Each season we have the privilege of interviewing hundreds of potential trip leaders, all of whom are qualified college graduates, excited to share their specific passions and expertise. Of these inspiring candidates, we choose only those who best combine the practical knowledge of place, language, and culture with a deep desire to share such experiences with Putney Students and the leadership tools to do so effectively.
This powerful combination means Putney leaders are friends, mentors, cheerleaders, role-models, experts, and travelers, all rolled into one. They know that a Putney experience doesn’t end with the plane ride home — that their advice, perspective, support, and camaraderie often form part of a life-long connection. It is, in our view, the single most important ingredient in the recipe for “Putney magic.”
Below we feature stories, interviews, and highlights of past and present leaders. We also encourage you to read through the bios of all our leaders from last summer (a majority return each year) on the leader bio page.
• Featured Leaders •
Ben Gardner, a leader of Putney’s Community Service Tanzania program for much of the 1990s, recently published his book, Selling the Serengeti: The Cultural Politics of Safari Tourism. In his book, Ben explores varying approaches to community conservation and their impacts on northern Tanzania’s pastoralist, Maasai people.
Sasha Milonova, a three-time Putney leader, recently earned a master’s degree from the London School of Economics. We caught up with Sasha to discuss her academic focus, her own formative experience with community service, and her thoughts on the valuable impact that conscientious travel can have on students.
Ben Karl has led Putney programs to Paris and France since 2011, making him a big part of our leader family. Read on to hear about how he started a business as a translator, his perspective on the one real commonality among all Putney students, and how Putney trips are like “potions of experiences.”