Volunteer as a trekking guide
At Quetzaltrekkers, we are all working as volunteer guides and we manage virtually all aspects of the organization. In our office you won’t find a boss or a supervisor but you will find a tight-knit team of dedicated volunteers committed to the organization and the cause. We can’t think of a place where you’d be given this much autonomy and responsibility working as a volunteer. Life here can be hectic and the days can be long. Ultimately, though, working as a Quetzaltrekker guide is an incredibly rewarding experience and, well, a lot of fun.

Work description
As a trekking guide, you will be guiding (and soon leading) groups of people on our treks. This entails much more than just showing people the way up a volcano. You are there to make sure the trek runs smoothly and safely and your group is fed, watered and content. This is not always an easy task. You will also develop an awareness of the people, culture, history and ecology of the areas through which we trek and will share this knowledge with your group of trekkers (and with newer guides).

Guiding people on adventurous treks is just part of the job. At least half of your week will be spent in the Quetzaltrekker office, doing behind-the-scenes tasks to keep the whole operation running. These tasks might include food and equipment prepping, cleaning equipment, promoting treks, signing people up for treks, putting in time with the kids, shopping for treks, cooking, washing dishes, doing finances, answering phones and emails, updating the website and so on and so forth. It’s a long list.

You might also find time to come up with new ideas and new systems to make Quetzaltrekkers a better organization. Who knows what these ideas will be? The more successful we are, the more successful our projects can be and the greater impact we can make on the lives of Guatemalan children in need.

What we’re looking for
This is the kind of place where just about anyone with any skill set can come in and make their mark. We like to think we attract energetic and motivated volunteers that arrive with an eagerness to learn, work hard and take initiative. There are, however, a few minimum requirements candidates must meet in order to work with us:

  • A 3 month absolute minimum time commitment (not including a 10-day trial/training period beforehand);
  • Intermediate Spanish;
  • A first aid qualification;
  • Love of the outdoors, trekking, roughing it, (not sleeping) under the stars, getting wet, cold toes and lumpy oatmeal.;
  • Stellar people-skills, endless patience; and,
  • The ability to work and live as a member of a team.

What we offer volunteers
This isn’t one of those pay-to-volunteer type deals. On the other hand, the tangible perks on offer are minimal– this is still volunteering after all. Your biggest reward and motivation should be the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of the children we support.

Although you will be expected to cover your own living expenses while you’re here, these costs are likely to be minimal. Each guide pays only Q200 (or about $25) rent per month to live in the guide house and when you’re guiding treks, all of your expenses are covered.

Quetzaltenango is a cheap place to live in general and we guestimate guides can get by comfortably on between $100 and $150/month. As far as volunteering goes, we think this is a pretty good deal!

Volunteer at the Children’s Dormitory: Hogar Abierto
Hogar volunteers are there to assist the Hogar staff in the care, supervision and general education of the 15 kids that live full-time in our dormitory in the centre of Quetzaltenango. These kids are often former street-kids and come from difficult family backgrounds. Hogar volunteers are given a lot of autonomy to choose what activities they do with the kids with the main emphasis being on keeping the kids active, engaged and motivated.

Importantly, Hogar volunteers also act as a liaison between the kids and the Quetzaltrekkers guides. Because they have a much closer daily involvement with the kids, Hogar volunteers keep the guides updated on Hogar activities, attend guide-meetings and are an integral part of the Quetzaltrekkers team. It is also possible to combine volunteering at the Hogar with volunteering at EDELAC. Hogar volunteers normally find their own accommodation, but for long term volunteers it is possible to live in the QT Guide House.

What we are looking for
Working as a Hogar volunteer is a challenging but rewarding job. We ask that volunteers meet the following requirements:

  • A 2 month minimum time commitment;
  • A minimum intermediate Spanish language ability;
  • Availability at least 5 days per week, 5-6 hours per day;
  • Experience in children’s education and/or social work; and,
  • A strong desire to work with children and youth.
Volunteer at the Street School: EDELAC
EDELAC volunteers primarily work as teachers’ aides and are typically placed with a single class of students during their time here. These volunteers vastly improve the quality of education that we can offer the kids. This is especially the case with those students that require more individualized attention when they are studying and learning. Once again, these volunteers are given a lot of autonomy in their jobs and are invited to liven-up the curriculum with activities like theatre productions and art sessions. EDELAC volunteers normally find their own accommodation, but for long term volunteers it is possible to live in the QT Guide House.

What we are looking for
This is a great opportunity to directly help some of the region’s most underprivileged kids. We are looking for people with:

  • A 1 month minimum time commitment;
  • A beginner-intermediate Spanish language ability;
  • Availability at least 5 days a week from 8am to 1pm;
  • Experience in children’s education and/or social work; and,
  • A strong desire to work with children.

The next step...
Visit our profile on omprakash.org (external site) for extra information and testimonials from past volunteers.

The next step is then to contact us. We’ll have a few preliminary questions for you as well as information about our induction process to get the ball rolling.