We are looking for volunteers for an Experiential Learning Programme (ELP) in the Himalayas with an International School in Mussoorie.
We believe it will make a big difference to the way you look at a trek.
First the quick basics. It’s an all girls school, so we’re taking only women volunteers.
The program is between April 5 and April 10.
Volunteers cannot make a choice on which slope they would like to work on. It will be decided based on your strength and background. This assessment will be done based on interviews with you.
This time, we will be taking just 14 volunteers. The chances are a bit tight, but it’s worth it.
│What is the Experiential Learning Programme?
In our Experiential Learning Programme students pick up natural leadership and teamwork skills. This is something no classroom training can impart. The experiential learning program focuses on building resilience, confidence and the ability to overcome difficulties in young learners.
We do this through a trek which is specially designed to bring out these aspects.
│So where does volunteering come in?
As a volunteer you play a crucial role in helping us administer the program, working closely with us in the reflection sessions and gradually drawing out the natural learning from the outdoors.
In fact we don’t call you a volunteer. On the experiential learning program you are called a Program Coordinator.
This is not an easy volunteership, which is why we are very choosy about whom we take. You need a certain amount of wisdom to administer the program — that comes only with work experience. Which is why we are looking at 2-3 years of minimum work experience. You also need trekking experience, without which you cannot relate with the program.
You also need to be very fit — because it does involve being active all the time, going up and down the slope whenever required.
• How does volunteering help you?
Being an insider and being an active member of the team conducting the program is a big opportunity.
You not only get to trek in some of our most beautiful locations in our country, you also get to be part of a futuristic learning program.
Volunteering for the ELP (experiential learning program) also carries a lot of weight. You get to test your leadership skills in a natural setting. It is a true experiential learning program for both students and us, the organisers. You’re conducting the program for children many of who are doing a Himalayan trek for the first time, battling circumstances completely out of their comfort zones.
As a volunteer, a lot of the program’s success depends on you.
At the end of the volunteership you also earn a certificate.
│What are we looking for in our volunteers?
We are extremely picky about our program coordinators for two reasons.
First, program coordinators must be good with children. We have students from the age of 5 all the way till 17.
Second, program coordinators play a big role in administering the whole programme. This requires good people skills, discipline and leadership ability.
Third, the entire volunteering period is a 6 day marathon with hardly any time to breathe, eat or sleep. Program coordinators need to be physically and mentally capable to handle these situations.
• We have a specific eligibility criteria.
- Must be between the age of 25 and 32. Women only.
- Must have at least 2-3 years of work experience
- Must have done at least one Himalayan trek with Indiahikes
- Must not have volunteered with us in the past. We would like to give opportunities to fresh folks.
- Must be extremely fit
If you fit the bill, you’re welcome to apply as a volunteer.
│What would your travel plans look like?
The programme is happening between April 5th and April 10th.
Your responsibility is to reach Dehradun on 5th April by 6 am. We will move you to your basecamp the same day. We highly recommend that you reach Dehdradun by the 4th
Volunteers will be back in Dehradun on 10th April by 7-8 pm.
You will also be required to attend a few online training sessions, which will be organised on Saturdays, taking into account that you might be working during the week.
Indiahikes will sponsor your volunteership throughout the trek. All stay, food and trek costs are borne by Indiahikes. You have to get to Dehradun and out of Dehradun at your own cost. Also, you have to incur share travel cost to (and out of) the base camp that you are assigned.
│If you’d like to apply as a volunteer
We have a two step process to select volunteers.
Step 1: A questionnaire to get to know you and your skills
Step 2: A video interview to assess your potential as a volunteer
• Please fill out this form if you’d like to apply as a volunteer
We’ll get back to you within 2 days if you’re shortlisted after filling the form.
Here are some FAQ’s to help you get started.
1. What is the starting point of the programme?
The starting point will be Dehradun. If you are selected, more details about the time and exact location will be shared with you.
2. Which slope will I be going to?
This will be decided only 3-4 days prior to the trek. Once you’re selected, we’ll ask you for your preference, but we will be making the final decision.
3. Will you book my tickets for me?
You will have to book your tickets to Dehradun on your own.
4. How much of the cost is borne by Indiahikes?
Indiahikes will take care of all volunteering expenses from base camp to base camp. Volunteers have to reach and return from the base camp at their own expense. Indiahikes will arrange pick up for the base camp from Dehradun, where the program ends.
5. Will I get to trek during the Experiential Learning Programme?
Yes, you will get to trek along with the students during the programme.
6. Will this be like usual Indiahikes treks?
Yes, this will be like a usual Indiahikes trek. However, as part of the organising team, you will have responsibilities to fulfill to make the programme effective.
7. What role do I have to play during the Experiential Learning Programme?
You will be assigned a team of 8-10 students. Your role will include the following –
- Being the single point of contact for your students for any questions or concerns that they have. You will be the face of Indiahikes for them. In short, you will be a mini-trek leader for them.
- Ensuring that the students understand the rules of the strategy game that they’ll be participating in during the programme
- Conducting activities related to the strategy game for your students at the campsite and on the trekking trail
- Helping students reflect on their learnings after each activity with a good debriefing and reflection session
- Maintaining a scoresheet of your team’s points
- Settling any scoring related disagreement that your students might have
- Briefing them on discipline and safety protocols during the programme
- Ensuring that they adhere to discipline and safety protocols during the programme
- Guiding and motivating them during the trek
- Reporting any health concerns that you or your students might have to the Trek leader immediately
8. What should I NOT do during the Experiential Learning Programme?
Since you will be the single point of contact for your team of students, you should not –
- Be preoccupied with telephone calls or other distractions once the students arrive till the end of the trek
- Wander off on your own during the trek
- Break any of the discipline or safety protocols
- Be late or casual about punctuality
- Prescribe medication to students or yourself without consulting the Trek Leader
9. Will I have to lead the trek during the programme?
All slopes will have Indiahikes Trek Leaders and guides, who will guide students and volunteers. However, you will be responsible for keeping track of the students assigned to you and motivating them through the trek each day. You will have to ensure that you’re never too far away from your team.
10. Is there any pre-work to be done before the programme?
There are two things that you would need to do before you arrive for the programme –
- Work on your fitness – You have to be very fit as a volunteer. You will not only be trekking in high altitudes, but will also have responsibilities at the campsite before and after the trek. Doing all of this is possible only if you are physically fit.
- Go through the pre-read that we will share with you before you come. This will give you an idea of the activities that you will be conducting for students during the programme.
11. Can couples apply together for the programme?
Yes, if both of you get selected. But you will be going on two different slopes.
12. I have volunteered for this programme in the past. Can I volunteer again?
We are not repeating any of our volunteers from the past. This is simply because we want to give others a chance. Last year, we had 430 applicants. We had to zero in on 40. This year, we are taking just 14 volunteers. So we will not be repeating volunteers.
13. What is the application process?
1. To apply, fill in this form.
2. If you are shortlisted, we will respond to you and set up a video interview with you.
3. If you’re further shortlisted after the interview, we will keep you posted over email.
Note: If we do not respond to you after you fill the form, it means you have not been shortlisted.