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Emerging Leaders Program



WTA is committed to creating systemic change by increasing entry points to the outdoor industry for communities that have had inequitable access to the outdoors, including Black, Indigenous and people of color (BIPOC) individuals. In its second year, WTA’s Emerging Leaders Program continues to recruit a diverse cohort of individuals who want to form an inclusive community and build leadership skills to support future career interests in natural-resource stewardship and outdoor recreation. 


WTA hopes that by investing in paid development opportunities for future leaders in the outdoor industry, those leaders can build upon professional and personal aspirations while contributing to an outdoor community where people of all identities feel included and valued. Cohort members who successfully complete the program will be given advanced consideration for open seasonal and permanent positions at WTA that align with their skills and interests for up to two years.

Over the course of the 12-week program, cohort members will gain hands-on experience in the following ways:




Trail Maintenance Technical & Leadership Skills 

  • Complete trail work projects while practicing inclusive and team leadership skills at work sites across the Puget Sound region
  • Projects consist of both single-day, frontcountry events in the Puget Sound region and multi-day trips where cohort will embark on overnight camping trips together
  • Practice and increase knowledge in importance of safety in trail maintenance events, such as risk management and proper usage of tools and equipment
  • Develop group management skills on the job through rotating leadership assignments


Professional Development


  • Wilderness First Aid and CPR certification
  • Outdoor leadership skills development (snowshoeing and backpacking)
  • Resume development and career exploration within the outdoor industry or nonprofit sector
  • Cross-collaboration with other WTA departments (advocacy, communications, development and community outreach) 
  • Continuous engagement to a variety of career paths in the outdoor industry
  • Networking and engaging with community organizations and land manager agency partners


How to join the Emerging Leaders Program

This paid 12-week program is designed for early professionals who want to build upon their leadership skills and grow a career in the outdoor industry. Currently we have completed the hiring process for the 2022 season. Check back again this summer for program updates and details on how to apply for the 2023 season.

Stories From the Field


The inaugural Emerging Leaders Program crew pose with their tools and hard hats in front of the Puget Sound. Photo by Britt Lê.Building Space for Everyone on Trail

WTA's inaugural Emerging Leaders cohort (formerly the Leadership & Inclusion crew) found the power of on being together in community.




Crew members stand at a worksite in King County with printed trail plans in hand. Photo by Britt Lê. Creating Access to Green Space

In Glendale Forest, the cohort worked on trail layout and design to bring a new green space into the North Highline neighborhood in south Puget Sound.