New Hire Training

New Hire Training

Welcome to the Wildland Trekking team!

Below you will find information and details related to your upcoming training with us including expectations, a general training schedule, what to prepare beforehand, a general packing list, etc.

You will receive more specific information from your Program Manager about 3 weeks before your training (i.e. address,branch area specifics, etc).

A NOTE FOR DAY HIKE GUIDES: If you were hired to guide exclusively day hikes for Wildland Trekking, you will attend Day 1 and Day 2 of the In-Person Training with our multi-day guides OR a custom training. Please see details for Day Hike Guides outlined at the bottom of this page.

Training Overview and Expectations

The Wildland Trekking new hire training is designed to give a new guide a comprehensive look into not only the art of guiding, but the policies, procedures and expectations of what it means to be a guide for Wildland.

You will receive instruction from senior staff members as well as demonstrate your own skills! Throughout the training process, you will be assessed by these senior staff trainers and operations staff on various soft and hard skill sets, interpretative skills and professionalism.

The new hire training is a pass-fail course. We expect and hope all newly hired guides will pass, but it is important to note that if standards are not being met with regard to professionalism, soft skills and hard skills (as described below), trainee guides may not pass onto the shadow training process and therefore not continue employment with Wildland Trekking. You will receive feedback from the trainers during the training to monitor your progress and have opportunities to improve.

Evaluated Skills

Beginning on Day 1 (in town) and throughout the Field-based Training, you will be assessed and evaluated on the skills below. Once you have completed this initial training, you will move on to the Shadow Process where you will shadow a senior guide on a trip with actual Wildland guests. The guide on your shadow trip will also evaluate your performance and skills.

These skills are essential to making a great Wildland Trekking guide and employee, and will help you excel in this profession as a whole:

  • Interpersonal skills: how well you interact with fellow team members as well as guests
  • Providing quality customer service
  • Willingness for continued education and adherence to all procedures and policies
  • A high level of professionalism, including dress and appearance
  • Interpretative knowledge of the operating area(s) you will be working in
  • Camping, hiking and backcountry skills for safe and enjoyable front country and backcountry travel in the field
  • Clear communication skills with co-workers and guests
  • Punctuality
  • Team player who is willing to go above and beyond
  • Positive attitude
  • Excellent risk assessment and critical thinking abilities

 

PHASE 1

SELF STUDY AND INTERPRETATIVE TALK

Self- Study Materials

Prior to arriving at your in-person field based training, you will be emailed approximately 3-4 weeks out from your training the link to self study materials, which is accessible on our company staff blog. You will be required to watch a series of videos and associated reading materials prior to arriving to your in-person field based training. You will have a total of 6 paid hours to complete these materials in a self-directed manner.
Included within this is the completion of a Self- Assessment Quiz. This must also be completed prior to your in-person training. The Self-Assessment Quiz is an open book quiz and answers will be reviewed on the first day of your training.

In addition to the Self Study Materials described above, you should prepare a 10-15 minute interpretative talk that you will present at the field-based training starting on Day 2.

Interpretation Talk Presentations

All new hire guides must lead a 10 – 15 minute interpretive talk on any subject related to the Program Area you will be guiding in. The talk can be on any of the following subjects of your choice. Make it fun and informative. Imagine presenting this information to your future guests on a hiking tour in this area and that is the format in which you will present it.

  • Archeology
  • Wildlife
  • Geology
  • Human History
  • Flora and Fauna
  • National Park Information and History
  • Significant Historical Figures
  • Any other applicable topic you may be passionate about that relates to the area.
  • Guides can hold their interpretative talk at any appropriate time starting Day 2.

PHASE 2

In-town Training Day 1

The guide training course will include an In-town day and Field-based days. Below is the general itinerary and items you will need to prepare for each portion of this training. A email from your Program Manager will be sent to you prior to training with specific details on where to arrive and further details on how to prepare.

In-Town Training- Day 1

This day will include a full day’s training at your branch’s warehouse.

