Thank you for signing up to be a Caminos volunteer this summer! It’s an awesome experience, both for the work you will be doing with the children and the relationships with other volunteers you will create. Many of our Caminos volunteers have developed life-long friendships with the people they met while volunteering with Outreach360.
It can also be a very difficult and challenging position. Living facilities are simple and rustic. The weather can be warm. We have eight weeks of summer camp programs with no break in-between – the schedule can be very demanding with minimal free-time. And you are an international volunteer in a small town, it’s a bit like living in a fish bowl. We have high expectations for our volunteers to follow local norms, which can be different than what you are used to.
Below are three sections of information that we think will be helpful in preparing for your internship:
- Program Overview -What to Expect
- Program Expectations/Guidelines
- Reasons to Volunteer Long-Term with Outreach360
- Reasons NOT to Volunteer Long-Term With Outreach360
Caminos Description: In Spanish, Camino means path or road, and in our Caminos Long-Term Volunteer Program, volunteers play a crucial role in providing a path out of poverty for our students. Caminos volunteers fulfill a critical role as teachers and coaches during our Dare to Dream Summer Camps. Caminos volunteers give children the educational opportunities they need to escape the limitations of poverty and to live the life they choose. In addition to teaching at the Learning Centers, Caminos volunteers also support the Outreach360 Program and have the opportunity to take on leadership roles working with the on-site staff to support short-term volunteer teams.
As a Caminos volunteer you will…
- Gain international teaching experience
- Learn about sustainable development through education
- Experience personal growth
- Develop global awareness
- Enhance your Spanish competency
- Strengthen your leadership skills
- Experience cultures through vibrant cultural interaction
- Make a difference in the lives of impoverished children
- Have fun!
It’s a Mission, Not a Job
Outreach360 believes education is the best sustainable solution to poverty, and we operate innovative education programs at our learning centers, in local schools, and in community learning camps, that meet real needs in the communities we serve. Our programs are capacity building, and provide children with functional skills, competencies, and abilities that allow them to overcome the challenges of poverty and achieve a greater standard of living for themselves and their families. We work together with local community members, including neighborhood associations, local school officials and parents, to implement our education programs. Our Caminos are an integral part of these programs and their sustainability, and in making a lasting impact in the community. Our Caminos volunteers are part of an elite group of individuals who commit to long-term service in a developing country.
Roles and Responsibilities
You will be asked to do the following.
- Teach on a daily basis at our Dare to Dream summer camps. You will be responsible for lesson planning.
- Mentor and support short-term volunteers in their roles at the Dare to Dream summer camps. Help facilitate a positive teaching and volunteer experience for short-term volunteers.
- Be a Team Leader or Program Leader in training- you will be asked to take on various roles throughout your time here. We will give you leadership training and support in order to enable you to facilitate other volunteers’ experiences.
- Prepare for and welcome new volunteers.
- Facilitate and support new volunteers in orientation and program orientation.
- Give city tours, culture, education, safety and history talks.
- Facilitate cultural experiences for short-term volunteers.
- Support staff in managing resources and our camp facility.
- Lead Dare to Dream camps in surrounding neighborhoods as the camp director.
- Attend the morning team leader meeting.
- Participate in Caminos Late Night Leadership- teacher and leadership training.
- Study Spanish for at least three hours a week.
- Other possible roles: Write blogs for social media, promote social media, and promote Caminos program to your network/community.
You are a leader. During your time here short-term volunteers will be looking to you for direction and guidance. Your actions and words will have a large influence not only on them but also the community, and we ask that you conduct yourself accordingly.
We ask that you are flexible and coachable. Our corporate culture values commitment to continuous learning, and you will receive coaching and mentoring during your time here.
This is not a 9am-5pm volunteer experience. We have a consuming mission of Releasing the Hero Within the children we work with, the volunteers who join us and all who come in contact with Outreach360. We are passionate about the educational opportunities we are providing to the local children, and it requires great sacrifice on the part of leaders and Caminos volunteers. We hope that you will learn and grow during your time here! We know you will give a lot of yourself and that it will be an extremely rewarding experience!
It’s a Mission, Not a Job
- Free time – We do our best to provide free time to Caminos, where they can rest and recover. There will be some weeks where a large chunk of time is not possible due to workload.
- Dress code—It’s important that you follow the O360 dress code—designed to reflect the dress norms of people in respected positions in the countries where we serve.
- Living accommodations—We will try to provide simple but reasonable living accommodations. There may be times when you are asked to live in non-ideal situations for a temporary period of time.
