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Summer Adventure Guide for Youth in Residential Treatment

Are you ready for the TOUGHEST and most FULFILLING job you’ve ever imagined!

Guide small groups of youth in residential treatment and other youth in state custody through an exhilarating 10-week summer adventure camp program. 

Living in tents in the woods, cooking over a fire, you’ll use activities like ropes courses, team challenges, climbing, kayaking, aquatic adventures, land navigation, and many other adventures in intentional ways to grow our young people’s confidence, relationships, and purpose, as well helping them heal from the past and grow hope for the future. 

Who we are: The Meramec Adventure Learning Ranch is the therapeutic wilderness and adventure arm of Great Circle. Using the transformative power of the wilderness and adventure, the Ranch is dedicated to serving individuals and families whom much of the world has given up on, including youth struggling with traumatic pasts, youth in residential treatment, youth on the Autism Spectrum, and Wounded Warriors. In just a few years, the ranch has grown to be one of the most extensive adventure bases in the Midwest and recognized on a national level. Located on 1,200 acres in Steelville, the Ranch annually serves over 8,000 participants during year-round programming.

What you get to do: The ranch is a unique program; the only one of its kind in Missouri and one of the few therapeutic adventure programs left in the country that serve youth in the state system. Summer Guides facilitate the 10-week therapeutic summer adventure program with youth in residential treatment, Siblings separated in the Foster care system, and youth on the Autism Spectrum. Youth are between the ages of 6-18, have experienced histories of severe trauma and abuse, and are working through significant emotional and behavioral challenges. Each guide is assigned a group of 10 kids and 2 cottage staff and leads them through the week’s adventures. During these trips, adventure activities such as ropes courses, team challenges, climbing, lake and aquatic adventure activities, and the outdoors itself is used as a catalyst to build relationships and produce victories that grow efficacy, connection, purpose, and hope.

Adventure experiences are not an escape from the daily grind. They are reality where, in an “off-balance” environment, the true self always eventually surfaces and must be faced, concrete victories are earned, natural consequences are plentiful, roles and gifts are discovered, and positive relationships are built. Evidence bears out that these experiences become defining moments for young men and young women growing to become the people they were created to be.
You can be a part of this critical program and play a vital role in the life stories of the incredible individuals we are honored to stand alongside each day!

What is life like as a Guide?
  • Camp on-site with the full-time camp staff during Adventure Camp.
  • Lead groups through daily activities of team courses, challenge courses, lake adventures, climbing, biking, and much more.
  • Facilitate group processing and individual growth throughout each activity, all the while maintaining safety and trust.
  • Lead your group in daily camp routine and living, evening activities and special events.
  • Take every opportunity to tell others about the Ranch, our mission, and about the young men and women we serve.
  • Become an engaged an active part of the Ranch Family as well as the local community.

When is Camp?
May 22-June 5—Camp Preparation/Training
June 8-July 2—Camp Sessions 1-4
July 3- July 7—Break
July 8- Aug 6—Camp Sessions 5-8 


  • Kids who are extremely challenging to build relationships and trust with, and whom—many times—will act out in extreme ways to find out if you really are who you say you are.
  • Long times in the woods with mud, bugs, snakes, ridiculously long hours, and no showers!
  • We count on you to leave a lasting impact! Our team has created what the Ranch is today and our team will create what it becomes tomorrow.
  • Your success will not be based on the greatness of your techniques or strength of your skills, but on the quality and character of person you are and are becoming.

  • All those “challenges” just mentioned!
  • Never have two days that are the same.
  • Free stickers for your Nalgene Bottle.
  • You can bring your hammock to work…though we won’t guarantee that you’ll spend much time in it.
  • Looking up a night sky from your sleeping bag and saying to yourself, “This is where I belong!”
  • Standing alongside people who have seen incredible adversity, hurt, and pain, and be a part of their stories as they grow to change the world!
  • Stand beside people who have seen incredible adversity, hurt, and pain, and be a part of their stories as they grow to change the world!    

Experience Needed:
  • A Calling/Passion to be HERE!
  • GRIT
  • Disciplined Work Ethic
  • Honesty
  • Willingness to have fun and act silly
  • Creativity and Ideas
  • Self-Awareness
  • Wisdom and Discernment
  • Willingness to learn
  • Humility
  • Unconditional Care, Unwavering Belief, and Consistent Accountability for yourself, the Ranch Family, and those we serve
  • It’s also helpful if you have experience in Adventure activities and Residential Care or in a related field.

Do I get paid for these positions?
Yes! Salaries are based on position and experience, but range from $400-$450 per week. Meals and shelter are provided at the camp, and housing is provided for time off if you desire to remain in the area (with air-conditioning and showers!).

Practicums and internships are welcome.


For more information:

To Apply:

Please contact Brett Bailey at:
If you are passionate about being part of what is happening at the Meramec Adventure Ranch, send your resume to

We would be honored to introduce you to some amazing young men and women!