What is AMIGOS Project Staff?
AMIGOS project staff are the young professionals who lead our programming in the countries where we operate.
Project staff members are:
This is more than a job; it is a leadership experience that tests you both personally and professionally. It will make you grow in ways you did not even think possible. AMIGOS project staff roles prepare you for a future in any career field, equipped with soft and hard skills.
We hope that you accept the challenge to step out of your comfort zone and join the AMIGOS family!
Differences Between Roles
All of the roles on our project staff teams are critical to the success of the projects. Each role serves a specific purpose. See the job descriptions for more information.
The PD leads the show. They work closely with their direct supervisor to plan, implement, and evaluate a meaningful project for our youth volunteers and local partners. The PD manages the AMIGOS project staff team, mentors fellow staff members, and provides general oversight of the project. They ensure day to day tasks are complete and and that students and staff are safe and healthy. They also manage the funds and ensure ethical spending and proper tracking. They form part of Senior Staff.
The PD will be onsite prior to other staff members, and will plan out the project in collaboration with local partner organizations. On some program models, the APD will also assist with initial planning and paperwork.
Logistics: All PDs will arrive to their assigned country on April 10th. From April 10-14, they will attend an in-person training with all of the other PDs working in that country. The training will be led by AMIGOS HQ Staff and their in-country direct supervisor, and will be complemented by mandatory online training. All in-person training costs are covered by AMIGOS including lodging, food, and first aid certification. Starting on April 14th until the APD arrives on site in late May or early June, the PD will be responsible for securing their own lodging and food. During this independent time, the PD will have a Monday-Friday role with some weekend and evening responsibilities. All travel, lodging, and food costs related directly to AMIGOS work will be covered by us. The PD work plan will be determined along with their Direct Supervisor. Once the APD arrives, AMIGOS will provide housing and food for the PD, APD, and other staff members through the end of the project.
The APD is part of senior staff along with the PD. They share the responsibility of leading the team alongside the PD. On some projects, the APD will also directly mentor volunteers. This is a great entry role to serving on AMIGOS senior staff. The APD will be responsible for ethically spending money and tracking funds, coordinating with partners and service providers, and facilitating activities.
Logistics: The APD will complete online training. Depending on the project modality, they will support with initial planning. They arrive to the project site 7–20 days before volunteer arrival. Their lodging and food are covered for the entirety of their contract period with AMIGOS.
This Psup position is focused on two main things: mentoring/supporting volunteers and facilitating program activities. They will assist with health and safety monitoring and will directly support volunteers. Their full focus is the volunteers and ensuring they have a safe and enjoyable learning experience. They also collaborate on project evaluation and ongoing paperwork. Depending on the project structure, they may support with some logistics, planning, and facilitating training activities.
Logistics: The Psups will complete online training. They arrive to the project 5-12 days before volunteer arrival. Their lodging and food are covered for the entirety of their contract period with AMIGOS.
All of our projects are unique, fun, and educational. Learn more about the specifics through our project pages.
AMIGOS training is rooted in your leadership development. Through training, you will learn the functions of your role, including leadership skills you will carry throughout your career.
Four key training areas: Leadership, Cultural Humility, Ethical Service, Health and Safety.
AMIGOS project staff training is tailored to your role, ensuring you have the information and training necessary to do your job well. It looks slightly different for each role.
This year, training will be online, asynchronous, and largely at your own pace with fixed deadlines for work products and quizzes.
We have three mandatory and live online sessions.
See below for the specifics for each role:
Exact training hours will be confirmed in the process of the acceptance of the role.
Standards of Conduct
The AMIGOS Standards of Conduct are an integral part of building and growing leadership skills. Their primary purpose is to help keep volunteers and project staff safe. The project staff’s adherence to the Standards of Conduct is the primary way that AMIGOS works towards ensuring their health and well-being during the program and positive interactions with partners. The Standards of Conduct come from many years of experience and recommendations.
Standards of Conduct
The AMIGOS project staff will:
*Project Directors are permitted to consume alcohol until their APD arrives on site. At that point, no alcohol is allowed until the end of the contract period.