- Work location—Our focus is on our volunteers and donors, and the program serving the children we are working with. You may develop a preference to work in one location; you may be asked to work in a different location.
- Other interests—due to the workload and focus this job requires, you do not have the option to have outside jobs, etc. Any agreements you have for online classes, etc. should be discussed with and approved by an Outreach360 leader before arriving.
Your Words and Actions are no Longer Entirely Your Own
As is true when accepting any leadership position, your words and actions now represent you, the people you serve, and the organization you represent. You now need to consider how your words and actions will positively or negatively impact Outreach360, the countries where we work, the children we work with, and other leaders and volunteers.
- Bars/Drinking—Because we are working with many underage volunteers, and because the cultures where we work can quickly disrespect people drinking alcoholic beverages and hanging out at bars, bars and drinking are off6limits for Outreach360 representatives.
- Public communication—Communication with volunteers and potential volunteers, either in person or on6line, will not be disrespectful to Outreach360, the countries where we work, the people we serve, and volunteers and donors. Postings won’t be done that would cause a person to think less of Outreach360, or cause a person to not want to volunteer with Outreach360.
- Any concerns should be brought to those people who can actually make a difference – the person you are having an issue with or your Outreach360 leaders. Caminos agree to not gossip, not intentionally exclude others, and to keep lines of communication open.
- All public communication will be done in a professional manner.
Phone and Internet
Phone and internet is open on the weekend to Caminos. Internet can be unreliable in the small, rural towns where we work. Please strongly consider not making commitments to any other program, such as an online class while with us. Apart from the concern of you not having time to dedicate to it, the Internet being down could cause you to miss a critical deadline. We ask that you embrace the local culture of living in the moment and focusing on in-person relationships.
Religious and other Beliefs
Although we don’t need to agree with other people’s religious and other beliefs, we will not disrespect them. If you are Christian, you will not disrespect the beliefs of non-Christians. If you are not Christian, you will not disrespect the beliefs of Christians. The same is true of all religions, lifestyles, and beliefs. You do not need to agree with others, but you won’t publicly pass judgment.
- No one should feel invalidated or his or her beliefs invalidated because of something you communicate. Conversations should not be avoided, but should be done in a mature and respectful manner.
Commitment to Spanish
In order to be able to effectively work with the children in our program and interact with the community we ask that you come with a commitment to learn and/or improve Spanish skills. We have resources on site such as Pimsleur, Rosetta Stone, etc. and will support you in this.
Outreach360 is a great place to make friends and develop on-going relationships with others. The demands of the program, the small town environment, and the small size of your team make developing a new romantic relationship difficult and complicated. We ask that you not develop a relationship with locals in town, leaders, or volunteers, and youths in our program. Who you spend time with and build relationships as well as how you interact with them has an impact on the Outreach360 program. Caminos are asked not to spend time one-on-one with children ever.
Family and friends are invited to/strongly encouraged to volunteer with Outreach360 during your time with us. We ask that family and friends complete the same requirements as all other volunteers. We ask that they not visit you outside of the program as you will not be able to travel or have much time to spend with them and it can be a distraction to you and to our program. If your family/friends want to visit at the end of your volunteer time so that you can see more of the country with them please be aware of and respect our guideline to not stay in the volunteer area.
Termination of Outreach360 Service
I agree that upon completing my time with Outreach360, I will not remain living near the Outreach360 service site or provide services that could be competing with Outreach360 services, without the express written consent of Outreach360. I will not visit the town where Outreach360 works outside of volunteering with Outreach360 for one year after my completion date.
Caminos volunteers have a high level of responsibility and influence in the local community. Locals put a high value on appearance as a barometer of a person’s reputation and professionalism. Therefore all Outreach360 long-term volunteers and leaders are asked to maintain an even higher level of standards for personal appearance. Our main goal is for our appearances to not be a distraction to the children/students when teaching, or a detriment to the work and reputation of Outreach360 when interacting with locals and short-term volunteers.
Caminos are seen in the community on the same high level as professional teachers. Local teachers in the community are well groomed and clean-shaven. Most dress very formally and take great pride in their appearance. Caminos volunteers are asked to be neatly groomed and have good personal hygiene at all times.
- Hair – Both men and women with hair long enough to be pulled back will do so while teaching. It should be neatly pulled back in a ponytail. A neat braid or more formal up-do is acceptable for women. “Extreme” hairstyles, such as dreads, mohawks, dyeing an unnatural color, etc are not acceptable. Shaving of the head is not permitted for women.
