Volunteer Roles

"Don't think for a minute that FD only benefits participants, as every day I reflect on being a volunteer, my experiences volunteering at FD bring my life into greater focus."

First Descents will provide meals and lodging accommodations for all volunteers.
Volunteers are responsible for their own transport to and from the program location.

General Support

The General Support position is a wonderful one, so look forward to a week that will forever change your life! General Support volunteers attend First Descents programs to assist the staff and participants in anyway possible. They are the people working in the background to ensure that things run smoothly for everyone at the program. The majority of program responsibilities take place in the kitchen – assisting the chefs with grocery shopping, food prep, cooking and kitchen cleanup.

You will be part of a team: 2 FD Lead Staff Members, 1 Chef, 1 Sous Chef, 2-3 General Support, 1 Volunteer Photographer, and 1 Medical Volunteer.

A Sampling of General Support Duties:

  • + Dishes, dishes, and you guessed it, more dishes! Remember how much clean up is required after Thanksgiving dinner? That's every night at an FD program.
  • + Check in with Lead Staff to see if there will be any participant birthdays throughout the week
  • + Set out a “lunch bar” around breakfast time for participants to prepare their own sack lunch for the day
  • + Set out a “Happy Hour” spread of light appetizers for when participants return from the day’s activities
  • + Stock vehicles with appropriate items for the day: coolers with ice and plenty of water and drinks, healthy snacks, sunscreen, instant hand sanitizer or hand wipes, bug spray, Kleenex, etc.
  • + Maintain bathrooms: wipe down countertops with an antibacterial agent, replenish soap, hand towels and toilet paper and remove trash as needed
  • + Help run shuttles to and from the airport and the river/rock/ocean

*As a volunteer, your number one priority should be the participants, and to remember that it is their time to have the experience of a lifetime! Going kayaking, climbing, or surfing can be one of the perks, and lead staff will make an effort to get you out there, but your focus should be on providing the best possible experience for the participants at the program.


Volunteer Photographers

First Descents Volunteer Photographers are tasked with capturing the magic of the program in photos and video. Photographers must bring their own photography equipment and be proficient in the adventure sport of their program (kayaking, climbing, surfing). They are welcome to bring their own gear (kayak, climbing harness, surfboard, etc.) and are encouraged to participate as long as their focus remains on capturing and supporting the FD experience.

Equipment: Photographers will need to have their own cameras (waterproof cameras and video cameras or waterproof housings are a plus, but not required.) Photographers should plan on bringing a laptop that is compatible with all equipment to edit photos, and create a slideshow to be shown on the final night. Be sure to bring an HDMI cable, blank DVD, or a similar device in order to project the slideshow on the lodge’s TV.

Footage: Shoot away! Your main goal for the week is to capture each special moment on film – including both kayaking, surfing, or climbing footage AND “down time” at the program – throughout the week. The most important photos will be of each individual participant and at least one group shot throughout the week, however, don’t forget to capture the unique epic-osity of each location as well!

Slide show: Each photographer will be responsible for producing a slideshow of images to be shown after the closing ceremony the final night of the program. Some photographers also create a final video clip. Get creative!

Images: Photographers will be shared on a First Descents dropbox folder, which will allow them to upload the week’s images in HIGH RESOLUTION in the following 2 labeled folders: (1) Individual: two individual shots of each participant – one action, one relaxed close-up, labeled in a folder with their nickname (2) Top 200: the Top 200 photos from the week. We request that we receive no more than 200 photos from the week, as it is too much for our team to have to sort through.