Upcoming training dates for 2022: January 19 – 26, March 3-10, April 7-14, May 12-19

Field Mentor Job Description:

  • Field Mentors are the foundation of our program and a core part of each client’s experience. Mentors create a physically and emotionally safe environment for our clients in order for growth to occur. Mentors operate as direct-care mentors, building relationships with our clients while living alongside them in the outdoors for a week at a time. Clients often point to the relationships they built with their Mentors as the most powerful part of their process! We believe our mentors are part outdoor education professionals and part mental-health professionals. They care about the people around them and seek their own growth in tandem with the growth of those in their care. Successful Mentors are passionate about working with youth, have a desire to grow, and demonstrate resilience & flexibility.
  • Our mentors proactively manage risk, look after client health concerns, follow Elements policies and procedures, fill out client paperwork, create and follow-through on their own development goals, role-model program tools for clients, and bring their own passion and personality!
  • Mentors must be able to blend and occupy different roles in service of our clients. In one day, you may play a game, teach a lesson in LNT ethics, hike cross-country for 3 miles, maintain safety expectations, and be a stable, supportive confidant for a client in turmoil.
  • In a typical week, a group of clients and staff will have a mix of hiking and lay-over days. No matter the week’s schedule or day’s activities, we are using the lived experience of the group to practice new skills and develop more awareness. Mentors will generally have 1-3 client mentees that they work with more closely during a given week, providing direct coaching and assessment. Staff also lead segments of a day (e.g. a hike, preparing dinner and cleaning up, etc) and facilitate therapeutic groups. We are a nomadic program. This means that we are moving most days and seeking to embrace the challenge and joy of the wilderness. Groups do not return to any kind of Base Camp and have no access to cabins, electricity, running water, etc. We provide groups clean water, fresh fruits and veggies, and other basic necessities regularly. Nutrition, holistic wellness, and self-care are vital tools we emphasize with clients.
  • Field Mentors at Elements work an 8-days-on, 6-days-off schedule. The work week runs Tuesday-to-Tuesday, with two shifts alternating in the field. This schedule provides ample time to get to know the clients while working, and also provides plenty of time off to relax, explore, and connect with your friends and family. Elements operates 365 days a year. Field Mentors alternate working major holidays. Mentors accrue two paid shifts off per year and are encouraged to take time off to practice their own self-care.
  • Most mentors live in the Salt Lake City area when not working. SLC offers the advantage of a big city along with nearby outdoor attractions, such as renowned skiing in the winter and hiking/ biking trails in the summer. Some mentors also choose to live in Moab, Utah or Grand Junction, Colorado. All three cities offer ample trails, cliffs, and water-ways to explore! Staff can live wherever they want, as long as they arrive to work on Tuesday at 9am well rested and ready to go. We also provide a mentor bunkhouse, including a shower and small kitchen, that mentors may use at the beginning and end of each shift.

Visit our website to learn more about our program and to APPLY!

Our Team and Staff Culture

  • Elements is committed to fostering an inclusive environment for our employees and clients.  We believe our programs will continue to grow as we embed a culture of equity and belonging. Elements is an equal opportunity workplace. All applicants for employment will be considered without regard to race, color, religion, sex, age, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, national origin, disability, genetics, or veteran status. We hire people from a wide variety of backgrounds and aim to help them succeed in reaching their personal and professional goals. We strive for an environment where we actively promote curiosity and incorporate principles of diversity, equity, and inclusion with our employees and clients through education and honest dialogue. In doing so, we believe we can provide the most engaging and effective treatment program for our community.
  • We’re a small company that focuses on supporting and developing the people that work here. Many of our field mentors come to their training week having no significant outdoor experience. Every individual has a unique perspective to offer and can learn how to live outside in the wilderness. Our team is, first and foremost, filled with people who care and people who want to grow and aid in the growth of others. You don’t need to come with years of outdoor experience or years of experience working in a therapeutic setting. As a team, we pride ourselves in being able to teach the skills necessary to do the job. As a Field Mentor, your coworkers and management team are focused on building you up and providing you with the space to succeed in the work that we do.

Why Work at Elements?

  • Welcoming Community & Treatment Team – Elements is an intimate and owner-operated program. This allows us to maintain our primary focus on the clients. As a Mentor, you will work alongside founders and owners out in the field. Mentors work closely with therapists to help implement the treatment plan designed for each client, while maintaining the big picture for the whole group.
  • Social Emotional Skill Building – Our approach is focused on social-emotional skill-building and decision-making. We utilize Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) and The 7 Challenges model. Of note, we are not a 12-Step nor abstinence-based program. Instead, we challenge clients to identify what role certain choices/substances were playing in their lives and to explore new ways of operating instead.
  • Wilderness Centered – We seek to use the wilderness as an active piece of the therapeutic process, not just the setting in which we live. Living outside, hiking, making fire, and carving spoons, all present struggles. In those struggles, we look for and find opportunities for growth.
  • Adventure Programming Model (AP): AP is a unique way for clients to engage with the program and practice new skills in a concrete way. We have separate, certified staff who facilitate the technical aspects of adventure activities. That said, Mentors are supervising and participating the whole time as well. Our goal is that AP is built seamlessly into the flow of the week, both logistically and therapeutically.

Pay & Benefits:

  • We believe Field Mentors are professionals in this industry. Therefore, we provide on-going training and hold mentors to a high standard. We also provide one of the highest starting wages, and one of the most competitive overall packages in the industry.
  • Mentors work through a level system, each level focusing on developing skills relevant to certain areas of the work. Field Mentors will start with a focus on learning the role and are paid $165/ day for their first three shifts ($170/ day thereafter). After that, you will move through the levels at your own pace with our support and direction, working your way to Assistant Group Lead ($185/ day) and Group Lead ($215/day). Most mentors are able to achieve Lead status within ~ 1 year of employment. In addition, we offer bonus-based retention contracts starting at six months of employment to those employees in good standing that commit to, and fulfill, certain amounts of time.
  • Mentors are eligible for medical & dental insurance after 60 days of employment. Elements pays 75% of the monthly premium. We also pay for Wilderness First Responder certifications and recertifications as well as providing pro-deal discounts.
  • If you have significant previous experience in wilderness therapy, we are certainly interested in chatting with you about your professional goals and may recognize your previous experience on a case-by-case basis.


We encourage you to apply whether or not you meet every one of the qualifications described. We are most interested in finding the best candidates for the job and experience in therapeutic settings or the outdoors is not necessary. If you are unsure whether you meet the qualifications of this position, or how this would be determined, please contact our recruiter to discuss your application.

Tagged as: backpacking, climbing, mental health, outdoor, outdoor jobs, residential treatment, therapeutic, therapy, wilderness therapy

About Elements Wilderness Program

Elements specializes in treating young men, ages 13-17, who are struggling with emotional or behavioral issues such as low self-esteem, mood dysregulation, anger and defiance, and poor relationships with friends & family. Many of our clients have begun to experiment with or abuse drugs or alcohol as the result of peer pressure, or in an attempt to manage their own uncomfortable emotions. The young men we work with will have a wide range of challenges. They also have in common the intelligence and internal resources to engage productively in therapy, form new, prosocial ways of dealing with life challenges, and enter healthy, independent adulthood.

While with us, our clients (and their families) will be provided the opportunity to explore past choices and set a new course for their futures. In order to accomplish this goal, we’ve chosen to use wilderness therapy: embracing the outdoors, healthy role-modeling, adventure activities, and evidence-based therapeutic methods.]