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STUDENT HOSTELING PROGRAM INC.
Ashfield Road, Conway, MA 01341
(800 343 - 6132) (413 369 - 4275)
LEADERSHIP INFORMATION and
We've received your request for leadership application materials. Enclosed are leadership application forms and detailed information about leading an SHP trip. If, after reading through the information and application, you're still excited about leading and confident in your ability to do it, fill in the application and return it to us.
Before you apply, though, please be aware of several things:
SHP senior leaders must be at least age 21 by the time they lead. Assistant leaders must be at least 18 and have finished at least one year of college.
We do require a personal interview. Enclosed is a list of the dates and places for our interviews. TO SCHEDULE AN INTERVIEW: Review the accompanying list of times and places and decide on at least two choices that are good for you. Give us four days to a week to receive your application and then call our office to schedule an interview. Please call during office hours (9-5) if possible. If time is running short before the interview date that you prefer, give us a call even though we may not have had time to receive your application.
Before you submit a completed application and/or set up an interview, please be sure that you meet our requirements of age, first aid, attendance at our 5-day leadership training course, trip dates, etc. If any type of problem exists, please call us for clarification about your situation. If possible, ask to speak with one of the directors.
If possible, make a copy of your application for your records before you send it, and bring it to your interview.
Thanks for your interest in our program,
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.
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.
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.
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-LEADERS
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 leaders must be over 21. Assistant leaders must be at least 18 and have finished at least one year of college.
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.
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.
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, dress-up-to-impress each other type affairs. Old clothes are fine (we've rejected people who were dressed to the teeth and accepted people who were in their oldest rags and covered with paint from painting their houses that day!). Looks are not important (you won't look so hot away after 4 weeks of camping out...). 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.
SENIOR AND ASSISTANT LEADERS:
A five-day training course will be held at our headquarters in Conway, MA from June 20 to June 26. Every senior 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.
TRIP DATES FOR LEADERS
The minimum time commitment is 45 days. You may lead one 3, 4, 5 or 6 week trip, two short trips, or one long and one short trip.
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.).
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.
STAYING AT SHP BETWEEN THE TRAINING COURSE AND YOUR TRIP
Many of our leaders come from different parts of the country, and we realize the expense involved in traveling back and forth to Massachusetts. Therefore, leaders are welcome to stay at our headquarters after the training course for as long as they need to. You'll get free room and board in exchange for helping us get ready for the summer. Or, if you'd like to spend some time cycling around New England before your trip, you're welcome to use SHP headquarters as your base.
ADDITIONAL JOBS AT SHP BEFORE AND/OR AFTER YOUR TRIP
During the summer we occasionally need people to do office work and other projects and outdoor work. If you're interested in doing some of these things, let us know at the training course. Room and board will be provided. More details will be given at the training course.
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.
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.
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.
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 the second week of May with all of your final leadership information packet. 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.
|_____ 15 - 24 speed bicycle
|_____ rear panniers
|_____ handlebar bag
|_____ rear rack (Blackburn Expedition 3-strut model)
|_____ sleeping bag
|_____ small backpack
|_____ bike water bottle
|_____ bike lock (combination)
|_____ wool shirt or equivalent
|_____ belt pouch
|_____ 3 web straps
|_____ ensolite pad
|_____ waterproff, hooded rain parka
|_____ waterproof rain pants (optional)
|_____ personal clothing and supplies