**Project Directors are permitted to pursue amorous relationships until their APD arrives on site. At that point, they will need to maintain platonic relationships. Amorous conduct or relationships with community members, program staff, partner agency representatives or service providers, or volunteers is not permitted at any time during the contract period.
Professional Code of Conduct
At AMIGOS, we do our best to be professional, culturally appropriate, and respectful. As such, we follow a professional code of conduct and dress code for volunteers and project staff.
During your time as a staff member or as a volunteer, you are representing yourself, the values and mission of AMIGOS, our partner organizations, and your country. It is necessary to present yourself appropriately and professionally throughout your participation with AMIGOS. The way you present yourself is a crucial part of collaborating cross-culturally in local communities and with partner agencies. Please follow the guidelines below that apply to all genders.
Consider the versatility of your clothing choices as packing space is limited.
Things You Should Know
Being a member of AMIGOS project staff is immensely rewarding and it is a challenging experience. It is important for you to take the following into consideration:
Benefits and Why to Join Project Staff
If you want to make a lot of money this summer, this is not the job for you. However, serving on AMIGOS project staff provides skill-building and professional development opportunities in addition to some perks!
Soft Skills Development:
Soft skills are non-technical skills that relate to how you work. They include how you interact with colleagues, how you solve problems, and how you manage your work. These are not only job skills but life skills that will help you succeed both personally and professionally.
Hard Skills Development:
Hard skills are objective, quantifiable skills gained through training, school, or work experiences. Hard skills are often usually something that can be taught or learned.
While being on project staff may not be your typical job, it will provide you with lifelong skills, an amazing community of people, and the chance to visit new places.
What Are Project Staff Doing Now?
Mateo Rojas, Peru ’14, Costa Rica ’19
After graduating from UC Santa Barbara in 2019, I returned to Amigos de las Américas as a Project Supervisor for the project in Palmares, Costa Rica. I guided eight volunteers staying in four rural host communities through a program similar to the one I participated in in 2014, and I supported these volunteers by working with community leaders to identify and mobilize resources within the community. It was extremely fulfilling for me to mentor these volunteers through the program and demonstrate the importance of living within a culture and speaking with the people when organizing a project.
During my time as a project supervisor, I practiced constructive problem-solving skills within the framework of asset-based community development while holding a leadership position in an organization that collaborates with locals to create lasting and tangible change. Anecdotes from San Rafael de Platanares, a town I worked with, confirmed my trust in this approach. A community member shared that a previous sewage tunnel project that AMIGOS volunteers had co-facilitated allowed their children to walk back home from school without having to submerge their feet in a flooded road on rainy days. The volunteers and host family I worked with in San Rafael that summer were also overjoyed to see their rain gutter project work seamlessly and prevent the house flooding that had previously occurred on their street.
My experiences in Costa Rica and Peru built on my studies and influenced me more profoundly than my coursework ever could. Through this learning process, I have integrated a few philosophies that lay the foundation for my professional goals.
Maren Walsh, Panama ‘15, Dominican Republic ‘16, Dominican Republic ‘18
I was a volunteer in Azuero, Panamá in 2015, and San Juan, Dominican Republic in 2016. I returned to the Dominican Republic in 2018 as a supervisor. When I was a supervisor in the Dominican Republic, my communities were quite close to the community I had lived in as a volunteer two years before. It just so happened that many of the new people I was meeting were good friends with people from my old host community. Once, I was eating dinner with an old man who was “best friends” with another old man I knew but hadn’t seen in years. I didn’t know if he remembered me or not. We called him up on the phone to say hello. Not only did he remember me, but he had heard through the grapevine that I was in the Dominican Republic and wanted to know why I hadn’t come to visit him yet.
AMIGOS fundamentally altered my academic and professional goals. Because of this program, I am an International Studies major focusing on Latin America. I took a semester off before starting college to travel in Colombia and Chile. This semester I am studying in Cuba, and next semester I will be studying in Argentina. I hope to work internationally after graduating. I would never have done these things if I hadn’t been an AMIGOS volunteer.
