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Our mission is to offer carefully crafted and superbly led trips that catalyze an understanding in students of the world beyond themselves, beyond their own needs and wants, and inspire them to see how beautiful and exciting, how full of promise the world is.
Imagine a summer of adventure, commitment, and community.
46 itineraries, 16 countries, 4 continents: that’s a lot of adventure. But leading at Overland isn’t really about where you go, and in some important ways, it’s not really about what you do. Instead, leading for Overland is about the people who surround you — the dynamic leaders you work with and the great kids you lead — and the many challenges, both big and small, that you tackle together.
An Overland leader’s commitments are many, but nothing is as important as your co-leader and your kids. No matter where you are, no matter what you’re doing, your most important commitment is the health and well-being of your co-leader and your kids. This commitment drives and informs your leadership every moment of every day.
The Overland community is supportive and wholesome. In all we do, we seek to create a culture of respect. We welcome students and leaders from across the country and around the world, we seek to offer broad access to our trips through our Open Arms financial aid program, and we value a range of life experiences and perspectives in our leadership staff. Overland aims to build a supportive and wholesome team of leaders, considers applications from all people and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national or ethnic origin, familial status, genetics, ancestry, religion, disability, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, or any other characteristic protected under applicable federal or state law. These values have been a part of Overland for over three decades, and they’re important qualities that we look for when choosing new leaders.
Overland leaders stay connected in a vibrant community that stretches beyond the summer, beyond leading. For over 35 years, Overland leaders have stayed connected—as former leaders, friends, and colleagues—and these relationships, which started in a single summer, have grown in countless ways. The Overland community is a powerful network full of not only strong friendships, but also connections to job opportunities worldwide. Overland leaders go on to attend graduate programs, teach abroad, and work in a wide variety of professional fields.
In the end, leading for Overland is far greater than the sum of its parts — exciting adventure, great people, important commitments, endless challenges, a supportive community, and a vibrant network—but there’s more, too. There’s the chance to deepen and broaden your leadership skills while discovering just how beautiful and exciting, how full of promise the world is.
We encourage you to apply to join us. Everyone on the Overland year-round staff is eager to read your application and to meet you. We look forward to hearing from you!
How to Apply
The application process consists of a written application and resume, three references, and an interview. Our leader hiring team aims to find a good fit between an applicant and a trip, as well as between co-leaders. We invite you to apply and look forward to getting to know you.
Overland has three application deadlines over the course of the year, and applications will be assessed on a rolling basis. If you plan to study abroad in the spring, please apply by the fall deadline.
A preliminary interview gives us a chance to get to know you and learn more about your experiences before you apply. It’s also a great chance for you to better get to know Overland and its culture. Our team of recruiters travels to college campuses and major cities around the country throughout the year. For more information, email Conor O’Brian at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Minimum Requirements & Expectations
- Passion for working with kids in an outdoor environment
- A valid driver’s license
- While the majority of our trips require leaders to have had a valid driver’s license for at least 2 years, a select few trips do not have this requirement
- The ability to lift and carry 40 lbs or more of gear or equipment
- The ability to pass a swimming test and lifeguard certification course (offered at training)
- CPR/AED and Wilderness First Aid certifications valid through August 9, 2020 (not necessary at time of application)
- A clear driving record, a positive local police check, CORI, SORI, and three written references
- A recent physical indicating excellent physical and mental health
- Some (but not all!) trips require specialized hiking and camping skills, bicycling experience, or foreign language skills
Dates of Employment
Our leaders arrive in mid-June for our 10-day Leader Training. At the end of the summer, the entire staff returns to Williamstown for Leader Closing. Leaders depart on Sunday, August 9.
Salaries for first year leaders range from $2,000 to $2,500 based on previous experience and the leader’s role and responsibilities at Overland. In addition, Overland pays:
- 50% of the leader’s travel expenses to-and-from Williamstown (up to $250)—Overland also organizes shuttles from Boston and Albany airports, or carpools from other locations (when possible)
- WFA expenses (up to $200)
- CPR expenses (up to $50)
- And, of course, all trip expenses while leading are provided: all flights, accommodations, meals, and activities (for example, rafting, kayaking, ice climbing, etc.). In the field between trips, leaders receive two nights of hotel accommodations and all meals.
Overland also provides access to pro deals as well as discounts on Trek and Surly bikes. And, all Overland leaders receive branded clothing and gear (Nike Dri-Fit T-shirts, Hydro Flasks, etc.).
