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So You Want to Work for Rustic Pathways? Here's What You Need to Know
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So You Want to Work for Rustic Pathways? Here's What You Need to Know

Ever thought about what it’d be like to lead teen travel programs? Or just get paid to travel? You’re in the right place!

Our Program Leaders are former Rustic students* taking a break from academic pursuits or transitioning to the professional world. They’re experienced teachers who want to continue working with students during rewarding summers outside of the classroom. They’re seasoned experiential educators who rejoin us year after year (our Program Leader retention rate in 2017 was 50 percent—our highest ever). Or they fall into another bucket, but are no less enthusiastic about travel and working with teens.

Regardless of their varied backgrounds, our team of passionate, qualified, and awesome Program Leaders have unique skill sets that position them to lead incredible programs for students and set them apart from their peers during what is a competitive and lengthy application process.

Don’t let that deter you! Instead, use the time to between now and the 2018 summer travel season to enhance your skills and prepare yourself for a job that will impact you as much or more than you’ll impact students. Here are six insider tips to get you and your application ready for next summer:

  1. Get Certified. A Wilderness First Responder certificate is required to lead many of our programs. We do a happy dance when we see this on a resume!
  2. Habla Español. Or Mandarin, or French, or Arabic. Pick one foreign language and stick with it. You need to know much more than “hello, how are you?” to run our programs.
  3. Walk the Walk. Commit to a service initiative or social justice cause. Volunteering your time, passion, and resources are the ultimate #sorustic moves.
  4. Live Abroad. The more time, the better! Look for culturally-immersive experiences in places off the beaten path.
  5. Do It For the Kids. Show us you understand high school students through volunteer or work experience. Having once been a teen doesn’t count.
  6. Go Outdoors. Lead freshman orientation trips or get involved in your school’s outdoors club. It’s never too early to start practicing the art of sunscreen and water bottle reminders!

This isn’t meant to be an exhaustive list, but help us start a conversation about what makes a fantastic Program Leader. If you’ve led Rustic programs in the past, or still do, leave your suggestions for the next generation of Rustic Program Leaders in the comments below.

*We love it when alumni join us as staff members. If you’ll be 22 or older by next summer, work on these skills so you’ll be prepared to apply for the 2018 season!


Learn more about the Rustic Pathways family and review current job opportunities

About the Author

Rachel Levin

Brand Engagement Manager

Rachel joined Rustic in 2013 and led programs for three summers in Costa Rica, Peru, and Ghana. She’s also led programs in Fiji and Tanzania. A graduate of the University of Vermont with degrees in sociology and Spanish, Rachel focuses her love for travel, writing, and her unquenchable curiosity of our natural world as Rustic’s Brand Engagement Manager. Based in Tahoe, CA, Rachel is a talented ceramicist and lover of the outdoors.