Working at Kokopelli Rafting Adventures

We are Talent Scouting for our 2021 Whitewater Rafting Season!

 The Kokopelli Rafting team is gearing up for another exciting summer on the water and we are on the hunt for team members who fit in with our mature, fun, service-oriented and professional company culture.

Are you a natural giver? Are you inspired by a commitment to excellent customer service and paying it forward to your clients and co-workers when the opportunity arises? 

Are you willing to become your personal best – a safety-conscious leader on and off the river, an entertainer, an educator, a mentor, and a life-long student of the outdoors, – all while having fun in the outdoors of Northern New Mexico? 

Do you get warm fuzzies at the thought of elevating your team mates through advanced training in communications, integrity, problem solving, and accountability? 

We send clients home with lifetime memories by showing them the time of their lives using our trained skills of safety, ultimate customer service, and finely tuned technical confidence.

If “Expect the Best and Get It!” resonates with you, then check out our open positions below and submit your resume and cover letter for consideration.

Current Openings!

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Raft Guide - without prior experience (10 openings)

Job Ad – Raft Guide-In Training
Fulltime
Seasonal Opportunity (April – September)
Potential for additional off-season work

We are looking for clean cut, polished, and professional Raft Guides-In Training with leadership skills to add to our dynamic and busy team at New Mexico’s Best Rafting Outfitter – Kokopelli Rafting Adventures.

We are not the typical rafting company, nor are we looking for the typical river guide. We know there are several options out there for the young-at-heart river dreamer excited to become a rafting professional, and each has different expectations for performance, standards of training, and company cultures — which is why our screening and interview process is designed to attract the best of the best and ensure the right fit, both ways.

Our rigorous training program begins 4/30/2021 and includes:

  • International Rafting Federation and American Canoe Association raft guide standards for top technical skills including boat-handling technique, river safety and rescue, thorough understanding of river dynamics, energy, currents and hazards, in-depth understanding of equipment and usage. 
  • Building teamwork and leadership skills that will last a lifetime.

Please note all hired guides must have current First Aid and CPR prior to their first day of guiding; this is not included in the 8-day Professional Guide School training. 

In-house teamwork training for:

  • Polished skills in leadership.
  • Critical thinking.
  • Best teamwork practices.
  • Emotional intelligence.
  • Effective communication.
  • Professionalism standards.
  • Behavior accountability.
  • Local history.
  • Geology, flora and fauna. 
  • Soft skills that may make you more educational, entertaining and marketable as a professional river guide.

Ongoing optional training for those wishing to continually exceed their own personal best such as Swiftwater Rescue, Wilderness First Aid, Whitewater Kayaking, and instructor-level certification will be offered to select team members wishing to continually exceed their own personal best. 

Our onboarding and selection process involves:

  1. Screening, group interview, testing, and a one-to-one interview. 
  2. Accepting those candidates for Guide School with the potential to excel in our complete training program.
  3. Training candidates in Guide School at cost to participants, with no guarantee of employment. Our recruiting process filters out under-performers. The best of the best are admitted to our eight-day Professional River Guide School with the goal of meeting our staffing needs. Top performing Guide School graduates are candidates for employment consideration, however, participation in Guide School does not guarantee employment.
  4. Top performing Guide School graduates that have displayed the markers for success in our complete program and alignment with Kokopelli’s standards and values will be considered for probationary employment pending successful completion of a “Check-out run” with commercial passengers and a senior guide on-board.  
  5. Understanding of true leadership. The most basic leadership starts with the customers in your raft on Day 1. For the right candidates, we will continue to invest in your personal leadership development throughout your tenure at Kokopelli Rafting Adventures through Trip Leader training, Advanced River Guide training, ongoing continuing education, Team Building training and facilitation, and much more.  

We have no room for glory hogs, egomaniacs, or negative competition. We train heavily for leadership skills because our customers expect the best of us personally and professionally, and because of our philosophy that each individual will support and hold the whole team accountable –  but most importantly, each of us must be able to communicate areas for improvement with tact, sensitivity, and caring for the welfare of the client, the team and the company.

Successful leaders will advance with the company while earning notably higher wages and gratuities, and participating in coaching and mentoring of Junior guides so they, too, can be successful throughout their tenure at Kokopelli Rafting Adventures. 

Please review this list of true leader qualities to see if it leaves you feeling warm and fuzzy, or with feelings of resistance. 