General Agenda of Topics for this day:

  • Introductions
  • Review and expectations for the training
  • Finalize new hire paperwork needed (I-9 forms)
  • WTC policies and procedures
  • Self Study Q & A review
  • Local Operating Permits
  • Pay Structure
  • Facility orientation
  • Gear and food preparation for field-based training
  • *Lesson Plans assigned
  • Driving Module and Road Test- must be completed by all new hires

*Lesson Plans

During the In-Town, Day 1 training, you will be assigned to a Lesson Plan that you will teach to the group at some point during the field-based training starting on Day 2. You will coordinate with your trainer guides on the timing and location of your lesson. You are encouraged to teach your lesson in your own way and use instruction techniques to teach the subject to your group members. You will have 15-30 minutes to demonstrate and teach your lesson plan to the group. Outlines for your lesson plan and WTC standards will be provided.

What to Bring for Day 1- In-Town Training:

  • Writing utensil
  • Notepad or laptop/tablet
  • Water bottle
  • Coffee travel mug
  • Snacks
  • Dress for weather (bring plenty of layers as we will be both inside and outside during the day)
  • Lunch (Lunch is not provided on Day 1 of your training, but all meals will be provided from Day 2 on)

PHASE 3

Field- based Training DayS 2+

The group will head into the field for training in the backcountry. We will first, except for North Carolina, start off at a front country campground to model a WTC front country setup before transitioning into 2 nights in the backcountry.
During this time, you will experience many lessons taught by your trainer staff and you will also be expected to model and be evaluated on lessons involving cooking, hiking etiquette, camp management, professionalism, LNT practices, risk management, water purification, pack fitting, proper pack packing, stove operation (MSR stoves and a Coleman 2 burner), tarp/shelter setup, trekking pole use, navigation and interpretative knowledge.

Each day of the field-based training, we will be hiking and camping along a program area’s trip route. You will be expected to come prepared ready to hike for a majority of each day.

To prepare, below is a packing list of items you should come to this portion of the training prepared with. You will have access to WTC-provided gear as noted below and are encouraged to use WTC gear as to familiarize yourself with the gear our guests will be using on trips; however, this is not required and you can bring all of your own gear:

Wildland Gear for Use During Training

  • Multi-day backpack (range of sizes up to 80-90 liters) & rain cover
  • Sleeping bag (look to the current weather for recommended temperature rating)
  • Sleeping pad
  • Tent
  • Trekking poles

Personal Gear List: (check the weather in your area to pack accordingly)

  • Hiking Boots/Shoes
  • Secondary Footwear – lightweight/packable footwear for camp and possible creek crossings
  • Hiking Socks – one pair for every two days. Hiking specific padded socks, no cotton
  • Sun Hat – wide brimmed hat or baseball cap/bandana combo
  • Hiking Shirts – 1-2 non-cotton, breathable shirts or sun hoody
  • Warm Top – mid-weight sweater or pullover of wicking material such as merino wool, fleece or polypropylene
  • Hiking Pants & Shorts – nylon pants and shorts, zip-offs or leggings
  • Rain Gear – waterproof jacket and pants, breathable fabric such as Gore-Tex® or coated nylon. In the pants look for side zippers that will allow you to pull them over your boots.
  • Warm Hat & Gloves – lightweight beanie and light-to-mid weight fleece or wool gloves
  • Mid Layer Insulating Jacket – down-fill or synthetic-fill insulated “puffy” jacket, or warm fleece jacket
  • Base Layer/Long Underwear – 1 pair of a wicking top and bottom that are lightweight to midweight, synthetic wicking materials such as polyester, polypropylene, or merino wool
  • Hydration System – 3+ liters capacity, either water bottles only or bladder/hose system and 1 water bottle
  • Headlamp – preferably with an L.E.D. bulb and 1 set of spare batteries
  • Sunglasses, Sunscreen, Lip Balm
  • Head net: if in bug season
  • 1-2 Bandanas
  • Contact Lenses, or Glasses and reading glasses, if necessary
  • Prescription Medications – please inform your trainer guides of any medications you are taking
  • Toiletries – small amounts, or travel sizes and/or just what you need for the training. Tooth brush, paste and possibly floss can suffice
  • Small notebook for note taking and time keeping

Meals

With the exception of the first In-town training day, all meals will be provided from Day 2 until lunch on the final day of the training. You will need to provide your own food for the In-town training day. During the field-based training, each trainee will be responsible to prepare a meal or two for the entire group at camp or on the trail. You will be assigned a meal from your trainer guides and, in some cases, a cooking buddy. We will collect your food allergies or preferences prior to your training and accommodations for dietary needs will be made. All trail snacks can be selected based on your preference during the In-town training at the warehouse.

