We always knew that the Trip Leader position teaches our leaders intangible, directly transferrable-to-the-real-world skills. But, in regards to the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) latest report, “The Key Attributes Employers Seek on College Graduates Resumes,” it seems that our Trip Leaders are even more set up for success in the professional world than we initially thought. Let’s dive deeper.
Based on their research, employers are seeking certain qualifications in their potential candidates, and most of them are not industry-specific. Below is the table of the top ten key attributes employers are looking for in recent grads. I’m here to tell you that a Moondance summer will give you experience in all of those, and then some.
Ability to work in a team 81.0%
Problem-solving skills 79.0%
Analytical/quantitative skills 76.1%
Communication skills (verbal) 73.2%
Communication skills (written) 72.7%
Technical skills 67.8%
Strong work ethic 65.4%
It is tempting to want to choose the corporate internship that looks good on paper. It is! You know that it’s a safe bet, and that you will gain professional experience. And that is great for a lot of people. However, if you have the zest for life that has you yearning for adventure and the feeling you get when you inspire kids, will you truly be thoroughly satisfied in a cubicle when you could be on a mountain peak? Moondance provides you with professionally transferrable experience along with an out-of-the-box summer opportunity that will leave you a changed person, for the better.
Don’t believe me? Here’s proof:
Ability to work in a team
Moondance trips require you to live in a family-like team of 12-14 for 2-3 weeks at a time. You will learn how to successfully be a leader amongst a group of teenagers with a peer co-leader. You will sharpen your decision-making skills and group dynamic building skills in order to build a team that is inseparable by the end of the session.
Problem Solving + Flexibility/Adaptability
Sometimes you can plan your time to the minute and unforeseen circumstances work against you. That’s part of life, and in a Moondance summer, you definitely will have think on your feet to improvise and problem solve. For instance, if you’re in Hawaii and the swell of today’s waves are six feet high, your kayak guides might reschedule that morning’s paddle. How do you still make the most of the day for your students? Maybe you let them have a surprise sleep-in morning. Maybe you surprise them with a visit to a nearby National Park. Maybe it’s ice cream. Whatever the situation is, big or small, our leaders are well-versed in how to go about adapting and problem-solving on the spot.
One large responsibility our leaders have to manage a budget from $5,000-$20,000 per summer. Being able to responsibly analyze and manage a budget of that stature is no small feat; it is a very large undertaking that gives our leaders experience in financial and quantitative analysis.
Communication skills (verbal)
All of our leaders are responsible for communicating effectively and accurately with our Headquarters, any outfitters, and their co-leaders. This could be in the form of check-ins, risk-management updates, or even, in some rare cases, crisis communications. Our leaders will practice and improve upon their verbal communication skills over the the course of the summer.
Communication skills (written)
There are many aspects of this job that require the written word. From Trip Updates (that will be published publicly on our website) to parent letters and trip evaluations, we expect our leaders to be able to professionally write quality work that accurately represents our brand.
Initiative / Strong Work Ethic
This job is not for the faint hearted. Our leaders undertake massive responsibility and are expected to take leadership initiative in every situation. For instance, if one of your students is feeling left out, it is the leader’s responsibility to take initiative and include the entire group in a game, intentionally switching up tent assignments or cooking crews, etc. Additionally, if something doesn’t get done, it’s on the leaders. We require all of our leaders to follow their itineraries and prepare for the trips accordingly. Meal planning, outfitter coordination, transportation management, and injury prevention are all parts of the job that require you to have a strong work ethic and take initiative.
Like any industry, technical skills are taught. Within our industry, outdoor adventure, ours are Hard Skills. At Moondance, we define Hard Skills as skills used in our backcountry sections of our trips, including but not limited to Cooking + Food Hygiene, Stove Use + Safety, Campsite Management, Leave No Trace Principles, Compass Navigation, Map Reading, Packing a Pack, Route Finding, etc. Additionally, we teach a very specific Moondance Curriculum to our leaders in order for them to relay it to our students.
As a Trip Leader, you are responsible for the physical, mental, and emotional well-being of a dozen young adults. This innately takes a lot of leadership. You will learn more about your leadership style, how to work with others, and maybe even what areas of growth you may have. Leaders leave their summers with Moondance feeling more confident in their leadership abilities and more likely to take on larger roles in their professions post-Moondance.
The skills and attributes you will learn by doing during your time as a Trip Leader with Moondance will transcend far beyond the end date listed in your contract. You will leave the summer feeling invigorated, with a newfound sense of self and zeal for life that will change the way you view the world. Better yet, you will also leave the summer with professional skills that will make provenly make you incredibly competitive in whatever industry you choose to pursue post-Moondance. So, choose the desk job if you think that is what’s best suited for you; however, if you think there’s more out there (which there is), lead for Moondance. You won’t ever regret investing in yourself.