VISIONS leaders are the backbone of our high-quality U.S. and international teen summer community service programs. We seek exceptional people who are hard-working, spirited team players. Leader teams are respectful of other cultures, have good judgment, and are positive role models. Typical teams include teachers, graduate students, returned Peace Corps Volunteers, outdoor educators, carpenters and adventurers.
A VISIONS leader is a team player first and foremost. We maintain a 1 to 4 or 5 leader-to-student ratio and place leaders in VISIONS program locations where their skills are the best fit while keeping in mind complementary leadership styles for a well-rounded team.
Most leaders are mid-20s to mid-30s, with a minimum age of 21 and no upper age limit. Some teams may include one junior leader who is a student alum or who holds advanced medical or construction credentials. Leaders must be First Aid and CPR certified before employment begins (but you may obtain certifications between your hiring and the beginning of the summer). More advanced medical certifications may bolster an application. VISIONS also hires carpenters for several of our sites and solid foreign language skills are required for our language immersion locations.
Feel free to contact firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.
Leading a VISIONS program is challenging and a lot of hard work but also exceptionally rewarding.
You and your team are responsible for facilitating a fun, engaging, impactful and safe experience for a group of diverse teenagers far from home. You are a role model, helping students process their experience and make it successful according to VISIONS core values. To do this, you must be culturally sensitive, flexible, patient, kind and hard-working.
As a VISIONS leader, you are the continuation of many years of programs in our locations. These communities look forward to VISIONS returning year after year. We need you to uphold our reputation and relationships with host communities and be a positive ambassador. You will need to treat community members with respect and regard for their cultural norms and follow certain parameters during the program, including a modest dress code.
Team Structure: Each program team has one director and a group of leaders for a total of 4 – 6. The director is in charge of the budget, group meetings and scheduling. The director has the final say, and the rest of the leaders operate on the same plane. There will be 15 to 25 kids on a program, and we maintain an average ratio of 1 leader to every 4 or 5 kids.
Honcho Roles: Each team has a med and food honcho, among other honcho roles that are established during leader training.
- The Med Honcho is responsible for serving as a health resource for participants. We rely on local clinics and hospitals for anything significant or in question.
- The Food Honcho role varies based on the program location but is generally responsible for planning meals and grocery lists, coordinating with our dinner cook and ensuring that everyone is well fed and satisfied with meals and healthy snacks.
Living Situation: You will live with the kids at our homebase. VISIONS lives in local neighborhoods within the community, not resorts or hotels, and we value the interaction and authentic experience that comes from this living situation. In Montana we live on ranches just outside of town.
Our lodging is not fancy. It’s comfortable but basic. Boys and girls are separated into different sleeping spaces and leaders sleep nearby—sometimes in an adjoining room and sometimes in the same space. There are bathrooms, showers, electricity and running water, although resources can be intermittent and showers are not guaranteed every day.
Driving: In some locations, you and the other leaders will be the primary drivers of the group. This requires skillful and careful driving. Driving is a primary safety concern, and leaders are expected to drive lawfully and prudently.
Language Requirement: If you are interested in working in a Spanish location, you must be proficient in the language and ready to speak it with the local people and with the kids.
Overview of the job from start to finish
On-Site Training: You will have 7-10 of training at your program location before the kids arrive. You will learn the blueprint of VISIONS programs, our values and how they play out during the summer, how to implement a safe experience, how to deal with conflicts and various scenarios, and how to become an effective leader team.
This is also time for site-specific training and program setup. Among other tasks, you will clean and arrange our homebase (set up bunk beds, kitchen, et cetera), finalize activities, check out the worksites, meet with local contacts, shop for food, memorize participant information, arrange a pickup and drop-off schedule and mesh with other team leaders. This is a jam-packed week of full days and evenings.
Program: You will work six days a week, with one day off per week. For those six work days, you will be constantly interacting with the kids, other leaders and community members. Most Mondays through Fridays will be at a worksite where you are expected to participate and model a strong work ethic. One day a week, you will stay back at homebase with your homebase crew (a group of participants), and you will clean the homebase and cook meals for the group. You will also participate in scheduled activities during the afternoons and weekends. Read more about typical daily life on a VISIONS program here.
Wrap-Up: At the end of the program, the leader team typically has three days for cleaning and packing up the homebase, completing evaluations of the program and all participants, composing a projects write-up, doing an inventory of supplies and updating program documents.
Benefits and Compensation: VISIONS is pleased to offer competitive compensations dependent on experience, skills, education and certifications. Leaders also receive travel stipends and reimbursements, all-inclusive employment (accomodations, meals, activities), and pro-deal access to outdoor brands. In addition, personal and professional skills learned are applicable to many different careers for years to come such as leadership, communication, resilience, a strong work ethic, relationship building, and feedback. Most importantly, leaders have the opportunity to be a teacher, mentor, and friend to students.
It is rewarding to see the impact that a VISIONS program has on the participants. Leaders are a crucial component of that positive experience. Days are jam-packed with teenagers at your side and the mornings, days and evenings are full, which means that stamina and energy are needed. Note that if you need a lot of “me” or downtime, or if you aren’t ready to put the group’s needs ahead of your own, this job probably isn’t for you. We consistently hear that this is the most rewarding job our leaders have ever had and many return for repeat summers. If you are ready to give of yourself and expand upon the skills and work ethic you already possess, then please complete the summer job application below or email email@example.com with any questions.
“I worked as both a leader and a Program Director for VISIONS, and it has changed my life. VISIONS is not like other summer experiential programs – it is evident that the home office has put in a lot of work and compassion to establishing connections with community members in their site locations. Some partners have had a relationship with VISIONS for over 30 years, and that is hard to come by nowadays in this industry. The projects are thoughtfully crafted in direct coordination with the communities in need, and there is no essence of ‘white saviorism,’ which is apparent in many other ‘voluntourism’ programs. The communities have full autonomy in the projects from conception to completion. The students that VISIONS enrolls are caring, well-meaning, and want to make a difference, and it is a fulfilling experience to mentor them on their experience in cultural immersion and coming to terms with their privilege.
If you are looking for a job where you can open your eyes to how other parts of the world live, while becoming a better leader and human being, I would highly recommend VISIONS as a summer job. Having finished my second summer with VISIONS, I feel like more than just an employee, but a part of the family. I have established incredible relationships both with the home office and with our community partners and friends in the DR.”
VISIONS is an equal opportunity employer. It is the policy of VISIONS not to discriminate against any employee or applicant for employment because of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identify, national origin, age, marital status, genetic information, disability or status as a protected veteran. The nondiscrimination policy applies to all employment actions and all aspects of VISIONS programs, including enrollment and financial aid, training and local and international partnerships.
- VISIONS hires carpenters for our program locations where traditional carpentry is done (Montana and British Virgin Islands).
- Wilderness First Responders and EMTs are sought for any programs where we do backcountry trips.
- Lifeguards are sought for programs where participants spend time at beaches.
Please read the job description and overview above for more information.
You may apply at any time. Our first interviews typically take place in January through video calls. We continue to accept applications and conduct interviews through the spring.
VISIONS in The New York Times