Keylor Aguilar, Costa Rica ’22
Mi rol fue como Coordinador de Proyectos en Montañas y Mar. Yo describiría mi rol como dinámico, ya que llevamos a cabo muchas actividades en general. La oportunidad que tenemos de conocer a jóvenes dentro de AMIGOS es impresionante. El espacio y conexión que uno crea con los voluntarios es especial, es donde más aprendemos de ellos y de nosotros mismos.
El entrenamiento que llevamos a cabo sobre la salud mental fue muy importante.
Es una de las partes de “training” de las que más me acuerdo – los primeros auxilios relacionados con la psicología. Fue fundamental para los chicos y para entender cómo se sienten en determinados momentos y qué planes de acción llevar a cabo. Creo que eso en el training fue impresionante, para nosotros entender cuándo es el momento correcto para actuar, o guiarlos por su proceso emocional.
Yo le recomendaría a la gente que aplique! Mi consejo sería ser flexible – porque hoy estás acá, pero mañana puede que estés en otro ralo llevando a cabo otra actividad. Pero yo alentaría a la gente y les diría que lo hagan! Si AMIGOS te selecciona es porque ellos saben que estás preparado para esta experiencia inolvidable. Es una experiencia muy grata. Después de esta experiencia, voy hablar con mis compañeros y compañeras para ver cómo seguir trabajando con AMIGOS en más proyectos en el futuro, con las herramientas que llevo conmigo ahora. Después de este primer proyecto, me siento preparado para asumir otro rol.
This summer was definitely challenging but also super rewarding. I think I grew a lot both professionally and personally, and while it was difficult at times, I am really happy that I got to have this experience.
This summer has been one of the biggest learning experiences I’ve had in my life. It was amazing to implement such a great program. The experience was both challenging and fulfilling and taught me about the life and professional skills I had and [those that] I gained.
Fué una gran experiencia para mí, llena de aventuras y aprendizajes. En general lo describo como un proceso de crecimiento y desarrollo profesional, en el cual pude aprender muchísimo de varios campos, sentirme mas confiado y seguro personalmente.
Fulfilling. The work was hard but wonderful.
My experience working with AMIGOS was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for growth.
It was an amazing but challenging experience. It definitely pushed me out of all my comfort zones, but I feel great of being able to achieved many goals. I learned a lot from others and from myself. Life changing!
Fue una experiencia increíble que sumó mucho en mi vida personal, y espero poder ser parte de Amigos en algún otro proyecto o de alguna manera. Es super retadora y llena de dificultades, pero hay mucho soporte detrás y eso hace que todo sea más fácil.
AMIGOS taught me a lot about myself, my perception, and my leadership. It opened me to a new country, where I had to look inward for comfort and outward to my team for support. It exposed me to young leaders who had differences in perspective, opinions, and experience. It taught me what it really meant to be a mentor.
AMIGOS has helped me to feel more confident in my ability to connect with others and work in various challenging settings. I was pushed outside of my comfort zone with the work that I needed to do, as I wasn’t used to being responsible for so much paperwork and logistics. But I learned valuable skills and how to stay organized, which involves journaling out my responsibilities. I have also realized how much I love living in another culture and experiencing another way of life, and I hope to continue to do so in the future.
Aprendí muchísimo de mí mismo, y de las habilidades que tengo para resolver problemas. Me di cuenta de mi potencial y de lo que soy capaz de hacer.
AMIGOS has made me a better communicator, decision-maker, and teammate. AMIGOS has taught me that I can do anything I set my mind to and that I am capable of taking on huge responsibilities. It has also taught me that if you believe in others, the capacity in the others is pretty huge too!
Living this experience changed me in many aspects and ways, at personal and professional levels. At a personal level, it was challenging and touching for me seeing myself on this role, when a participant of AMIGOS YA Program, I dreamt a lot about being a staff member, and now that we are finished, I am proud of having had a successful experience on the role. Also on the professional level, it made me realize that I enjoy a lot doing this kind of job, so now I feel more focused on what I want to do in the near future.
En gran área, siento que Amigos me hizo crecer muchísimo, mas de lo que pensaba. Me hizo tener otra perspectiva, otra mentalidad. Pude aumentar mi confianza y seguridad en el momento de realizar distintas cosas.