Look at Outward Bound, and any of the bazillion outdoor guiding places. There's a lot more of this going on than you'd think.
Things you'll need to do - look at the classes offered by NOLS. You can easily spend thousands and thousands of dollars on outdoor certifications. Upwards of 15-20k, easy. Any time you take someone into the national parks there are additional fees - you need to get set up with them, permitting can cost you. Same with any other jurisdiction including national forests.
If you start your own business doing this sort of thing, and intend to provide transport as well, expect to front 50-100,000 bucks the first year - insurance for driving a van full of customers to a trailhead runs upwards of $15,000 annually, not counting the cost of the van, fuel, and your commercial driver's license.
If you do more than hike and backpack - like mountaineering, climbing, fishing, expert photographer, etc - you will be more marketable.
Yes, I've looked at this myself. Yes, it's not what I'm pursuing, because frankly, it would cost more than I would be making... And, I organize outings for people in my hiking group all the time. Frankly, there's no predicting what people will decide to do at any time and the experiences I've had make me leery of doing anything in the wilderness with a commercial/nonprofit.
Edited by aimless (07/10/1103:40 PM) Edit Reason: moderator removed brief reference to deleted post
"In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities. In the expert's mind there are few." Shunryu Suzuki
A hobby does not make a profession. You need to get hired by an official outdoor school and get some outdoor experience to put on your resume or marketing (if you go out on your own). Your teaching experience does count A LOT! A lot of hot shot outdoorsmen think they can teach and they really cannot. The guiding business is very difficult to get into and carries a lot of liability. Your current teaching credentials will get you a lot farther in outdoor education, specifically that for youth or troubled youth. Unfortunately most of these jobs have horrible pay, few benifits, and target mainly young people who have no family obligations. Also, is your family ready to have you away from home most of the time?
I think you have the ideal job right now! You just do not like the organization you are working for. What about just getting a teaching job, in a private school?
Edited by aimless (07/10/1103:39 PM) Edit Reason: moderator removed brief reference to deleted post
In keeping with the private school theme, perhaps consider a military school. I'm sure the cadets must get some outdoors training.
My limited experience with teaching (briefly taught high school) and other teachers suggests that private schools will probably pay less and have fewer benefits than public schools. Already public school teachers are hardly overpaid.
Loc: Maine/New Jersey
It is quite competitive. I have a few friends who graduated college with a bachelors in Outdoor Recreation and Management degrees. Some do have jobs, one is a raft guide on the Penobscot River, one used to work for Acadia National Park teaching children about the outdoors and ecology, but now works at kids camps doing various outdoor activities including canoeing, kayaking, and hiking. There are a few others who have regular jobs that do not pertain to their degree at all. But I believe some of that may have something to do with the recession, and also not knowing where they want to live and bunker down for a while.
I would definitely suggestion some sort of degree to give you the edge over non-degree searchers.
"To me, hammocking is relaxing, laying, swaying. A steady slow morphine drip without the risk of renal failure." - Dale Gribbel
I have no idea about this, but I do have some food for thought.
The school system in Washington State is totally different than the one in Tennessee. Although I didn't go to school in Tn, I did go to school in the Seattle area, along with a bunch of other states. Every state has a different system. My point here is you might like teaching public school in Washington. Something to think about.
I've taken a vow of poverty. To annoy me, send money.
Sorry I can't help you but I did just want to say it is great that you want to work with kids in the great outdoors. Kids nowadays are just stuck in the house watching tv, playing video games... we need to get them out there interacting with nature!! The best of luck!
I am a retired environmental consultant, with an MS in forestry from the U of WA. Seattle is a great choice in the center of "ecotopia." People there have a highly developed sense of the outdoors and natural resources in general. Plus it is a large urban population that provides opportunity.
You are on the right track. You will need CPR, first aid, even EMT training. People skills are really important. Outdoor experiences push people and can make them uncomfortable and therefore stressed. Any new skills will help ie. canoes, rafts, pack horses, dog sledding, x-c skiing, mountaineering, etc.