True leaders:

  • Put the needs of their team and its end goal before themselves. 
  • Check their egos at the door and focus on cooperatively getting the job done. 
  • Want their team to shine and look good. 
  • Position their teammates for success. 
  • Are accountable for their own actions, for better or for worse.
  • Never throw their teammates under the bus.
  • Compliment their counterparts, not compete with each other.
  • Understand that climbing the ladder serves oneself, whereas holding the ladder and building the ladder serves the team. 
  • Feel pride when they have accomplished all this and send clients away with positive lifetime memories.
  • Understand that we are allowed to make earnest mistakes because it is our opportunity for growth and discovery.
  • Understand that with behavior standards of honesty, trust and coaching, each of us can make own our mistakes and sprout to the next level of our potential.
  1. Onboarding the working probationary period of 30-days in which your training and testing will be used to further evaluate your position and potential within the team, as well as solidifying whether you are the right fit for Kokopelli for the long term..
  2. Your teamwork training will groom you with deep life skills that we think you will use for years to come. This involves reading, writing, testing, and a feedback system to help you improve. You must be an active participant in all aspects of the program and complete markers successfully, by indicated (generous) deadlines to make the team.
  3. Graduation to official team member status for those who have excelled in the probationary period.

Your Career at Kokopelli Rafting Adventures

When we onboard team members we expect their first year to be a learning process and a chance for both of us to get to know one another. We also make decisions, give feedback, and shape our relationship based on our desire to have you work with us year-after-year, growing to your full potential. 

We offer continuing training opportunities, bonding group activities with great food, and supreme discounts on equipment and trips for you and your family and friends.

Because of the communications and accountability portions of our training program we are able to offer some flexibility in scheduling when it is requested in the correct format. We are kind and generous, but do not tolerate tardiness, no-shows, slackers, or other unprofessional displays of immaturity. These are grounds for immediate dismissal.  Your coworkers and customers expect the best from you each day. 

We are quickly growing and our ultimate goal is to be able to offer our most team-oriented employees more earning opportunities during the off-season as well as other perks.

Job Perks and Compensation

Rates for our raft guides are:

$55 for half-day trips.

$105 for full-day trips.

Happy customer tips.

$12 starting rate for as-needed additional hourly work. Potential to earn at a higher rate for added hours is dependent on displayed skills. Guides must not rely on hourly work as the ebb and flow of this is unpredictable and considered extra.

RV hosting near the Embudo River in Rinconada. Our boathouse is stationed a mile from a couple put-in spots on the river and is on a quiet, peaceful acreage. We have the potential to host you in your own RV with hookups. You would be sharing the beautiful surroundings with your team mates.

Free equipment use after hours. Love to raft and kayak? You could have a great summer in your off-hours paddling with our equipment in an incredible environment. All equipment requires check-out.

Discounted trips for friends and family. We offer 30 percent off of one commercially professionally guided trip per year for each of our staff members during approved times. Many of our employees use this discount for family reunions and other large get-togethers.

For non-guided, non-commercial trips, we offer the use of company equipment for the low rate of $10 per person, if you want to take your own group out solo. We offer this to those skilled enough to safely do so during approved times.

Company parties with camaraderie, delicious vittles, and fun activities.

We would love to be able to offer a health benefits package in the future but are not able to do at this time. We also want to see the same team come back every year and hope if you join our team that you will be with us when we evolve to that point.

If you think we are a match, please follow the form below to apply.  You will be asked to fill out some basic information, write a short cover letter, and upload your resume, if you have one.

Reservationist (2 openings)

Job Ad – Reservationist
Seasonal Opportunity (April – September) 
Potential for additional off-season work

We are looking to add service and sales-minded, cheerful Reservationists to our dynamic and busy rafting business. 

Our ideal candidate is skilled in:

Great listening skills. We understand our customers and create safe and exciting adventures for them by listening carefully to their specific needs, wants, and other details.

Foresight. After training you’d use those listening skills to spot clues to capture additional sales, avoid costly mistakes, and offer up even more than our clients are looking for.

Sincerity, charm, and a sunny disposition. If you have a great phone voice and truly love serving others, it will come through. We want someone who is playful, yet professional, and enjoys coming to work each day knowing they will be helping our clients make lasting memories on the river with us.

Ease with learning new computer programs. Our reservations system works in tandem with several other programs so if you are experienced using layered systems, your training will be easier.

Accountability. You have no problem owning your job, trying your best, and seeking out help or additional tools to excel. You can be trusted to work independently and lead by example to ensure your team will do the same.

Excellent record keeping and communication skills. We want a reservationist who can take on and follow-through each transaction until the clients are ready to hit the river. Our standards for the customer service and the client experience involve several steps to completion.

Possible interest in expanding your position. We may be expanding the reservationist role to include other essential front office, sales & marketing, and operations tasks for the right individual.