In Their Words
"This was my sixth summer leading for Overland, and it has completely shaped who I am. I am continuously amazed by my Overland students; they are what bring me back every summer. These trips have empowered me on and off the bike, and I love being able to share this experience with my students. There are no words to describe how fulfilling it is to accomplish incredible things and overcome challenges as a group as we become an inseparable family. "
"I had a phenomenal Overland experience. It doesn’t get much better than exploring the Spanish Pyrenees and speaking Spanish with adventurous, goofy students and my amazing co-leader! "
Kuhan Mahendraraj, Hamilton College ‘18
"I hope to lead for Overland again because it truly was one of the best experiences I have ever had! "
Ty Williams, Colby College ‘20
"My co-leader was phenomenal, and we genuinely became close friends and partners over the course of the summer. We were so close by the end of the summer that I would look at him, and he would know what I was thinking. He was a fantastic teammate, and we worked well as a pair. It was an absolutely incredible summer leading with him, and I laughed more than I ever expected. "
Annie Savaria-Watson, Brown University ‘19
"A high of my summer was climbing the Chimborazo Volcano with my group (16,700 feet). We climbed to a height that most of us had never reached before. I was such a proud leader that day. I cannot wait to see where my students will go from here. "
"Summer after summer, Overland students are the most thoughtful, strong, and fun people I know. Seeing my groups bond and overcome challenges gives me so much hope; it's the reason I lead for Overland. "
"My high of the summer was the students on my trip. This group was awesome. We battled challenging weather and conditions on the trek, and our students shined with their resilience and morale throughout the trek. Overland students are at their best when presented with a challenge that is appropriate and attainable through teamwork and a good attitude. "
"I learned so much about myself this summer. Overland helped me improve my communication, organizational skills, and teamwork. I have never encountered a more inclusive group of people in my life. From the moment I arrived at Leader Training, I was blown away by how incredibly welcoming everyone was. "
Cole Hughes, St. Lawrence University ‘19
Questions? Call us: 413.458.9672.
What do you look for in prospective leaders?
We look for college first years, sophomores, juniors, seniors, and graduates with a strong desire to work with young people, extensive leadership experience, excellent judgment, superb problem solving skills, success working in team settings and leading with others, patience, humor, and the determination and stamina to succeed in a challenging environment. The Overland community is supportive, wholesome, and inclusive, and we seek individuals from a wide range of backgrounds, interests, and perspectives.
Who are Overland's students?
Our students are 9 to 18 years old and come from across the country and around the world. Every summer about half of our students are back for a second, third, fourth, or fifth summer. We are committed to broadening access to all of our trips through our scholarship and financial aid programs. In 2019, Overland gave more than $385,000 in financial aid.
When can I expect to hear from Overland?
We notify applicants of their status within 2-3 weeks of applying. Finalists are invited to interview. After that, we extend offers for specific trips to our top candidates. Also, we ask a select group of strong candidates to be in our reserve pool for positions that may become available in the spring. Approximately 20 leaders are hired from the reserve pool each year.
How many applications do you receive?
We typically receive 1000 applications and hire about 120 new leaders; roughly half of our staff each year is made up of returning leaders.
Where do college first-years lead?
We hire students finishing their first year of college to join our New England Support Staff. Support Staff is a dynamic role with a varying daily schedule that could include assisting with trips and in the office, organizing gear, shuttling groups in 15-passenger vans, meeting groups in the field, and filling in wherever necessary. Support Staff members live together in a house in Williamstown during the summer, form a tight-knit community through shared tasks and meals, and have no living expenses during the summer. Members of Support Staff typically lead one or more weeks of a New England-based introductory trip.
Where do college sophomores, juniors, seniors and graduates lead?
First-year leaders for Overland who are sophomores or older lead trips across the U.S. and abroad.
How are trip placement decisions made?
We consider an applicant’s written application, previous leadership experience, references, and interviews. We look for a match between the new leader, their prospective co-leader, and a trip. Leaders of language trips must be fluent in French or Spanish and must have studied abroad.
What trips do you offer?
We offer trips in over 50 locations across the U.S. and abroad, including Canada, Europe, Central and South America, Iceland, Norway, and Tanzania. Our trips include hiking, biking, service, language and writing; the trips range from one to six weeks in length; and they vary in difficulty from introductory experiences for our younger students to challenge trips for our older students.
What is an Overland summer like?
