What is an Encore Group Leader?
The Encore Group Leader is the designated person who is leading the international performance tour. Usually the Group Leader is the director of the touring ensemble or an assistant designated to put the touring arrangements together.
Encore Group Leaders assume basic responsibility for the following:
- Preparing their group for the trip
- Providing supervision, leadership and discipline on the trip (student groups)
- Handling emergency situations
As group leader, you already provide supervision and counseling to your participants, whether they are students, family or adults. This article is designed to assist you in the application of your skills and experience while on tour.
Setting the Tone
Our priority is to make your trip a success and to take care of every single detail. Your role is to supervise the conduct and oversee the well-being of the participants entrusted to you and to set the tone for the group. That means giving your participants daily cues on how to react to their new environment and learn from it. When participants return home, their impression of the trip will be a mirror image of your own.
For example, although frustrating experiences sometimes occur when traveling, they need not prevent your group members from having the time of their lives. If there are delays caused by traffic conditions or long lines, your task as “morale officer” will be to help the group rise above the situation. By putting a positive spin on things and meeting frustration with humor, you can turn minor delays and mishaps into experiences that your participants will joke about for years to come.
Discipline (for youth groups)
Please note, that you are the disciplinarian for your participants. Discipline is not the tour manager’s job. He or she will report any infractions to you and, of course, will intervene in an emergency situation. But as the group leader, you are the one directly responsible for your group.
The crucial elements of discipline are:
- Enforcing the curfew. We recommend that you check all the hotel rooms immediately after curfew.
- Knowing participants’ whereabouts. During free time, you should know where your participants are and when they will return. Students must always stay in groups of three or four when they’re on their own.
- Enforcing appropriate behavior in hotels.Participants should not interfere with the experiences of other hotel guests.
- Enforcing punctuality and maintaining schedules.
- Maintaining attentiveness. Participants should not talk, sleep or use headphones during commentary or announcements.
- Taking precautions. Remind your participants to carry a copy of their hotel list at all times in case they get separated from the group.
- Monitoring hotel rooms, especially on check-out day. This way, you can spot any room damage or any belongings left behind.
- Keeping participants together. You might take a combined group on an evening walking tour in exchange for the other group leader taking a combined group to an art gallery.
Assistant Group Leaders
The role of an assistant varies by group, but usually involves supporting the group leader before and during the tour. In the rare event that the group leader is temporarily unable to lead the group, the assistant should be ready to assume group leader responsibilities and should be familiar with the information contained in this manual.
Rules for Group Leaders
Encore Tours must have standard procedures in the unlikely event that a group leader neglects his or her duties. Although such events are extremely rare, this article would not be complete without a brief reference to such a possibility. In less serious cases, the tour manager will seek to rectify the matter on the spot. In a more serious case in which the safety or well-being of the group may be jeopardized, the tour manager will contact the nearest ACIS/Encore Tours office. A serious infraction could result in a group leader’s temporary suspension from the group or being removed from the trip and returned to the U.S. at his or her expense.
In Case of Emergency
You and the tour manager are primarily responsible for resolving emergencies involving any of your participants. Your tour manager has access to 24/7 support, but please remember that the tour manager has responsibility for the whole bus. If you have any problems before you meet your tour manager, including flight delays, it is your responsibility to call the Encore Tours/ACIS Emergency Number.
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