Speed and multi-tasking. If you can handle several calls and transactions occurring at once and not lose your place, you have the kind of mind we need!

Responsibilities:

Booking clients on adventure trips over the phone and processing orders via computer.

Tracking process of each trip to make sure no detail has fallen through the cracks.

Understanding our reservations system.

Communicating important information to company owner and department managers.

Following up on client leads.

Selling additional fun services to clients.

Scheduling employees for their daily shifts.

Job Perks and Compensation

The starting rate for this position for a candidate with all the listed skills is $15 for the duration of a 30-day probation period, after which your rate has the potential to go up to $18 depending on your probation review. If candidate does not have the experience and skills listed we may still consider you if the potential to grow into the position and the starting rate for that candidate would be $13 with a 30-day review for a potential raise.

Free equipment use after hours.  Love to raft and kayak? You could have a great summer in your off-hours paddling with our equipment in an incredible environment.  All equipment requires check-out.

Discounted trips for friends and family. We offer 30 percent off of one commercially, professionally guided trip per year for each of our staff members during approved times. Many of our employees use this discount for family reunions and other large get-togethers.

For non-guided, non-commercial trips, we offer the use of company equipment for the low rate of $10 per person, if you want to take your own group out solo. We offer this to those skilled enough to safely do so during approved times.

Company parties with camaraderie, delicious vittles, and fun activities.

We would love to be able to offer a health benefits package in the future but are not able to do so at this time. We also want to see the same team come back every year and hope if you join our team that you will be with us when we evolve to that point.

If you think we are a match, please complete the form below to apply. You will be asked to fill out some basic information, write a short cover letter, and upload your resume, if you have one.

Boathouse Manager (1 opening)

Job Ad – Boathouse Manager
Fulltime (~30 hours / week)
Seasonal Opportunity (April – September) 
Potential for additional off-season work

We are looking to add a multi-talented, mechanically minded Boathouse Manager to our dynamic and busy rafting business. 

Our ideal candidate is skilled in:

Basic automotive repair (basic, not advanced).

Basic carpentry, construction, and mechanical projects.

Effective leadership. You understand how to motivate and hold team members accountable. You would be working directly with our Trip Leaders and other managers to account for the record keeping of this position.

Accountability. You have no problem owning your job, trying your best, and seeking out help or additional tools to excel. You can be trusted to work independently and lead by example to ensure your team will do the same. 

Excellent record keeping. We want a manager who details inventory, repairs, systems, maintenance, and employee communications. We want someone who is comfortable recording what they are doing for our development as a company, employee growth, and trackable expenses. You would be the final set of eyes on the supervisory tasks of our Trip Leader.

Disciplined. You have great habits and are comfortable with routine procedures and follow-through, as well as being able to think creatively and switch gears accordingly if needed.

Responsibilities:

Minor repairs and maintenance of our vans, trailers, rafting equipment, and property.  Our equipment is heavily used and well loved.  Your responsibility will be to show them the TLC they deserve to keep them in top shape, repair whenever possible, and replace when needed.  Scheduling and tracking major vehicle repairs with outside mechanics or contractors on the above.

We want to make sure everything gets done every day. We have a great team and you would make sure nothing falls through the cracks by using checklists, great communication skills, and a constructive employee feedback system.

Property improvement. If you like to design and tinker and think creatively, you might appreciate that we are always trying to improve our boathouse grounds. There is always something to work on and figure out.

Job Perks and Compensation

The starting rate for this position for a candidate with all the listed skills is $18 for the duration of a 30-day probation period, after which your rate has the potential to go up to $20 depending on your probation review. If candidate does not have the experience and skills listed we may still consider you if the potential to grow into the position – and the starting rate for that candidate would be $14 with a 30-day review for a potential raise.

RV hosting near the Embudo River in Rinconada. Our boathouse is stationed a mile from a couple put-in spots on the river and is on a quiet, peaceful acreage. We have the potential to host you in your own RV with hookups. Several of our raft guides also stay on the property and this is why while enjoying the beautiful surroundings, the Boathouse Manager being on the property is a great fit for teamwork.

Free equipment use after hours.  Love to raft and kayak?  You could have a great summer in your off-hours paddling with our equipment in an incredible environment.  All equipment requires check-out.

Discounted trips for friends and family.  We offer 30 percent off of one commercially, professionally guided trip per year for each of our staff members during approved times.  Many of our employees use this discount for family reunions and other large get-togethers.

For non-guided, non-commercial trips, we offer the use of company equipment for the low rate of $10 per person, if you want to take your own group out solo. We offer this to those skilled enough to safely do so during approved times.

Company parties with camaraderie, delicious vittles, and fun activities.

