SHP Bicycle Adventures  
Apply to be a Leader

Please check out the information below and download a leadership application form. You may also contact us by phone, fax, email, etc.

Maybe the most important part of an SHP trip is our leaders. We take great pride and thought in choosing and training our staff, especially our leadership team. It cannot be overstated that our leaders can make or break a trip. Our leaders first and foremost must be good role models, men and women the trippers will want to emulate and respect. Every leader must have an extraordinary amount of energy and enthusiasm and maintain a genuine love of life and be able to absorb and impart the many splendors that life offers. This energy and the ability to connect with kids and people in all walks of life is what an SHP leader must possess. Leaders are on duty twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. They have to be friendly, thoughtful, adventurous, smart, have a great sense of humor, and be good teachers.

If you think we ask a lot of our leaders, you are right! The opportunities for growth and maturity go both ways. Our leaders, more than our trippers, know what a great opportunity it is to be on an SHP trip, experience the things that they do on a daily basis, and get paid for it. A leadership position is highly competitive and we are always looking for great leaders. In addition to recruiting at colleges across the country, we are always looking for gifted classroom teachers.

SHP trips have up to three leaders (usually two) - a senior leader and one or two assistant leaders. The average age of our senior leaders is about 25 (minimum age is 21). Senior leaders are typically teachers, graduate students, and college seniors. Assistant leaders are usually college sophomores and juniors. Many are former SHP trip participants.

The nuts and bolts of an SHP trip require the leaders to be well organized, be able to communicate effectively with both parents and trippers, to have great decision making skills (which means thinking on their feet), to juggle many different activities at once, and to know that it can be physically demanding as well. They must possess the stamina to do all these things with a cheerful and indomitable spirit.

The SHP trip structure provides a unique opportunity for teenagers to share the marvelous benefits of an intense group experience based upon responsibility, cooperation, and sharing. The main element in realizing the potential of a trip is outstanding leadership, and we therefore choose leaders who are the types of people who have the strength, maturity, sense of responsibility, and experiences to be the guiding figures for their groups. They provide strong direction, firm structure (based on SHP policies) and a sensitive personality around which a cohesive group can form. Our leaders are firm in matters of safety, respect for others, and the SHP rule structure but they also have the warmth, the humor, and the enthusiasm to provide a rewarding group experience.

SENIOR LEADERS

Senior Leaders must be at least age 21. Each senior leadership applicant goes through a lengthy application process and a personal interview with a director. Phone interviews are not acceptable. Leaders selected after this screening must complete our 5-day training courses in Massachusetts before being assigned a trip. We do not assign a first year leader to trips based solely on his or her application form. The senior leader's personality is the most critical element in making a trip work. Trippers should find the leader fun to be with, yet respond well when he or she enforces safety rules or discipline. Therefore, at SHP we wait until after we have been with the first year leaders for 5 days during the training course before we assign them to trips. After being with them for 5 days, we find that we can make much better judgements about which age groups and types of trips would best suit each leader. In addition, leaders receive further training for their particular trip during the preparation and orientation period in the 4 days immediately following the training course. Leaders also return to SHP for 3 days after their trips end for trip evaluation and organizational work.

ASSISTANT LEADERS

Assistant leaders must be at least age 18 and have finished a year of college. Many SHP assistant leaders are drawn from within the program as former trippers. All assistant leaders go through the same application process, training, and time commitment as senior leaders. The assistant leader positions (as well as the resident summer jobs at SHP headquarters) present an excellent opportunity for former SHP trippers to develop leadership skills and job responsibility. In fact, a tripper who receives a recommendation from his/her leader can look forward to many years of involvement with SHP, culminating in senior leadership.

TIME COMMITMENT AND DATES

The minimum leadership time commitment is forty-five days.

All senior leaders and assistant leaders arrive at SHP on Monday evening, June 18th at 5:00 PM to begin training. The leaders sign a 46 day contract from June 18 to August 2, 2012. Some leaders will be asked to stay over for an August trip.

You may lead one 3, 4, 5 or 6 week trip, two short trips, or one long and one short trip.

