Sprout leaders travel, have fun and contribute to the lives of others by co-leading vacations throughout the United States for small groups of people with developmental disabilities. Groups usually consist of 11 participants and 3 Sprout leaders.
What do vacation leaders do?
Sprout leaders’ primary goal is to give adults participants the opportunity to experience and enjoy recreational, educational and leisure activities through vacations. Leaders are responsible for the overall safety and enjoyment of their group, 24 hours a day, while on a Sprout trip. Duties include safety monitoring, personal hygiene assistance, providing physical and emotional support, activity planning, budgeting, logistics, and enhancing fun. The work is hard yet immensely rewarding as you develop leadership skills and gain insight into your own abilities.
Who are Sprout participants?
Our participants are generally 21 and older, with an average age ranging from the mid-40’s to mid-50’s.While most participants can be classified as moderate-to-high functioning, individual needs will vary. Some individuals will require a fair amount of assistance with basic living skills, while others will be quite independent.
What type of training is provided?
Leaders must complete a two-day training which provides the necessary procedures and tools to run a safe, successful and enjoyable vacation. Leaders who are drivers receive extra training on how to safely drive our 15-passenger vans. In addition, all leaders receive a copy of Sprout’s Leadership Handbook to help with policies and guidelines. All leadership teams have a Primary Leader. This title is reserved for leaders who have participated in many trips and who have demonstrated an understanding of trip logistics and the overall Sprout philosophy. These leaders are responsible for much of the on-the-road training that new leaders experience during their first trips with Sprout. If any additional support is needed, Sprout Leadership Staff are on call 24 hours a day.
What is the time commitment?
Sprout vacations last 3 – 7 days depending on the time of year and destination of the trip. Sprout trips begin and end near our office in New York City; therefore all leaders need to be available to meet there. Some leaders choose to only lead one or two trips a year, while others work for several consecutive months. Sprout strives to make our program flexible for our leaders’ schedules.
Can I become a Sprout leader if I do not live in New York City?
Yes. The Workcamp Leader position is ideal for individuals coming from other parts of the U.S. or abroad who want to volunteer with Sprout for a definite amount of time. Workcamp commitments are usually from 3 to 10 weeks with the possibility of extending based on trip availability and the leaders’ trip performance. The workcamp starts with a two-day training in the Sprout office and trip schedules are discussed with Leaders at that time. Workcampers help out with the Vacations Program, NYC Program and light office work, while also receiving some time off to enjoy New York. In exchange, Sprout will provide Workcamp Leaders with dormitory-style lodging between trips.
What are the benefits of volunteering with Sprout?
Being a Sprout leader is a challenging yet rewarding experience. Not only will you make a difference in the lives of individuals with disabilities, but you’ll also develop long-lasting friendships with both participants and our other leaders while gaining leadership skills. Additionally, Sprout provides our leaders with either a small stipend or dormitory-style lodging between trips as well as all expenses paid while leading vacations trips (food, lodging, activities).
Do leaders have any personal time while on a trip?
Sprout trips are working vacations for the leaders who choose to participate. Because Sprout leaders are responsible for their group 24 hours a day, there is no personal time allotted. In order to provide proper supervision to our participants, Sprout leaders must be present throughout the duration of the trip. If there is time in the schedule between trips, leaders will have free time in New York City.
What type of vacations does Sprout offer?
A majority of Sprout trips take place within a day’s drive of New York City. Destinations include Atlantic City, Amish Country, Boston, Lake George, Cleveland, Maine and Virginia Beach. Exotic trips like cruises, Hawaii, and Europe are presented to leaders who have demonstrated high levels of commitment, service hours and have gained positive feedback from participants, co-leaders and Sprout office staff.
Are there any special skills or requirements?
No special background or education is required to become a Sprout leader. We encourage people from all cultures and professions, and of all ethnic and educational backgrounds. Individuals capable of driving a 15-passenger van are preferred.
- No Experience necessary!
- Must be at least 21 years old
- Fluent English
- Complete a successful interview
- Provide references
- Pass necessary background and reference checks
- Successfully complete a 2-day training
- Comfortable interacting with people with developmental disabilities
- An ability to add to the participant’s enjoyment while on the trip
- Drivers License and willingness to drive a 15 passenger van is preferred, but not mandatory