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Gap Year Program Leader (2019-2020)

Rustic Pathways is a student travel organization which 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, the high Himalayan mountains to the Great Barrier Reef, and many places in between. We provide superior quality travel and service in some of the most welcoming countries for students around the world. Rustic Pathways demands professionalism and integrity across all of our operations, insists on quality in all aspects of our programs, and places 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.

Gap Year Program Leader at Rustic Pathways

The Position

Gap Year Program Leaders work directly with our students, community partners, activity partners, suppliers, and staff in our destination countries on Gap Year programs intermittently throughout the year for 12 weeks at a time and a total of up to 39 weeks in a calendar year. Gap Year Program Leaders represent Rustic Pathways and mentor our students as they lead them in outdoor adventure activities, community service projects, travel, experiential learning activities, and down time.


You work with a team of Program Leaders in country who are focused on student safety and responsibility. You facilitate and ensure life-changing experiences for the students on our Gap Year programs as you do the following:​

  • Engage with students and deliver the Rustic Pathways program experience through our student learning curriculum. 
  • Dedicate time to adapting the curriculum to a specific itinerary, prior to travel.
  • Build and maintain positive community partnerships.
  • Implement our safety guidelines and activity standards.
  • Proactively work to safeguard and monitor the health and well-being of students and staff. 
  • Respond appropriately to medical incidents and situations as they arise. 
  • Build personal trust with students and maintain open lines of communication with them throughout their gap year programs.
  • Facilitate positive group dynamics, and foster inclusivity and respect.
  • Ensure program logistics are executed smoothly and consistent with Rustic Pathways’ program standards.
  • Help create updates for parents by collecting, creating, and managing written content and photos for our blog, social media sites, and email updates.
  • Other duties as reasonably assigned.

Job Qualifications

  • Education:
    • BA/BS from an accredited college or university, or equivalent work experience.
  • Experience:
    • ​​1-3 years of experience leading and working with high school students as a teacher, coach, camp counselor, community service coordinator, non-profit professional, adventure guide, or similar capacity.
    • Experience delivering a curriculum and facilitating experiential education.
    • Previous experience as a Rustic Pathways summer program leader preferred, including completion of a summer program leader training.
  • Requirements:
    • Must be 24 years of age or older by September 1, 2019.
    • Must attend the Gap Year Program Leader Training in September 2019. 
    • Must be CPR and Wilderness First Responder (WFR) certified from a licensed provider. Classroom or in-person training only. Online certifications are not acceptable. Certifications must be submitted 3 weeks prior to employment, and must be valid through May 2019.
    • Must have a valid driver’s license and passport.
    • Professional working proficiency in English.
    • Fluency in Spanish required for Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, and Peru destinations.
    • Additional language skills a plus for remaining international destinations (including Chinese, Arabic, Swahili, Khmer, Thai, Lao, Burmese, Fijian, and Vietnamese).
    • Professional working knowledge in the following areas and/or roles:
      • Outdoor Education, Camp Counseling
      • Community Service Project Leadership
      • Wilderness and Emergency Medicine
      • Teaching
      • Professional Photography or Journalism
      • Sports Instruction
      • Mountaineering, Adventure, or Wilderness guiding
      • Marine Biology, Earth Science
      • Sociology or Anthropology
      • Conservation
      • Linguistics
      • International Development
      • Global Economics
      • Public Health
  • Preferred Certifications (Including but not limited to):
    • Emergency Medical Technician (EMT)
    • Ocean Lifeguard 
    • Teaching Certifications (i.e.TEFL/TESL )
  • Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities:
    •  Excellent verbal communication and interpersonal skills.
    • Patient, enthusiastic, analytical, and solution-oriented.
    • Follow through with GAP specific documentation practices. 
    • Appreciation for diversity in cultures and experiences
    • Passion for discussion-based learning and helping students make meaning of their experiences
    • Understands the value of experiential education and travel for young people.
    • Eager to learn from colleagues and enjoys open collaboration and teamwork.
    • Able to maintain excellence under pressure and ever-changing conditions.
    • Able to follow organizational protocols while working independently.
    • Knowledge of local and regional customs and norms in program location(s) through firsthand experience.
    • High level of proficiency with Google Drive, Skype, and WhatsApp.

Work and Environmental Conditions

  • This position is based in a remote setting in one or more of our destination countries.
  • This person is often driving and traveling with students.
  • The work pace is continually fast-paced and work is required for more than 4 hours at time.
  • Low supervision from managers with infrequent prompts. 
  • Travel is required up to 75% of the time.
  • This position requires such physical abilities as lifting up to 20-100 lbs. sometimes, standing, kneeling, climbing, crouching, pulling, pushing, sitting, twisting, and walking in an outdoor setting. Other physical attributes include hearing students on the phone, and speaking to them constantly in person.
  • The environment in which the job is performed outside may include exposure to extreme temperature, noise, heights, or other hazards.
  • All of the above remains the same for any additional requirements for training, protective clothing, or monitoring.


Ability to work in one or more of our country destinations or regions for at least 12 weeks at a time during September-December and February-April gap year semesters.

Rustic Pathways is an Equal Opportunity employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex including sexual orientation and gender identity, national origin, disability, protected Veteran Status, or any other characteristic protected by applicable federal, state, or local law.

If an applicant needs reasonable accommodation when applying for an open position, please email


This application will close on Monday, July 15, 2019. 

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