University of Alaska Southeast

Job Posting

Company: SEARHC
Location: Sitka, AK
Position: Wilderness Specialist I
Requirements: See job description

SEARHC was established in 1975 under the provisions of the Indian Self-Determination Act as a non-profit health consortium which serves the health interests of the residents of Southeast Alaska. The intent of this legislation was to have Indian Health Service programs and facilities turned over to tribal management. Our contracting with IHS began in 1976 when we took over management of the Community Health Aides Program. In 1982, we took over operation of the IHS Juneau clinic, now the Ethel Lund Medical Center, and took over operation of Sitka’s Mt. Edgecumbe Hospital in 1986. We are one of the oldest and largest Native-run health organizations in the nation.

Position Summary:

Provides adolescent counseling and treatment in a residential program with challenge wilderness components and maintains the safety of all students in the adolescent substance abuse program.  This position is located in the Raven's Way Program, Community Health Services.


  1. Organize and co-lead wilderness expeditions for youth in the Raven's Way Adolescent Treatment Program, maintaining safety as the number one priority.  Includes all aspects of organization from selecting safe equipment, to determining what supplies and food are needed, selecting safe routes and arranging transportation.  Teach outdoor skills including: safe travel, fire building, shelter construction, weather protection, cooking, kayaking, backpacking and various other outdoor and safety skills while maintaining a treatment focus.
  2. Participate in full scope of residential program component responsibilities.  Participates and facilitate daily residential program components, including supervising daily living tasks, assisting with treatment objectives, participating in recreational events, leading various treatment activities (step study, talking circles, life histories, challenge course activities, teaching alcohol and drug educational classes, ect), and sharing in therapeutic group processes.
  3. Carry out responsibilities of a staff primary including, attending treatment team meetings as required, attending weekly staff/student primary meetings, and being the primary advocate for the youth assigned.
  4. Complete daily progress notes and log daily student activities as outlined in the program policies and procedures.      
  5. Provide Native cultural awareness opportunities for students.
  6. Assume other duties and projects as assigned.

Position Complexities

This position requires an increased understanding of working with adolescents in a substance abuse treatment program including basic interventions that are effective in treating this disease. This position also requires increased crisis intervention skills, and effective communication skills for leading educational groups with the clients. This position needs a working knowledge of how to respond to client who is in crisis, in regards to their mental and medical status.

Prolonged, sustained and extreme physical and mental effort: multiple consecutive days of expedition hiking, camping, kayaking.  Activities include living in tents, rainy and cold weather and extended darkness, while maintaining positive therapeutic interaction with up to 12 clients who have history of substance abuse, behavior problems and co-occurring disorders.  While on expedition, staff will have contact with clients 24 hours per day. Expeditions have no facilities or equipment other than what is carried, by the clients/staff or cached along the route.

This position requires frequent work in remote 24 hour wilderness settings as well as work in the Residential treatment facility.  Because this is a substance abuse treatment program it is necessary for staff to model substance free behavior while on duty and at all times on remote locations; use or possession of alcohol, tobacco or any illegal drug is prohibited. The Staff Code of Ethics indicates staff agrees not to use illegal substances, and agree to use legal substances responsibly. This position is a covered position in accordance with the Indian Child Protection Act (ICPA)


  • Bachelor Degree preferred in Child and Youth Care, Social Services, or closely related degree, or equivalent experience. 


  • One year work experience with at-risk adolescents with at least 6 months demonstrated group leadership experience.
  • A minimum of 48 days with Raven’s Way expeditions or equivalent experience.
  • Emerging Behavioral Skills: Group Management, Communication Skills, Resource Management, Professionalism, Problem Solving skills.  Emerging written documentation/reporting communication skills.


  • Wilderness First Responder or Wilderness Emergency Medical Technician certification
  • State Drug & Alcohol Counselor Technician certification or ability to attain certification within one year of hire
  • Level I Ropes Course Certification or ability to obtain within one year.
  • Cold water kayaking certification or ability to obtain within one year. 
  • CPR
  • CPI  (obtain within 3 months of hire)
  • State Food Handlers permit  (obtain within 3 months of hire)
  • AK driver’s license preferred
  • Applicant needs to be 21 years or older

Other Information

At SEARHC, we see our employees as our strongest assets. It is our priority to further their development and our organization by aiding in their professional advancement. Working at SEARHC is more than a job, it’s a fulfilling career.

We offer generous benefits, including retirement, paid time off, paid parental leave, health, dental, and vision benefits, life insurance and long and short-term disability, and more.

Interested, apply at

Contact: SEARHC website
Contact at:
Closing Date: Open Until Filled