OUR HISTORY - The Road
It has been over 20 years since we began The Road Less Traveled. It was a sunny summer afternoon in Chicago, when we purposefully took pen to an illustrious “yellow pad of paper” at our kitchen table and made a choice to follow a dream. We had no idea where it would lead us or what the future would hold. Our hope as new parents and pioneers of an adventure travel program was to create a one-of-a-kind life changing experience for youth that would transform peoples lives around the world. We were young, passionate, and convinced we could make a difference.
As we look back over the past two decades we realize we could never have anticipated what was being created that summer afternoon. We have grown into an internationally recognized and respected company with service learning, language, leadership, adventure, family, educational and global perspectives programs in 17 countries around the world. Over the years, thousands of young people have joined us on “The Road.”
Our goal was and remains to support young people to get outside, seek adventure, experience challenge, make new friends, build community and understand the world and its people in a different way. We knew the most important gift we could give the developing minds and hearts of young people was a deeper sense and understanding of the world -- first hand. One that was not conveyed through media, Facebook, or Youtube clips. One formed for themselves - outside themselves. Our vision was simple, to help them see and believe in themselves and their individual and collective abilities to impact and shape our world and the future of the 21st century. Our contribution was to give them the foundation to discover this for themselves in a safe and healthy environment.
In our twenty years of working with young people we have learned a few things -- children who experience certain formative life “lessons” before they are launched into the world actually do better. These lessons are not the ones measured by standardized test scores. They can only be experienced by taking controlled risk, moving outside one’s comfort zone, trying new things and expanding one’s horizons. And, trust us -- the investment is worth it. Filled with confidence, self-reliance, excitement and new ideas, our young people return home with something more to offer – to their schools, communities, and to the world.
Each day we see the value of life on “The Road.” With sensitivity and compassion, curious minds and open hearts, our students are entering the world and contributing in powerful, significant, and meaningful ways. Their work has and continues to surpass our greatest hopes.