George Mason University’s Division of University Life is seeking an experienced, highly motivated, team-centered, and forward-thinking individual for the role of Assistant Director of Outdoor Adventures in Mason Recreation. George Mason University has a strong institutional commitment to the achievement of excellence and diversity among its faculty and staff, and strongly encourages candidates to apply who will enrich Mason’s academic and culturally inclusive environment.
About the Department:
Mason Recreation is a dynamic organization that includes a strong team consisting of 24 full-time professionals and over 400 student staff members. We support multiple programs including The EDGE: Team Development and Experiential Learning challenge course located on Mason’s Sci Tech Campus, Outdoor Adventures, Fitness, Intramural Sports, Club Sports, Aquatics, and Well-Being. Our Fairfax campus facilities include the Recreation and Athletic Complex (RAC) (125,000 square feet), the Aquatics and Fitness Center (AFC) (91,000 square feet), Skyline Fitness Center (11,000 square feet), four Fields (natural grass and turf), Tennis Courts, and nature trails.
About the Position:
Reporting to the Associate Director of Programs, Well-Being, and Assessment, the Assistant Director of Outdoor Adventures is responsible for the administration and oversight of a comprehensive program of outdoor activity for the university community. This position has prominent instructional responsibilities for outdoor recreation day and overnight trips, workshops, events, and trainings for both participants and student/wage trip leaders. The Assistant Director must possess hard skills involving technical expertise in various outdoor activities such as rock climbing, kayaking, backpacking, hiking, biking, whitewater, caving, camping, and canoeing as well as knowledge related to clothing & equipment, basic backcountry travel, safety & risk management, and wilderness emergency procedures and treatment. This individual will also teach and train student/wage trip leaders and staff in “soft skills” such as leadership, communication, environmental ethics & stewardship, expedition behavior & group dynamics, trip planning, decision-making & problem solving, and teaching techniques, processing, and transferring. This “instructor trainer” role is vital in developing students and appropriately preparing them for the responsibility of leading participants in activities which often occur in outdoor environments that are sometimes in remote locations.
Develop and implement an approved staffing plan for outdoor adventure program staff;
Recruit, select, train, supervise, and evaluate approximately 15-20 student employees in accordance with Department and University guidelines;
Assemble and disseminate a comprehensive body of information to employed staff to ensure effective team functioning, employee development and achievement of performance standards;
Provide leadership, mentoring, training, and direction to the Outdoor Adventure staff;
Develop and deliver staff trainings in outdoor and indoor environments that facilitate experiential education related to topics such as safety practices, group facilitation, emergency management, communication and team building as well as technical skills in outdoor activities such as rock climbing, hiking, backpacking, canoeing, caving, packrafting, biking, paddleboard, and sea kayaking;
Facilitate the development of a comprehensive career development plan for the Graduate Professional Assistant for Outdoor Adventures & The EDGE;
Oversee the Graduate Professional Assistant for Outdoor Adventures & The EDGE; and
Oversee the following part time wage staff:
Outdoor Adventures Program Assistants;
Assistant Trip Leaders;
Trip Leaders; and
Senior Trip Leaders.
Provide support to the Graduate Professional Assistant for Outdoor Adventures and The EDGE in the supervision of their respective assigned areas of responsibility;
Create and maintain program schedules;
Develop program marketing, policies and procedures related to all Outdoor Adventures programming;
Establish criteria for creating new programs, workshops, and events, in keeping with student, faculty, staff and community interests and current trends;
Maintain a wide variety of program choices to meet the needs of a diverse University community;
Collaborate with other campus groups to enhance the educational and outdoor activity opportunities for the George Mason University community;
Work closely with student organizations and faculty to enhance campus educational and leadership opportunities and collaborate on campus-wide events;
Develop and implement customer service policies, systems, and training programs that provide for pleasant, timely, and knowledgeable service;
Maintain equipment through the scheduling of routine maintenance and ensuring all safety measures are in place;
Maintain Outdoor Adventures equipment inventory and replacement parts; and
Develop and implement policies, systems, and training programs for proper use of equipment.
Serve as the primary instructor and evaluator for the progression of staff skill development;
Serve as a backup trip leader particularly for programs requiring specific certifications and skills not held by wage staff;
Serve as the main contact for all trip-related emergencies, on-site emergencies or other urgent logistical issues;
Manage equipment rental for trips and outside rental groups;
Arrange vehicle reservations, including pick up and drop off arrangements, if needed;
Oversight of the use of the van fleet for Outdoor Adventures, as needed;
Ensure all staff are in compliance with all required University training; and
Collaborate with The EDGE to lead specific adventure trips for university and community groups as needed.
Recruit, select, train, and supervise Project Peak and Sneak Peak trip leaders;
Design Project Peak and Sneak Peak curriculum and/or training materials and conduct training;
Oversee Project Peak and Sneak Peak program logistics (including reservation of campsites, determination of outfitters, outfit trips, etc.);
Assist with marketing for summer programming during admissions previews, orientation, etc.; and
Explore, develop and implement other summer programming to generate revenue.
Administration and Planning
Design, plan logistics and coordinate operations for outdoor adventure programs and trips. This includes:
Conduct site visits prior to the actual trip. Finalize all trip plans and arrangements for rental vehicles, buses, and other transportation;
Plan all menus for trips. Purchase food for trips, as needed;
Develop trip itineraries; and
Coordinate all travel authorizations and reimbursements for trip staff and participants.