Training Closure

At the return and cessation of the field-based training, you will receive your training evaluation from your trainer guides that will indicate your completion of the training and your readiness to continue to the shadow training process. In your debrief with your trainer guide and/or program manager, you will learn if you have passed or failed this training process and will have an opportunity to review how well you did and if there are areas for improvement. You will receive feedback throughout the training as well and we encourage trainees to ask questions or ask for feedback at any point during the training to their trainer guides.

PHASE 4

Shadow Trip Process

All guides are required to shadow at least one trip for a trip type that they will lead.
You will be evaluated by a senior staff member on the many areas of a trip including:

  • Trip preparation
  • Orientation
  • Pre-hike trailhead briefings and safety
  • Driving
  • On trail management
  • Campsite management
  • Health and risk management
  • Meals
  • WTC knowledge and operating area knowledge, including adherence to CUAs
  • Post-trip duties (time sheets, debriefs, deissue)
  • Once successful completion of the guide training and applicable shadow trip(s), you will lead your own WTC trips!

*Important note regarding gratuity on your Shadow Trip: New guides are required to shadow a senior guide on at least one trip. Trainee guides are not eligible for guest gratuities on their shadow trip(s).

DAY HIKE GUIDES

Below please find the elements of this guide training that will apply to you in order to properly prepare for your phases of training:

PHASE 1

SELF STUDY AND INTERPRETATIVE TALK

Self- Study Materials

Prior to arriving at your in-person field based training, you will be emailed approximately 3-4 weeks out from your training the link to self study materials, which is accessible on our company staff blog. You will be required to watch a series of videos and associated reading materials prior to arriving to your in-person field based training. You will have a total of 6 paid hours to complete these materials in a self-directed manner.
Included within this is the completion of a Self- Assessment Quiz. This must also be completed prior to your in-person training. The Self-Assessment Quiz is a open book quiz and answers will be reviewed on the first day of your training.

In addition to the Self Study Materials described above, you should prepare a 10-15 minute interpretative talk that you will present at the field-based training on Day 2.

Interpretation Talk Presentations

All new hire guides must lead a 10 – 15 minute interpretive talk on any subject related to the Program Area you will be guiding in. The talk can be on any of the following subjects of your choice. Make it fun and informative. Imagine presenting this information to your future guests on a hiking tour in this area and that is the format in which you will present it.

  • Archeology
  • Wildlife
  • Geology
  • Human History
  • Flora and Fauna
  • National Park Information and History
  • Significant Historical Figures
  • Any other applicable topic you may be passionate about that relates to the area.
  • Guides can hold their interpretative talk at any appropriate time starting Day 2.

PHASE 2

In-town Training Day 1

The guide training course will include an In-town day and proceeding Field-based day. Below is the general itinerary and items you will need to prepare for each portion of this training. A specific agenda for your program area’s specific details will be emailed to you prior to training.

In-Town Training- Day 1

This day will include a full day’s training at your branch’s warehouse.

General Agenda of Topics for this day:

  • Introductions
  • Review and expectations for the training
  • Finalize new hire paperwork needed (I-9 forms)
  • WTC policies and procedures
  • Self Study Q & A review
  • Local Operating Permits
  • Pay Structure
  • Facility orientation
  • Gear and food preparation for field-based training
  • Driving Module and Road Test- completed by all new hires

What to Bring for Day 1- In-Town Training:

  • Writing utensil
  • Notepad or laptop/tablet
  • Water bottle
  • Coffee travel mug
  • Snacks
  • Dress for weather (bring plenty of layers as we will be both inside and outside during the day)
  • Lunch (Lunch is not provided on Day 1 of your training, but all meals will be provided on Day 2)

PHASE 3

Field- based Training Day (Day 2)

The group will head into the field for training in the backcountry. Day Hike guides will attend Day 2 of this field-based training component. Day 2 will focus on elements of leading front country tours as well as a night at a front country campground to model a WTC front country setup before the rest of the group transitions into 2 nights in the backcountry.

