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Trip Leader FAQs

What's the flow of a Moondance summer?

Each leader's summer begins with our mandatory 11-day Staff Training in Asheville, NC. Upon successful completion of Staff Training, you will begin your respective trips composed of 10-13 students, plus your co-leader, with whom you will assume complete responsibility of the group. Leaders are assigned 2-3 sections of a specific trip, and each section is 14-23 days long. After leading, leaders are required to return to Nashville for 2 days of debrief with the Moondance administrative staff to wrap up your trips and help improve them for the future.

Staff Training? What's that all about?

Probably one of the most fun, exciting, and motivating weeks you will experience. We will hold our 11-day, intensive staff training in the mountains of Western North Carolina prior to the start of our summer programs. Our emphasis is to educate staff on Moondance policies and procedures as well as create a working, trusting bond amongst our leaders. During the week you will be mixed with some of the most dynamic, energetic and enthusiastic people you'll ever meet. The final 3 days will be spent in the backcountry simulating a Moondance trip, giving first year leaders a chance to practice and teach the skills they have learned throughout Staff Training.

What happens after all trips are complete at the end of the summer?

Moondance provides transportation for each leader back to Nashville for a mandatory 2 day Debrief.

How do you place leaders?

Returning staff are always given the first opportunity to choose where they would like to be. First year staff are placed where we feel they will be most beneficial to Moondance based on their application, prior experiences, references, and interviews, but their preferences are taken into consideration. Moondance Alumni who apply for the Trip Leader position are typically given special consideration.

Do you offer internships?

For applicants who are under the age of 21, we are able to offer a limited number of internships. Interns are typically placed as a third leader on Discovery trips. The responsibilities of an intern vary slightly from those of a Trip Leader, though our interns are equipped with the same training, certifications and ability to leaving a lasting impact on their students' lives! Preference for the intern position is given to Moondance Alumni.

What's the application process like?

After submitting your application online, our staffing team, will notify you that your application is under initial review. We will contact strong candidates to offer an additional set of questions and to schedule an interview. Following 2-3 rounds of interviews, we make rolling offers to lead for Moondance throughout the fall and early spring. Contracts containing salary and specific trip placement are extended in March, though most applicants apply by early February. Please note that though select opportunities may be available until April, most applicants are respectful of the following deadlines. We encourage you to apply by mid-February for our summer positions.

What certifications do I need, and do I need them before I apply?

While you do not need any certifications to apply, if accepted, you must obtain a Wilderness First Aid + CPR or Wilderness First Responder certification by the beginning of Staff Training. Each Moondance leader is required to have Wilderness First Aid + CPR certifications at minimum; however, many programs with time spent in the backcountry require a minimum of a Wilderness First Responder.

Do you reimburse leaders for these certifications?

Moondance partially reimburses staff for Wilderness First Responder certifications: $400 for first year staff, and an additional $300 for returning a second year.

What equipment am I responsible for?

Leaders provide their own personal clothing and equipment necessary for a particular trip. This may include a sleeping bag, ground pad & backpack for domestic trips and some international trips. Moondance provides tents, cookware and general group gear for domestic wilderness trips.

What do you look for in an applicant?

Moondance leaders come from a variety of different backgrounds and experiences, but are all united behind a passion for working with teens and a love for the outdoors. In order to provide a great experience on a Moondance trip, you must hold a desire to make a positive impact on the students of your trip while excelling as a leader in a team setting. Our strongest leaders have previously held leadership positions where they grew as role models and mentors, such as captains of sports teams and camp counselors. While we do value hard skills (i.e. starting a fire, setting up campsites, fishing, etc.), we are searching for individuals who have a contagious love of life and hold an optimistic perspective that they wish to share with others.

What do leaders do and where do they stay in between trips?

Our leaders are contracted to lead multiple sections of trips throughout the summer. In between sections of trips, leaders are allotted free time with which they are able to debrief from their previous trip, complete any necessary paperwork, and prepare for the next group of students to arrive. This free time will be spent in the "gateway city" of each trip, where the first "airport day" of each trip will begin.

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