Manage the outdoor gear rental program:
Research, bid, and purchase all equipment;
Oversee departmental inventory of all outdoor rental gear; and
Implement processes and procedures to provide basic equipment repair, replacement, and maintenance.
Implement and maintain computer/information system and database for trip registration and gear rental;
Create and lead outdoor skill clinics on and off campus;
Respond to questions and concerns from student, faculty and staff via phone, email, and social media;
Implement best practices and industry trends;
Perform program evaluation. Help develop and participate in the administration of assessment including surveys used to obtain feedback on all trips and outdoor adventure programs;
Develop and evaluate short and long-term planning strategies and policies related to program development; and
Compose, compile, and present reports quarterly and an annual report summarizing the accomplishments and challenges in Outdoor Adventures.
Display on-site assessment skills to preserve the safety of programming participants in an outdoor environment;
Responsible for the lead role in risk management of the Outdoor Adventure related staff, programs, and equipment;
Comply with all Mason risk management standards and policies as well as industry best practices;
Serve as a representative on Mason Recreation’s Risk Management Committee;
Ensure all certifications remain current and in compliance with instructor/trainer requirements;
Review and revise Acknowledgement of Risk Forms as needed; and
Review and revise policies as recommended by Mason’s Legal and Risk Management Departments.
Prepare and monitor the annual Outdoor Adventures budgets for all Recreation Department trips, rentals, workshops, programs, events, and staffing. This includes 3–5 year projections for equipment replacement. Annual budgets should be developed in alignment with the departmental, University Life, and University Strategic Plan;
Coordinate the purchase of equipment; review specifications, prepare requisitions and confirm accuracy of invoices; serve as liaison to vendors and contractors;
Maintain Purchase Card records and perform monthly reconciliation;
Provide monthly reports to ensure adequate controls and efficient use of financial resources; and
Prepare and analyze daily reports, participation statistics, payroll, inventory, and all financial transactions maintaining accountability.
Continue to develop professionally through membership and participation in applicable professional organizations and developmental workshops;
Actively participate in the educational process of George Mason University students, faculty, and staff through their interaction with programs and services;
Serve on Campus Committees pertinent to Outdoor Adventures, Experiential Learning, and Well-Being;
Provide students and staff with opportunities for professional development through various organizations, workshops, clinics, and associated activities;
Represent Mason Recreation on divisional and University-wide committees; and
Develop relationships and collaborate with other offices on campus, such as the Office of Housing and Residence Life, Admissions, Graduate Student Life, Sport, Recreation & Tourism Management, and New Student & Family Programs, etc.
Departmental Support/Other Duties
Commitment to making an active and meaningful contribution to the university’s well-being initiative;
Support and take an active role in Mason Recreation departmental special events;
Participate in the collection and analysis of quantitative and qualitative data to support departmental improvement; and
Perform other duties as requested.
For Full Consideration, Apply by: December 7, 2022
Master’s Degree in Recreation, Leisure Studies, Physical Education, Sport Management, Experiential Education, Environmental Education or a related field; or equivalent combination of education and experience;
Significant technical experience (able to train student leaders/instructors) in at least three of the following: backpacking, hiking, rock climbing, canoeing, group/ropes course facilitation, summer camp program management, and sea kayaking;
Demonstrated experience working with an outdoor adventure or experiential learning program;
Experience as a trip leader and logistics coordinator;
Knowledge and experience in maintaining outdoor recreation equipment;
American Red Cross AED, CPR and First Aid certification (or ability to obtain within six months of hire date); and
Wilderness First Responder (WFR), Leave No Trace, American Mountain Guides Association (AMGA) Certification (or ability to obtain within six months of hire date).
Experience in scheduling staff and coordinating gear rental;
Experience in packrafting;
Swift Water Rescue Certification;
American Red Cross AED, CPR and First Aid instructor certification;
Level I or II Challenge Course Practitioner Certification – ACCT;
Demonstrated part-time or full-time experience in the areas mentioned above (typically 2+ years); and
College or university recreation department experience.
George Mason University is the largest public research university in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Here at Mason, we are setting the benchmark for a bold, progressive education that serves the needs of our students and communities. With a student population of over 38,000, representing more than 130 countries, our campus is an organically diverse environment! George Mason University has a strong institutional commitment to the achievement of excellence and diversity among its faculty and staff, and strongly encourages candidates to apply who will enrich Mason’s academic and culturally inclusive environment.
Mason Recreation oversees three facilities on the Fairfax campus of George Mason University including the Recreation Athletic Complex (RAC), the Aquatic Fitness Center (AFC), and Skyline Fitness Center. These facilities boast four gymnasiums, racquetball/squash courts, several locker rooms, fitness galleries and dedicated rooms for yoga, cycling, group exercise, and marital arts/self-defense classes. We house and maintain a recreation and competition pool, sauna, whirlpool, and several exterior facilities including a pavilion, turf and grass fields, jogging/walking trails, ...and a team challenge course on our Science and Technology Campus. We provide the following programs and services for the campus community: Fitness, Aquatics, Outdoor Adventures, Intramural Sports, Club Sports, the EDGE (team building programming), as well as a Summer Youth Camp.