During Day 2,  you will experience lessons taught by your trainer staff and you will also be expected to model and be evaluated on your prepared interpretative talk and on your hiking etiquette, professionalism, LNT practices, risk management, pack fitting, trekking pole use, navigation and interpretative knowledge.

Day 2 will include driving to our hiking destination, a day hike and lessons. Day Hike guides will return to the warehouse at the cessation of the day hike. Travel to and from this destination will be in a company vehicle.

To prepare, below is a packing list of items you should come to this portion of the training prepared with. You will have access to WTC-provided gear as noted below and are encouraged to use WTC gear as to familiarize yourself with the gear our guests will be using on trips; however, this is not required and you can bring all of your own gear:

Wildland Gear for Use During Training

  • Day hike backpack (range of sizes up to 35 liters) & rain cover
  • Trekking poles

Personal Gear List (check the weather in your area to pack accordingly)

    • Hiking Boots/Shoes
    • Hiking Socks – one pair for every two days. Hiking specific padded socks, no cotton
    • Sun Hat – wide brimmed hat or baseball cap/bandana combo
    • Hiking Shirt- breathable, non-cotton shirt or sun hoody
    • Warm Top – mid-weight sweater or pullover of wicking material such as merino wool, fleece or polypropylene
    • Hiking Pants and/or Shorts – nylon pants and shorts, zip-offs or leggings
    • Rain Gear – waterproof jacket and pants, breathable fabric such as Gore-Tex® or coated nylon. In the pants look for side zippers that will allow you to pull them over your boots.
    • Warm Hat & Gloves – lightweight beanie and light-to-mid weight fleece or wool gloves
    • Mid Layer Insulating Jacket – down-fill or synthetic-fill insulated “puffy” jacket, or warm fleece jacket
    • Hydration System – 3+ liters capacity, either water bottles only or bladder/hose system and 1 water bottle
    • Sunglasses, Sunscreen, Lip Balm
    • Contact Lenses, or Glasses and reading glasses, if necessary
    • Prescription Medications – please inform your trainer guides of any medications you are taking
    • Small notebook for note taking and time keeping

 

Meals

With the exception of the first In-town training day, all meals will be provided on Day 2. Day hike guides will have breakfast and lunch with the group.  You will need to provide your own food for the In-town training day. During the field-based training on Day 2, you  will be responsible to prepare breakfast or lunch for the entire group on the trail. You will be assigned a meal from your trainer guides and, in some cases, a meal buddy. We will collect your food allergies or preferences prior to your training and accommodations for dietary needs will be made. All trail snacks can be selected based on your preference during the In-town training at the warehouse.

Training Closure

At the return and cessation of Day 2, you will ready yourself to join your shadow day hike with a senior staff member. The trainer guides from your training will pass along any written feedback on your performance during Day 1 & 2 of the training to your shadow guides and your program’s manager.

Shadow Trip Process

All guides are required to shadow at least one trip for each trip type that they will lead (e.g. shadow one backpack trip to lead backpacking trips, day hike to lead day hikes, etc…).
You will be evaluated by a senior staff member on the many responsibilities of a guided day hike including:

  • Trip preparation
  • Trailhead orientation & pre-hike trailhead briefings and safety
  • Driving
  • On trail management
  • Health and risk management
  • Meals
  • WTC knowledge and operating area knowledge, including adherence to CUAs
  • Post-trip duties (time sheets, debriefs, deissue)
  • Once successful completion of the guide training and applicable shadow trip(s), you will lead your own WTC trips!

*Important note regarding gratuity on your Shadow Trip: New guides are required to shadow a senior guide on at least one trip. Trainee guides are not eligible for guest gratuities on their shadow trip(s).