Trek Leader

  • Location
    New York, New York
  • Sector
    Non Profit
  • Experience
    Early Career
  • Posted
    Aug 01

Position description

buildOn is a not-for-profit organization working to break the cycle of poverty, illiteracy and low expectations through service and education. We’re not a charity, we’re a movement. In the United States, we run intensive service-learning programs in under-resourced high schools in six major cities. Through these programs, buildOn empowers youth to transform their communities through high-impact service. For more than 30 years, buildOn has empowered youth to contribute more than 2.4 million hours in their own communities.

Globally, teams of students from buildOn programs fan out across the world to help build schools in the economically poorest countries on the planet. We have now built over 2,100 schools in Haiti, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Mali, Burkina Faso, Senegal, Malawi and Nepal. More than 276,000 children, parents and grandparents attend these schools every day and at least 50% of these buildOn students are girls or women. Community members have contributed more than 3.7 million volunteer workdays to build their schools.

We hope you’ll consider joining our team!


Who We Want

buildOn seeks a Trek Leader whose primary focus is to prepare, plan, and lead best-in-class buildOn treks in buildOn partner countries. There are two primary Trek types.

  • Treks for buildOn Partners - an opportunity for supporters (high school, college, corporate, family, small group, and individuals) to travel and work in solidarity with community members who are also contributing to the construction of a school in their village.
  • Treks for buildOn US - made up of high school students participating in the buildOn US service-learning program from some of the most challenged communities across the nation where school systems and families have limited access to resources. Trek is an opportunity for these students to experience tremendous personal growth through travel to a buildOn partner country, to work and live in solidarity with rural community members, and to bring those experiences back to their community through Trek presentations.

The ideal candidate is an International Service professional with extensive experience living, traveling, and leading trips in the Global South. The candidate must have a strong desire to live and work aboard and spend extensive time in rural villages. A history of donor stewardship and youth development experiences are crucial. The candidate must be highly organized, a creative problem-solver, possess strong interpersonal skills, and be self-motivated. Consistent with buildOn’s core values and mission statement, he or she must have a passion and understanding of buildOn’s program focus.

The Trek Leader will also have the opportunity to contribute to the Marketing department to tell the buildOn story from the Global program’s perspective. This could include contributing to social media posts, blog posts, donors reporting, and storytelling.

The Trek Leader will perform work involving physical labor at the school`s construction site. The position may require one to walk long distances on uneven surfaces and on narrow paths, and to carry items weighing at least 40 lb.


What You’ll Do

Trek Leadership

  • Lead and support Treks
  • Communicate the methodology of buildOn Global programs to Trek participants while being sensitive to the unique needs of each Trek participant
  • Communicate with Trek Leadership to ensure logistics are organized for upcoming groups
  • Manage visa and passport processes and troubleshoot challenges for volunteers

Project Planning

  • Work with the US Trek Manager to manage domestic Trek logistics as well as some international logistics as necessary
  • Under the supervision of the Trek Director, ensure Trek participant safety by selecting and training transportation providers, identifying medical clinics, and working with in-country staff to mitigate risk

Finance and Recordkeeping

  • Manage budgets for specific Treks
  • Maintain accurate records and submit timely and detailed Trek reports, evaluations, and finance reconciliations following each Trek
  • Review participant medical issues and make appropriate accommodations to ensure the health and safety of all Trek Team members
  • Collect photos and anecdotes for donor reports, Marketing team and buildOn US curriculum


What You Bring

  • Requires a 4-year degree & a minimum of 2 years related experience
  • Experience living and working in the developing world (min. 1 year and preference given for experience in a buildOn partner country)
  • Ability to live and work aboard
  • Extensive experience leading service projects or as a volunteer
  • Demonstrated ability to provide high-level support to donors
  • Knowledge and experience in the field of Youth Development
  • Demonstrated ability to balance the demands of rigorous methodology with the unique needs of each stakeholder
  • Strong interpersonal skills with the capacity for building relationships with all types of stakeholders, from corporate CEOs, to college students, to urban high school youth to rural community members.
  • Ability to handle cross-cultural communication sensitively, and to communicate clearly, effectively and persuasively both verbally and in writing.
  • Demonstrated leadership and organizational ability to balance and coordinate multiple projects, people, and assignments simultaneously
  • Track record of taking initiative and requiring minimal supervision while completing complex assignments
  • Proven record of maintaining timely and detailed records and reports
  • Highly results-oriented & independent work style
  • Sound judgment/decision-making and the ability to remain calm in crisis situations and to think critically under pressure
  • Working knowledge of Salesforce
  • Fluency in written and spoken English
  • Proficiency/Fluency in a buildOn country language preferred
  • Wilderness First Responder (WFR) certification, or greater, a plus
  • Willingness/ability to provide 24/7 On-Call Support to Staff in the field.

Work Environment

While performing the duties of this job, the Trek Leader is frequently exposed to conditions that include inclement weather, heat and humidity, and exposure to dust. Trek Leads are required to travel to any buildOn country to lead Trek.


Application instructions

Please be sure to indicate that you saw this position on