There are three parts to an Overland summer: Leader Training, leading, and Leader Closing.
The Overland summer begins in mid-June with Leader Training in Williamstown, Massachusetts. The entire staff camps and shares all meals during 10 days of seminars, hands-on workshops and a multi-day hiking or biking trip. Leader Training is a time to sharpen leadership skills, master the details of trip logistics, and build effective working relationships with co-leaders and the full-time staff.
Over the course of six weeks, Overland leaders co-lead a trip or a series of trips with one or two other leaders. Leaders are responsible for maintaining the health and well-being of their students, managing day-to-day logistics, transporting students in a 15-passenger van (on some trips towing a utility trailer), working within a budget, planning and organizing meals, completing required paperwork, communicating with the Overland office, and photographing the experience. Leaders manage risks in the field and serve as positive role models to students, working to bring every member of the group together as a team.
The Overland summer ends the first week of August with Leader Closing in Williamstown, during which leaders reconnect with the rest of our staff, debrief their leading experience, and follow up with their students via written communications.
What are meals like at Overland?
Good food (and plenty of it!), excellent nutrition, and fun are the goals of Overland’s meals. Each group buys, prepares, and eats all of its meals together. Our campers, with their leaders’ supervision, prepare all meals. At Overland, meals are a group experience, an important way to foster connection with and consideration for other group members.
Allergies & Intolerances
We recognize there are many people with food allergies or intolerances. We welcome these people’s interest in joining us, and we ask prospective Overland leaders with an allergy/intolerance to please consider the following important information.
Most meals at Overland are prepared in basic kitchens (or outdoors), and groceries are typically purchased from small stores with limited choices. As a result, meals are prepared and served in what may be allergen-contaminated environments, and on many trips allergen-free/gluten-free foods are not readily available. If a prospective leader has an allergy/intolerance that constitutes a disability, we will engage in an interactive process with the prospective leader to determine whether there is a reasonable accommodation that would allow the prospective leader to perform the essential functions of the positions.
In all things, our top priority is to help maintain our campers’ and leaders’ well-being; to this end, all Overland leaders are trained to recognize and respond to allergic reactions, including administering antihistamines and epinephrine (both are carried in every trip’s first aid kit); leaders carry cell phones, and in some cases, satellite phones, so that should the need arise, emergency personnel can be contacted and their services requested. It is important for all prospective leaders to understand that many groups travel in remote areas where emergency services may not be easily or readily accessible.
Every summer there are many vegetarians who join our groups and who enjoy meat-free meals. We are happy to welcome these campers and leaders as long as they understand they will share in the group’s meals but will simply have the meat portion withheld. For example: sandwiches at lunch with lettuce, tomato and cheese (while the rest of the group has sandwiches with sliced turkey or ham); pasta at dinner with a tomato sauce (while the rest of the group has pasta with a meat sauce).
Vegan & Specialized Diets
We sometimes have requests from student and leader applicants with specialized diets—vegans, for example—to provide separate, specialized meals. As much as we’d like to be able to accommodate these applicants, the limitations of our kitchens, the size of available grocery stores, and the importance of group meals make it impractical to provide separate, specialized meals.
What reimbursements do you offer for certifications and travel?
We reimburse for CPR/AED (up to $50) and Wilderness First Aid (up to $200). While you do not need any certifications to apply, if hired you will need to arrive at leader training with CPR/AED and Wilderness First Aid (we offer a lifesaving course during our leader training). Overland partially reimburses travel to and from Williamstown at the start and end of the summer. Please Note: Leaders are responsible for loss or damage to their personal gear and bicycles. Overland provides workers’ compensation and general liability protection but does not provide health insurance for seasonal staff.
Is Overland an equal opportunity employer?
Yes. Overland Summer Camps, Inc., prohibits discrimination against and harassment of any employee or any applicant for employment, or any camper or any applicant to join one of our camps, because of race, color, national or ethnic origin, age, marital status, familial status, genetics, ancestry, religion, disability, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, veteran or military status, military service or any other characteristic protected under applicable federal or state law. All personnel responsible for hiring and promoting employees, for admitting and enrolling campers, for leading and supporting campers, and for developing and implementing camp trips or activities are charged to support this effort and to respond promptly and appropriately to any concerns brought to their attention. Individuals who feel they have been treated in a way that violates this policy and/or federal, state or local employment laws are encouraged to notify one of Overland’s directors. Overland will not take any retaliatory action in response to an individual’s complaints.