International Group Leader

The Role

Volunteer Posting – Group Leaders NYA 2019 International Team

Northern Youth Abroad (NYA) is a small, charitable organization that serves youth living in Nunavut and the Northwest Territories. We offer experiential education programs that seek to foster cross-cultural awareness, individual career goals, and global citizenship in Northern youth. Created in 1998 NYA has more than 500 program alumni from across Nunavut and the NWT, 98% of whom are Inuit, First Nation or Métis. Beginning in 1999, we have, to date, sent 25 teams to live and volunteer in Costa Rica, Botswana, Guatemala and Swaziland.

We are recruiting two volunteers who will travel as Leaders with this year’s International Team, likely to Costa Rica, for 7 weeks in July/August. The Leaders will also take part in the Participant Orientation (5 days) and Re-Orientation (3 days), a 3-day training, and some prep and wrap up activities.

Who We Are

We place a lot of emphasis on fit with the team. Read about who we are, what we do, and who we’re looking for.

Working at NYA

  • The most important aspect of every job at NYA is supporting the success of our Participants and Alumni. This means that our approach, hours and philosophies support their needs, their potential, and their excellence.
  • Our work and approach is directed by our guiding principles
  • We are a northern serving and northern focused organization. It’s important that every staff is knowledgeable and connected to the people and places that we serve. Through diversity, openness and collaboration NYA provides a unique opportunity to learn, share and grow, while reflecting the culture and lifestyle of the Canadian North.
  • NYA’s environment is a balance of fun, flexible and friendly, passionate and energetic and totally committed. This means that it is a good fit for people who like versatility, a fast pace, and like to work together to take on big challenges.
  • We consider ourselves a training organization and we offer lots of opportunities to be involved in program creation, learning new areas, and contributing ideas and input.

What You’ll Do

Before Orientation/Placement

  • Take part in a three-day training/planning
  • Get to know your co-leader (unless you have applied as a pair, then we assume you know each other well enough, but you can get to know each other better if you like)
  • Get to know the rest of the NYA team, learn about the organization, its philosophy and approach
  • Learn more about the program and project, and get familiar with project materials and information
  • Connect with Participants and begin the team building process
  • Learn more about Participants, and where they come from
  • Prepare for travel (passport, vaccines, medical review)
  • Any other program requirements (first aid training, etc).

During Orientation

  • Spend time with the team preparing for placement
  • Take part in Orientation activities and sessions and support the International Program Participants and their learning objectives, and preparation
  • Work with NYA Staff to ensure that Orientation runs smoothly, and that everything is ready for the team’s departure (this will include shopping, banking, packing etc).
  • Spend time with NYA Participants, Volunteers, Staff and Guests during five days together

During Placement

  • Lead, chaperone, coordinate, and mentor the team during international placement to ensure a safe and meaningful program, and create a fun, productive and harmonious team dynamic encouraging learning, growth and achievement. This includes staying onsite with the group and taking part in all activities.
  • Supervise the NYA participants taking responsibility for their safety and the effective execution of the project, under direction from the Executive Director.
  • Assist Participants with various aspects of their learning and personal growth and development
  • Report to the NYA office, including keeping in regular contact, fulfilling all reporting requirements and notifying the Executive Director of any unexpected situations or changes to any of the project parameters.
  • Ensure that NYA policies and procedures are followed at all times.
  • Handle all logistics and team coordination on placement, which includes facilitating and coordinating every element of group life (meals, shopping, travel, training and volunteer work). Team members are each expected to take on responsibility in each of these areas, but will require support and direction.
  • Supervise the completion of program requirements (program curriculum, volunteer work placement etc)
  • Manage placement budget and monies for program and participants
  • Be prepared for, anticipate and respond to changing needs relating to Participants, the project and its activities.

During Re-Orientation and After Placement

  • Attend Re-Orientation, focusing on wrapping up placement details, final time with the team, and reporting
  • Debrief the experience, providing feedback and recommendations for the future, as well as highlighting supports that Participants could benefit from post-placement
  • Complete final reporting including Participant evaluations, a narrative report and project evaluation, and full financial tracking. Final reports are due by September 30th
  • Submit all financial receipts with tracking


  • Act as positive role models for Participants
  • Carry out NYA’s vision, mission, and guiding principles
  • Work in a collaborative, open and supportive manner with all stakeholders including Participants, other staff and volunteers, and program partners

What You’ll Bring

  • Demonstrated experience in leading youth, project management, international travel etc, through a combination of work experience and education, that has prepared you for this new challenge.
  • Strong interest in facilitating a new and exciting experience for Participants.
  • Familiarity with international development, leadership training, cross-cultural learning and experiential education.
  • Great understanding of group dynamics, creating a positive team environment, and an ability to work with young people dealing with homesickness, culture shock and new and challenging circumstances.
  • We strongly encourage applications from NYA Alumni, and others with a connection to the North, including Inuit, First Nations and Métis candidates. For all candidates, knowledge of the Canadian North and its people is a strong asset.
  • To be a natural trouble shooter and solution finder.
  • Experience working in a supportive role with youth. A strong desire to play a key role on a small team – we value relationships that are based on kindness, generosity, collaboration and mutual support.
  • Comfort with technology, report writing, and tracking finances and budgets.
  • Comfortable working in dynamic circumstances, sometimes under pressure
  • Drivers license (preferred)
  • Speaking Spanish would be great! But, isn’t necessary.

Terms of Service

March – June: Minimal commitment. 2-3 Conference calls and one mandatory three-day training weekend (likely in the Ottawa area)

June 28th – August 22nd: Fulltime, onsite commitment including placement with the participants, travel preparation, Orientation and Re-Orientation

September: Minimal commitment to complete wrap up tasks. (Report submission, de-briefing etc.)

What’s Provided

All travel, accommodation, food, insurance, and incidentals are covered during all aspects of placement, the training weekend and at the orientation and re-orientation. A modest honorarium of $1000 will be paid to Group Leaders at the successful completion of the assignment.

Seem Like a Good Fit?  What Now?

Fill out the below form and let us see what you’ve got. While we want each applicant to show us what makes them a great fit, we are only able to contact applicants who are invited for a personal interview. Please no phone calls.

The deadline to apply is Monday February 18th. There is a FAQ for this position that we really recommend you check out as it has even more information about this unique role. We would be pleased to accept applications from qualified pairs as well as individuals. If you are applying as a pair make this clear in your cover letter and indicate whether you would also be willing to be considered as an individual.

Here’s a PDF of the job description – Group Leader 2019 Posting