants
  • Participate in final trip preparation
  • Work in a team of leaders to guide 10 high school students in Sequoia/Kings Canyon National Parks (itinerary and curriculum will be provided)
  • Lead lessons and activities to teach scientific, leadership, outdoor skills, and environmental stewardship content throughout the program (curriculum materials will be provided)
  • Lead students in citizen science data collection projects and assist students in developing small independent research projects
  • Foster a supportive, welcoming, and inclusive learning environment for students of diverse backgrounds and experiences who may be new to the outdoors
  • Respond to any emergency situations (including medical emergencies) or difficulties that may arise during the trip


Below are a list of qualifications that are required (all candidates must possess) and desired (‘bonus’ skills that are not required).

Required Qualifications:

  • Be at least 18 years old
  • Hold a valid US Driver’s license
  • Be physically able to carry a heavy pack (35-50 lbs.) and hike up to 7 miles at a time, with reasonable accommodation
  • Be passionate about STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) and the outdoors
  • Be able to motivate and lead a group of youth scholars through challenging yet rewarding new experiences

Desired Qualifications:

  • Be affiliated with UC Davis (undergraduate student, graduate student, post-doc, staff, faculty, and/or alumna)
  • Past or current experience/coursework in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) or STEM education
  • Have held a valid US Driver’s license for at least 1 year
  • Experience guiding, teaching, mentoring, and/or working with youth
  • Have at least one overnight backpacking experience*
  • Experience planning and executing a multi-day backpacking trip or other outdoor experience(s)*
  • CPR/First Aid, Wilderness First Aid (WFA), or Wilderness First Responder (WFR) certification


To the candidate who thinks they ‘aren’t experienced enough’ / ‘not outdoorsy enough’: to apply, keep in mind that outdoor experience might consist of:

  • Farmwork, gardening
  • Hunting, fishing, plant gathering, mushroom hunting, animal tracking
  • Hiking, orienteering, geocaching
  • Tree climbing, rock climbing
  • Camping, backpacking
  • Swimming, kayaking, rowing, sailing, diving, rafting
  • Skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing
  • Paintballing, ATV riding, dirt biking, horseback riding
  • Cycling, bike packing, touring
  • Running/trail running/cross country/dog walking

We state this to emphasize that the competencies we are looking for in a trip leader may be developed in a variety of contexts. It is more important that candidates possess key transferable skills rather than a strict background in ‘traditional’ outdoor skills.

Please email with any questions!

Sage & MK
2018 trip leaders: MK and Sage