We would love to be able to offer a health benefits package in the future but are not able to do so at this time. We also want to see the same team come back every year and hope if you join our team that you will be with us when we evolve to that point.

If you think we are a match, please complete the form below to apply. You will be asked to fill out some basic information, write a short cover letter, and upload your resume, if you have one.

8-Day Comprehensive Professional Whitewater River Guide School

Dates: 2021 Guide School has already passed. Check back for 2022 dates!

Cost: $650 (Scholarships up to 50% are available to Qualified Applicants)

Cost includes: All river equipment, 60+ hours of professional instruction, lunch on some days (as it applies to packing and serving our custom meal plan, and more than 15+ awesomely fun trips on the most amazing sections of the Rio Grande and Rio Chama. To wrap up Guide School, you get to invite 4 good friends or family members to go Rafting on one of our commercial trips, as a test run on the Racecourse at no cost, with you as their guide! This is arguably the most fun you can have in New Mexico in 8 days.  Not to mention newfound confidence and leadership skills that will last a lifetime!

Does not include: First Aid & CPR training. 

Participation in Guide School does not guarantee employment. The top performers of each class will be invited to join Kokopelli Rafting Adventures upon completion of a Checkout Run for the upcoming white water rafting season.

What is GUIDE SCHOOL?

Guide school is an audition for employment, and also the first segment of training for our river guides, but is not a guarantee of employment.  Participants in Guide School are scouted for qualities of leadership and teamwork, technical ability, teach-ability, understanding of and commitment to “service”, and integrity. Participants with these attributes who successfully pass their check out run are invited to join our team.

Please view the Raft Guide career position above to understand our detailed onboarding steps.

Acceptance into guide school is at personal cost to the applicant.

We Are Proud to Train our Team to the standards of the International Rafting Federation and the American Canoe Association! 

Our raft guide training standards meet or exceed the national standards for top technical skills including boat-handling technique, river safety and rescue, thorough understanding of river dynamics, energy, currents and river hazards, in-depth understanding of equipment and usage, and team building and leadership skills that will last a lifetime.

We are well aware of shorter and less expensive guide schools in the region.  In our experience, it takes a good 40 hours to be a good student of anything worth doing, and an additional 40 hours to become competent, as one would expect from a Professional River Guide.  And that is just the beginning of your leadership journey with Kokopelli.  At Kokopelli Rafting Adventures, we do things the right way — not the fast way, the easy way, or the cheap way.

 

Guide School is rigorous training! We will challenge you appropriate each day, throughout the 8 days.  Flipping, swimming, and recovering will be introduced early on and refined daily; practice makes perfect.  Like most athletic endeavors, technique is more important than physique and or brute strength; this simply cannot be mastered in a 3-day course, in addition to the hard- and soft-skills to become a Professional River Guide.  While intimidating at first, the confidence gained will last a lifetime and the team-building experience with your classmates will make this a summer you’ll never forget!

To fully experience whitewater rivers and rapids, the tranquility and the excitement, the serenity or the feeling of being truly being alive, one cannot be anything but sober!

Kelly Gossett

Owner, Kokopelli Rafting Adventures

Kokopelli Rafting Adventures has been creating Unforgettable Rafting Experiences in New Mexico and Colorado since 1991! We are located in Santa Fe, New Mexico and offer whitewater rafting trips on both the Rio Grande and Rio Chama, covering more than 200 miles of class II – V whitewater in New Mexico. Most of our whitewater rafting trips take place on the Rio Grande, one hour north of Santa Fe. Training encompasses the fundamental skills of reading whitewater, precise boat maneuvering, rescues and recoveries, as well as raft rigging, passenger safety, guest / guide etiquette, knot tying, signals, safety techniques, and the finer points of creating safe, enjoyable river trips. The goal of the guide school is to develop the skills necessary to safely guide a paddle raft on Class III Whitewater.

After guide training, select guides who are interested in employment will have the opportunity to gain more experience and confidence by riding along on commercial trips with Kokopelli Rafting’s experienced guides.

Before joining our team, candidates must obtain current certification with official documentation in Basic First Aid and CPR as well as own BLM-required safety equipment: Type III PFD (personal flotation device), whitewater approved helmet, sturdy shoes appropriate for whitewater rafting, a medium-sized dry-box to transport and secure customer belongings, river knife, whistle, and throw rope.  Successful Guide School candidates will receive “pro deals” on rafting and related outdoor equipment as one of the many perks. 

Contact us using the form below to begin an exciting new journey with Kokopelli Rafting Adventures!

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  • Rafting is a seasonal business, as such, most positions will be seasonal in nature until we develop other year-around opportunities.
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