BEGINNING
Immediately after the training course, leaders spend 4 full days in preparation for their particular trip. At that time you will get your trip briefing, phone your trippers, help repair bikes for other trips, practice any bike repair that you feel shaky about, check out your group's tents and equipment, go through the kids' applications, medical reports, etc., and just generally get things under control before the kids arrive. In addition, you may be required to help with other jobs not specific to your trip (driving a van to pick up kids or other leaders, going for supplies, checking equipment, etc.).

ENDING
We also require that each leader spend 3 full days in Conway, MA after his or her trip ends. On the last day of the trip as listed in the brochure, you'll remain at the airport to make sure that all of your kids board their flights for home. Later that day you'll return to Conway, MA by bus and/or SHP van. These arrangements are part of your trip, are made in advance, and are already paid for. Back in Conway, you'll talk with us about the trip, fill in forms about various things, sort and label and clean all your group equipment, as well as help with organizational chores such as driving, tent and bike repair, etc.

WORK AVAILABLE BEFORE AND AFTER YOUR TRIP
Before, during, and after the summer we occasionally need people to do office work and special projects. If you're interested in extra work, let us know. Room and board will be provided.

FIRST AID AND WATER SAFETY TRAINING

We require that all leaders have at least a current Standard Red Cross first aid course certificate. We can't, in good conscience, send a leader out on the road with ten kids without basic first aid training. More advanced first aid training is, of course, that much better (Advanced, Instructor, CPR, EMT). First aid training is inexpensive and invaluable even if you don't go on to lead. So please don't wait to see if you'll be accepted as a leader. Get into a course now. They're often filled up by late spring. Contact your local Red Cross unit, fire department, rescue squad, hospital, etc. Some large corporations give courses for their employees that you might be able to get into. If all else fails, call SHP.

We prefer leaders to have some form of water safety training. There are many places to swim along our routes, but if the leaders do not have Lifeguard or Water Safety training, their options are limited. These courses are more expensive and time-consuming than First Aid, but certification is good for 3 years in most cases.

We would like all leaders to have completed the Red Cross Wilderness and Remote First Aid Course.

SALARY & EXPENSES

All of your expenses while on your trip (food, transportation, overnights, etc.) will be covered by SHP. You'll only have to pay for personal expenses such as toothpaste, souvenirs, etc.

The salary for a new SHP senior leader is $1575.00 for 45 days, with more if the leader works more than 45 days. The salary for a new assistant leader $1200 for a 45 day period. You can be issued a salary advance based on the area of travel for your trip, and the remainder of your salary will be paid when you return to Conway for the 3 days after the trip.

INTERVIEWS

Interviews are held in Langhorne, Pennsylvania, and at other locations in the Northeast from late fall through mid-May.Please call SHP at 800 343-6132 or 215 757-2427 to schedule an interview.

A personal interview is an absolute requirement for all leadership positions. When we assign a leader to a trip, we're giving him or her the lives of ten kids, A leader is totally responsible for the safety and happiness of these kids. Therefore, it would be irresponsible for us to promise a trip to someone we've never met. If time is getting close and you're certain that you want to have an interview, you may call us immediately to arrange for an appointment. Please note, however, that we do not do interviews by telephone.

Our interviews aren't formal, but they are in-depth and philosophical. We're looking to get to the core of who you are. Come ready to be challenged. We want to talk and see if we're mutually compatible and can work together, and whether or not we feel that your personality will be right for the types of kids and the age groups that we have in our program.

TRAINING COURSE

SENIOR AND ASSISTANT LEADERS:
A seven-day training course will be held at our headquarters in Conway, MA from June 18 to June 26. Every leader must take this course, including returning leaders. The course will include cycling and camping, and sessions covering bike repair, SHP policies, groups, kids, finances, and problems that may occur on a trip.

First year leaders are eligible for most of our trips. However, please keep in mind that returning leaders get first priority in their preferences. We know that part of the attraction of these trips is traveling in exciting, far-away places. But you should know that it will be the people you're with (not the scenery) who will make the trip fun, rewarding and memorable. A group of kids with good leadership can have an absolutely superb time on even the most local trip just as a group of kids with poor leadership can have a thoroughly miserable trip in the most beautiful and exciting place in the world. Also, it is possible to spend many additional years leading for SHP (the record is 29 years - held by Dennis Bouchard, SUPERLEADER.

