Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Volunteer Spotlight: Fred Locher

What's your involvement with the hostel?
I volunteer giving travel presentations as part of the Travel & Taste series with REI-Whole Foods. They only occur once a month, so I decided to get more involved and be a volunteer guide as well leading travelers to events around the city. It´s been a lot of fun so far! I enjoy trying to put together unique events that are not only interesting to me, but also to someone who is only in Chicago for a few days. I´ve been trying to keep the events more cultural with a small outing afterwards for those that want to continue the night on a more social level.

What initially motivated you to get involved at the hostel? And what do you enjoy about it now that you're doing it?

I initially attended a Taste & Travel event on Brazil at REI & Whole Foods. After the event I inquired about being a travel presenter volunteer for some of the countries I have visited. Also, I enjoy traveling and thought it would be a great way to continue to stay in touch with other travelers while meeting people from around the world. I am always curious as to what brings people to Chicago and I want them to have a good impression of our city. From my personal travel experience, I know that sometimes it can be tough meeting other travelers and I thought that by leading events I can help to make it easier for hostellers to meet each other. The events I have led so far have been a lot of fun and I think the travelers enjoy the uniqueness of them as they typically aren´t what you´d see in the guidebook. It has given them a different, more local perspective on the city. The visitors seem appreciative that someone would go out of their way to show them around, so that has been rewarding enough for me.

What is your own personal history with traveling and hostelling?
I took my first around the world trip in 2000 and fell in love with traveling and learning about other cultures. I haven´t looked back since. It´s mostly been in Europe and Central/South America that I´ve stayed at hostels or guest houses. I enjoy taking long trips and staying in hostels helps to keep the price down. In addition, it´s a great way to meet other travelers and learn about the places they´ve been or recommend. It´s an amazing network of global citizens.

Describe your ideal trip in just a couple of sentences.
My ideal trip is a bit off the main tourist path trying to get to a place before the mainstream travelers do. Culture is important for me as well as a bit of adventure. I am in a hostel now in Nicaragua as I write this and it has it all so far!

Introducing Travelixir!

Are you afflicted with the travel bug? Need a fix, but no big adventures on the horizon? In comes Travelixir, a party for travelers by travelers, where you can flaunt that surreal picture you took of the salt pans in Bolivia or retell that story about the time you hung out with monks in Nepal without a set of glazed over eyes in the house.

Come join Chicagoans who love to travel, those that aspire to travel, and HI-Chicago guests currently in transit for the first of many Travelixir parties!

WHEN: Thursday, March 10 from 7-10pm

WHERE: Delilah's, Chicago's favorite whiskey bar

WHAT: A party sponsored by HI-Chicago and STA Travel to treat your wanderlust blues. NO COVER!

WHAT ELSE: A travel photo contest - party-goers vote on their favorite, and the winner gets a $150 travel voucher (good for airfare, accommodations, and other travel-related costs)

AND EVEN MORE: Free giveaways from Corepower Yoga, Flirty Girl Fitness, Kingston Mines, and Shoreline Sightseeing

DRINK SPECIALS: $3 Bushmills Whiskey and $3 Regional Drafts

E-mail jsmith@hichicago.org with 1 photo from your travels (include a name for the photo) to enter the contest and RSVP. You must be present at the party to win.

(You don't have to RSVP to attend, but you MUST submit your photo by March 9 to be part of the contest).

See you there!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Summer Internship Opportunities at HI-Chicago

Hostelling International-Chicago is looking for outstanding college students or recent grads for our summer internship program. Interns work for a minimum of 24 hours per week for 8 weeks to receive free housing in an apartment-style suite in the hostel.


Education and Youth Outreach Internship
Help bring Hostelling International Chicago's powerful cultural education programs to over 700 youth throughout the city of Chicago and the nation during the year. Our mission-based programs use strong educational objectives to achieve meaningful outcomes with participants. Learn more about the hostel’s programs on our Community Outreach page.

■Report to Education Coordinator and Educational Programs Coordinator
■Assist in curriculum development and delivery of all hostel educational programs
■Some administrative duties including research, fundraising and communications with youth groups
■Prepare for programs at the hostel, including grocery shopping and set-up
■Position requires some evenings and weekends with student groups

■Current enrollment in institute of higher learning or graduate of same, preferable education major
■Ability to work with economically disadvantaged youth ages 8-18
■Experience with program development and delivery
■At least one strong reference

Nonprofit Management: Activities and Volunteer Coordinator
Help enhance the stays of HI-Chicago guests and bolster the traveler community in Chicago.

■ Reports to Activities and Volunteer Coordinator (AVC)
■ Recruit, train and manage volunteers in conjunction with the AVC
■ Create and facilitate new traveler programs, outings, walking tours
■ Facilitate community partnerships with local businesses and non-profit organizations
■ Develop social media outreach strategy

■ Current enrollment in institute of higher learning
■ Excellent interpersonal skills
■ Excellent organization skills
■ Outstanding ability to think creatively
■ Ability to work on projects independently
■ Good computer skills with MSWord, Excel, Outlook and PowerPoint

Media and Public Relations
Gain diverse PR and media experience in a non-profit, multi-faceted work environment

■ Develop the story of the hostel, tailored to specific audiences and media contacts
■ Assist staff and volunteers with events including quarterly fundraisers
■ Secure media coverage of the hostel through local, national and international media
■ Assist in enhancement of hostel’s image trough public relations efforts
■ Develop PR strategies for the hostel

■ Current enrollment in institute of higher learning
■ Public relations experience and aptitude
■ Excellent verbal and written communication skills
■ Good computer skills with MSWord, Excel, Outlook and PowerPoint

Customer Service and Hospitality Internship
Work at the front desk of the hostel and learn the ropes of customer service and hospitality. Learn about the travel industry in a fast-paced and hands-on environment.

■ Report to the Assistant General Manager and Front Desk Manager
■ Work at the hostel’s busy front desk, checking guests in and out and taking reservations
■ Become proficient on Roommaster, the reservation database that the hostel utilizes
■ Help with housekeeping management as needed
■ Take travelers out on an outing at least once per month

■ Current enrollment in institute of higher learning or graduate of same
■ Exceptional communication skills
■ Experience with multi-cultural work or study environments
■ Excellent customer service skills
■ At least one strong reference

Ready to Apply?
Deadline for summer internships is March 15th, 2011. Please send your resume, cover letter, transcripts, and one letter of recommendation to Jessica Smith at jsmith@hichicago.org.

Learn more about Hostelling International Chicago and what we're all about at : hichicago.org.