- Facial hair – is allowed for men but must be neatly trimmed at all times. Mustaches may not extend below the upper lip. (We realize that “neatly trimmed” is a subjective guideline and ask that you strive to be professional by local standards. Most local teachers are clean-shaven, but we realize many men like to grow beards while volunteering. Please be aware of your presentation and open to being asked to trim your beard.)
- Tattoos – should be covered when possible while teaching.
- Jewelry – Women Caminos volunteers will limit their jewelry while teaching. Jewelry that could be distracting for the students should be avoided, such as dangly earrings, many bracelets, many rings, etc. A small nose piercing with a simple stud is permitted for females. Other facial piercings or visible body piercings are not permitted. Men will not wear earrings.
- Clothes should be in good condition – no holes, no large stains, not overly worn or “ragged.” Jeans should be in good condition (no tears or rips, even for fashion) and should not be skinny jeans or excessively tight. Please be aware of bringing any clothes that are too revealing. Clothes that are too tight, such as spandex are never permitted.
- Swimwear – One-piece swimsuits are required for women. (A “two piece” that shows absolutely no gappage in the middle section when swimming, laying on the beach, or leaning over is permitted, but bikinis are never permitted.) Speedos are not acceptable for men.
- Sunglasses and hats or bandanas may not be worn while teaching. Women can wear an appropriate hairband, especially if it gives the appearance of dressing6up and helps keep hair out of the face.
We ask that you remember that at all times in country you are representing Outreach360. It is possible that some detail has been overlooked or not enumerated here. If you have any concerns or questions please feel free to bring them to your supervisor at any time. If your supervisor asks you to make an adjustment, please understand that it is not personal. Your attitude and performance, even outside of appearance, are direct reflections on the Outreach360 program. You are expected to demonstrate professionalism and good judgment at all times.
Reasons To Volunteer Long-Term with Outreach360
You should consider joining Outreach360 if you are interested in…
- Leading short-term volunteer service-learning experiences.
- Educating North American families, high school students and college students about another culture.
- Inspiring volunteers to become passionate about service work.
- The importance of global awareness and believe in educating North Americans about issues like poverty and social injustice.
- Experiential learning
- Sustainable development through education
- Education as a sustainable solution to chronic issues like poverty
- Cultural Interaction (not immersion)
- Gaining Intercultural competency
- Serving in a developing country
- Making some personal sacrifices for the benefit of the students we serve.
- Living simply
- Being challenged to apply your skills and talents in creating effective lesson plans and learning activities for underprivileged students.
- Gaining international teaching experience working with disadvantaged children in educational settings.
- Making a meaningful difference in the lives of children.
- Empowering children to transform their lives through education.
- Overcoming the challenges of teaching in impoverished Latin American communities with underdeveloped educational systems and limitations imposed by extreme poverty.
Reasons NOT to Volunteer Long-Term with Outreach360
If the following statements apply to you or are your primary motivation for applying for a position we urge you not to apply or to seriously consider and discuss with an Outreach360 leader.
I want to be on my own and be free to do whatever I like. We work in extremely small towns where reputation is very important. This limits many aspects of our lives and some personal freedoms, such as: a very conservative dress code, no disco, no drinking/smoking, limited ability to build local relationships outside professional basis, staying in groups of two or more when off the volunteer compound.
I want to explore the country. We mostly stay in our small town, serving there. You will not have the freedom to travel around the country on your own while here. We do offer several opportunities throughout the summer to travel with the group.
I cannot live without being constantly connected to social media and/or friends back home. There is limited internet, available primarily for work use. Sometimes the internet or phones go out unexpectedly. (These are great opportunities to play games and hang out. We live simple lives here.)
I am an extremely picky/choosy eater. While most people love the food here, we do have a repetitive menu and do not have short order cooks. The kitchen is not open for personal use.
I want to use this experience to learn Spanish. Your Spanish will undoubtedly improve while here, however, you will spend much of your day interacting with English Speaking volunteers.
My main/only interest in this job is to live overseas/gain international experience. While a desire to live overseas and get international experience may be part of your motivation, it should not be a priority over our organization and this job being a good fit for you. This job is great international experience, however, it is vital that you assess if you are a good fit for our organization and this position. It not, then this is not the place for you and the fact that you gained international experience will not make the experience worth it.
I want to have a cultural immersion experience. While you will become an expert on the local culture and get to experience most aspects of it, you will not be living in the community with a family and speaking Spanish 24/7. Much of your focus is on the team of (North American) volunteers here.
I am focused on pursing a romantic relationship now. There is little time/opportunity for this to be a priority in your life when in country. Relationships back home often are a distraction and detrimental to your time/focus here. Relationships with a local in the community are not permitted for those on a one year (or less) commitment.