WHAT IS INVOLVED

Leading an SHP trip can be a unique opportunity for a rewarding and wonderful experience. The small groups that become so close-knit, the physical exercise, the beauty of the countryside, the excitement of new places, and the emotional ties and joys that you'll develop with the kids - it's an unbeatable combination

For those of you who work with this age group in classroom or normal summer camp situations, an SHP trip can provide a unique and different way to be with kids. Their veneers, role-playing, and classroom images are quickly stripped away by the rigors of cycling all day and camping out every night. The kids quickly learn that they must rely and depend upon each other for everything - food, shelter, entertainment, laughter, warmth, emotional sustenance, good spirits, settling disagreements, compromising. The kids won't let each other get away with playing coy, tough, or delicate, when there are fires to be built, dishes to be done, tents to pitch-and it's beginning to rain!

You'll find that priorities are different here than in a classroom. Quiet kids who are almost unnoticed in the classroom turn out to be dependable and resourceful in this situation. The loud clowns who are often so annoying in the classroom become valuable spirit-lifters. Many kids discover new talents and push themselves to new limits, either physically or socially, while on SHP trips.

However, putting ten kids together for several weeks doesn't naturally work out well. The key, of course, is the leader's personality; vitality, love for kids, strength, etc. We aren't terribly concerned with how many degrees you have (if any - some of our leaders are college juniors and seniors), how many years you were a camp counselor for second graders, how many 14-year-old third cousins you have, or how many years you've studied Sanskrit. What concerns us is that you care about and want to spend several weeks with a group of 11-17 year olds, and that you have the kind of personality that will get along well with the kids as well as be able to maintain safety and discipline. Above all else, it will be your personality that will shape the group.

VACATION?

You'll be dealing with the lives, the frustrations and joys, the confusions and desires, of ten people, 24 hours a day. If your prime concern is to get an all-expense-paid trip to some exotic place, to get a paid relaxing vacation, or even to do some serious cycle-touring, please don't apply. We understand that part of the attraction of these trips is the travel, but it shouldn't be the main attraction.

YOUR RESPONSIBILITIES

You'll be totally responsible for two different aspects of the trip. One will be the logistics of traveling (finances, reservations, bike repair, tickets, routes), of keeping the group running smoothly (cycling safety, chores, cooking, getting the group to compromise on where to stop for lunch, etc.). You'll have a special SHP Leader's Notebook detailing how to handle all of the logistics, as well as information about everything from secret swimming holes to route directions and great views.

Your other major responsibility will be to see that the kids have a happy and rewarding summer. This is where your personality will be absolutely crucial. We want you to be the center of (and the catalyst for) a close-knit group experience.

Remember, you are a role model.

PROBLEM TRIPPERS

Above all else, and in addition to all of your "duties”, you'll be intensely involved with 10 kids. Most of the kids in the program are great or good kids. Kids can be warm, friendly, and funny, but sometimes difficult and disruptive. They are not all angels! And, we cannot guarantee that you won't have one or more of these less-than-pleasant kids on your trip.

In addition, there may be personality conflicts within the group. Or, you may have some kids who are very strong-willed and independent and don't like the idea of having a leader. You will have to deal with all of these for two to eight weeks, 24 hours a day.

Again, the fact is that most of the kids who travel with SHP are good or great people. But we do want every leader to be prepared and able to handle difficult personalities and problem kids, and not to go into a trip expecting a smooth-sailing vacation (again, most of the kids, most of the time, will be fun, warm, and great to be with).

However, be assured that our leaders are given strong backing by the organization. You should know that you can count on us to remove those kids who break our rules that call for immediate dismissal or kids who are disruptive and refuse to be reasonable.

SENIOR, ASSISTANT, AND CO-LEADER PAIRINGS

SHP trips usually have two leaders, occasionally three. Most often, there is one senior leader and one assistant leader, though sometimes a trip has 2 co-leaders (both would be senior leaders receiving a senior leader salary).

