Flight Leader (Summer 2024)

Mentor, OH
Program Operations
Entry Level

Flight Leader (Summer 2024) at Rustic Pathways 

The Company 

Rustic Pathways is a student travel organization that offers the world's finest experiential education, community service, foreign language, and adventure programs. Our destinations stretch from the white-sand beaches of Fiji to the rainforest canopies of Costa Rica to Australia's Great Barrier Reef, and many places in between. We provide superior quality travel and community service in some of the world's most welcoming countries for students. Rustic Pathways demands professionalism and integrity across all of our operations, insists on quality in all aspects of our programs, and places a strong emphasis on the safety and well-being of our students and staff. We empower students through innovative and responsible travel experiences to positively impact lives and communities around the world. 

Position Overview 

The Flight Leader role is an unpaid, seasonal, volunteer position just right for highly motivated and passionate individuals who value experiential education and international travel for students.  Flight Leaders are compensated with international travel for chaperoning a group of high school students on a flight from the USA to one of our several international destinations during the summer season - June through Mid August. The primary role of the Flight Leader is to ensure the protection and care of Rustic Pathways’ students while traveling to/from their international location, and to forge positive social connections between students as they commence travel. They work directly with our students, our Airport Coordinators, and other Flight Leaders in one of our gateway airports - JFK, LAX, MIA, and EWR on departure and arrival days. Once the flight lands in the international destination, Flight Leaders escort the group of students through immigration and customs to meet our Rustic Pathways Program Team who will then take the group of students to start their summer program.  

After the group of students has been safely handed off to our staff in-country, Flight Leaders continue on their own personal adventure in the country until it is time to bring the group of students back to the USA. (Personal time in our country destinations can last for one, two, or three weeks at a time.) When their program ends, Flight Leaders chaperone the group of students on the flight back to the U.S. gateway airport, lead them through US immigration and customs and ensure they meet their connecting flights home, if applicable. 

Flight Leaders monitor, mentor, and assist our students as they embark on, in many cases, their first international flight and adventure to another country! For all travelers, the first international flight is exciting, scary, hopeful, uncertain, and a host of other conflicting emotions. Flight Leaders have the unique opportunity to impact our students by securing their well-being, calming fears, building social support, getting them excited for the amazing opportunity ahead of them, and preparing them to enjoy the time spent in our amazing destinations. 

IMPORTANT NOTE:  While the round-trip international airfare is provided by Rustic Pathways, all Flight Leaders must pay for their own airfare to their assigned domestic airport as well as any accommodation, meals, transportation, internal flights, and any other travel expenses (including visas and immunizations) they incur as part of their personal travel plans. 


  • You report to the Airport Coordinator and work with other Flight Leader(s) at one of our gateway airports as you do the following: 
  • Greet families as they arrive and account for every student on the group flight departing or returning that day. Help support the check-in process.
  • Give instruction and updates to Unaccompanied Minor Coordinators as necessary.
  • Protect the safety of students and abide by Rustic Pathways’ zero-tolerance policy for inappropriate behavior.
  • Safely escort students between the USA and the international destination, ensuring and modeling COVID-19-conscious practices.
  • Build connections between students and create a positive social atmosphere.
  • Provide clear instructions and directions to our students about departure and arrival gates, connecting flights, US & international immigration and customs procedures, lost baggage claims, and appropriate conduct during international flights.   
  • Mentor, monitor, and account for every student in the airport and on the group flight. 
  • Guide, protect, clarify, and support all students in your group. 
  • Follow and implement all safety procedures and policies during interactions with students and their families. 
  • Keep the Airport Coordinator and other Flight Leaders updated on student well-being and flight information. 
  • Respond calmly to student issues as they arise. 
  • Act as a role model for our students by embodying the Rustic Pathways mission, vision, and values, as well as COVID-19 practices.
  • Work in a flexible manner and undertake other duties as reasonably requested. 


  • Must be 22 years of age or older by June 1, 2024.
  • Must have international travel experience, as you will be guiding students through this process.
  • Must have relevant leadership experience working or volunteering with students, preferably teenagers.
  • Must be able to travel to one of our gateway airports - JFK, LAX, MIA, or EWR prior to the international flight departure. (Domestic airfare at own expense) 
  • Must have a cell phone that can send and receive international calls and texts while abroad.
  • Must have a valid CPR and First Aid certification from a licensed provider. Classroom or in-person training ONLY. Online certifications are not acceptable. Certifications must be submitted 2 weeks before departure. 
  • Professional working proficiency in English required. 

Experience in the following areas preferred: 

  • Professional teacher, professor, or administrator in a school environment. 
  • Outdoor Educator, Leadership Instructor, or Camp Counselor 
  • Community Service or Volunteer Coordinator 
  • NGO or Non-Profit Professional 
  • Tour Guide Specialist 
  • Nurse or EMT 

Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities 

  • Excellent verbal and interpersonal communication skills. 
  • Personal experience in international travel (as a student, a leader or for pleasure). 
  • Patient, enthusiastic, and solution-oriented. 
  • Sound knowledge of domestic & international travel trends. 
  • Passion for international travel and appreciation for diversity in cultures and experiences. 
  • Understands the value of experiential education and travel for high school students. 
  • Able to maintain excellence under pressure and ever-changing conditions. 


  • Travel to one of our gateway airports - JFK, LAX, MIA, or EWR - by the specified time to meet the group of students on departure day. 
  • Stay/visit one of our international country destinations via a gateway airport for 1-2 weeks at a time.

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