SENIOR-ASSISTANT LEADER PAIRING: The major aspect of this leader combination is that it presents the kids with clear-cut authority and responsibility; the senior leader is definitely in charge of the trip, and will be the one making the final decisions. The senior leader is also expected to be the central personality within the group. The assistant leader is the back-up; an extra set of eyes, ears, hands, and feet. One of his or her major responsibilities is to help the senior leader whenever necessary and wherever possible (going into a nearby town for bike parts, helping kids on the food-buying committee, helping the fire-building committee while the senior leader is helping put up the tents, or taking care of the group when the senior leader may need to be away, etc.) Another major responsibility of the assistant leader is to help the senior leader enforce the rules of the trip, bike safety, and SHP policies.

CO-LEADER PAIRING (2 SENIOR LEADERS): The co-leading pairing has as its major aspect the equal sharing of all responsibility and decision-making. Not carrying the full weight of responsibility is often the most attractive part of co-leading.

RULES THAT ARE OBSERVED AT SHP HEADQUARTERS

If you are working or staying at SHP headquarters, all of the rules that apply to our trips while on the road are in force at SHP headquarters. These rules also apply when you leave our premises temporarily (i.e., going into town to shop, etc.). It is expected that a leader will never arrive at SHP headquarters with alcohol or drugs in his/her possession or in his/her system.

EQUIPMENT

The equipment that you'll need is listed below. If you don't already own some or all of it, you may get it from SHP at the wholesale cost. Panniers, front handlebar bags, and rear blinking lights are available from SHP on a loan basis. These are the only personal equipment items available from SHP on a loan basis. Information about ordering equipment will be sent in mid-May to those accepted as leaders.

If you want to use some of your own equipment, it must meet certain specifications (the leader, of all people, needs to have equipment suitable for this type of trip!). More information about specifications will be sent in May with all of your final leadership informationt. If you choose to use your own bike, it must be in very good shape and it must be your correct size. SHP does not loan or rent bikes to leaders. Leaders can purchase new Cannondale or Trek bikes at the wholesale cost.

Consider it a job requirement that you must have highly visible (bright blue is not appropriate) rear panniers and a highly visible rain gear top. The panniers are available from SHP as a loan item or you can get them at cost from SHP; rain gear is not a loan item but you can get it at cost from SHP. If you have low-visibility panniers, you can purchase (less than $10) high-visibility pannier covers.

Equipment List
  • 15-24 speed bicycle
  • rear panniers
  • handlebar bag
  • rear rack (Blackburn Expedition 3-strut model)
  • sleeping bag
  • helmet
  • small backpack/dayhiker
  • bike water bottle
  • flashlight
  • bike lock (combination lock)
  • wool shirt or equivalent
  • belt pouch
  • plate
  • cup
  • cutlery
  • batteries
  • 3 web straps
  • ensolite or self-inflating sleeping pad
  • waterproof, hooded rain parka
  • personal clothing and supplies

SUPPORT

Our leaders are not meant to be tour guides, but each leader has extensive SHP notes and guides, based on over 40 years of experience, about the area in which the group is traveling.

SHP maintains close contact with leaders during their trip. Leaders are scheduled to telephone the directors at regular intervals during the trip (even from Europe). In addition, leaders call SHP headquarters whenever there is illness, possible itinerary change, etc. Several SHP staff personnel are emergency leaders who are available on a 24 hour basis to assist groups with emergencies or problems that might arise on the road. The directors are also available on a 24 hour basis.

AN INCREDIBLE EXPERIENCE

For someone with the right personality, leading an SHP bike trip can be an absolutely phenomenal experience. People's lives and career choices have changed because of the impact of the experience. Far more than a camp counselor job, you will be out in the world in charge of 10 teenagers who will be completely dependent upon you for weeks. There will be no camp or school buildings, no directors or principals right nearby for support or relief. Its you and the kids. Its incredible.

Its way more than just having a good time. This is an opportunity to be a major influence on young lives. To help them mature into responsible, independent people who have the confidence to tackle the world and reach for their dreams.

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SHP Bicycle Adventures | 305 Hulmeville Avenue, Langhorne Manor, PA 19047 | 800-343-6132 | shpbike@gmail.com

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