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"We are proud to set the standard in the industry for both safety and mission."
Jim and Donna Stein are the founders, owners and directors of The Road Less Traveled and have been at the helm since the very beginning of RLT. Get to know us - really know us. We encourage you to compare us to others, meet us, call Jim and Donna personally with questions, and find out what it is that has motivated and shaped us to do this work from the beginning.
As it becomes ever more difficult in the world of the web to separate the average from the exceptional, knowing who you are choosing to travel with and where your adventure will really take you is vital. We are responsible travelers and stewards of the world.
After a rapid increase in the number of experiential programs in the late 1980s and early 1990s, the need for standards of program quality, professional behavior, and appropriate risk management became imperative. We know that caring for travelers in remote and foreign destinations around the world is serious business. The Road Less Traveled is proud to set the standard in the industry for both safety and mission.
The Road Less Traveled's comprehensive leadership training session is held each year in mid-June on 60 acres of land in Southwest Michigan. Our carefully chosen leaders come together for an unparalleled intensive 10 day state of the art introduction to our philosophy, policies, procedures and protocols.
Training starts with an online pre-training module with sessions covering American Camping Association Standards.
Onsite training topics include RLT's vision of service in the world, cultural considerations, health, safety, sanitation, food management, team building skills, stages of group development, communication, leadership styles, gender considerations, country-specific health topics, transportation guidelines, vehicle safety, and medical protocols.
Prior to embarking on their programs, each leader team is fully briefed on detailed trip logistics, country specific emergency procedures, satellite phone usage, evacuation procedures.
Directors Jim and Donna Stein personally lead training along with a core group of past leaders with significant experience, as well as various professionals from relevant fields. Their goal is to ensure each leader is fully prepared to lead utilizing the solid foundation that has been created over the past three decades to provide the exceptional leadership for which we are known.
From our first day of business Donna and Jim have always operated with the belief that the young people who come on our programs are no different than if they were their own children. They have three children of their own who have all particpated on and led RLT programs. The Stein's oldest, Ben, is 29. After participating on and leading trips for many years, he graduated from Washington University in St. Louis and moved to San Francisco where he now resides and works. Their middle child, Callie, has also traveled the world with RLT as both student and leader. A graduate of Cal Berkeley, she has also settled in San Francisco, where she now works for Square. The Stein's youngest, Emma, currently attends school at Duke. She has also traveled as a participant on many RLT Trips including: Belize with RLT in 2015, India in 2014, and Noway and Ecuador in 2013 and has been a leader on our Nepal and Iceland programs. From our first day of caring for children on RLT, we have operated with the belief that the young people who come on our programs are no different than if they were our own. On RLT you become part of our family.
The Road Less Traveled has met and exceeded industry accepted and government-recognized standards for camping programs. Accredited since our first year of operation, we have voluntarily allowed our practices to be compared with over 300 standards established by professionals in the camp industry. Outside teams of trained camp professionals verify compliance with standards in the areas of health safety and program quality, including emergency procedures, program practices and design, health care, personnel policies, vehicle safety, goals and administration.
Purpose driven, RLT meets rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency for the benefit of all stakeholders, not just shareholders.
As a certified B Corp RLT we create higher quality jobs and improve the quality of life in our own community and in the communities where we travel. An increasingly powerful agent of change, B-Corps are helping pass laws and drive capital. Through our programs, practices and business we inspire to do no harm and benefit all.
In 2018, The Road Less Traveled is honored to have been included in B Lab's Best For The World list, which recognizes the B Corps that have taken the greatest strides to create measurable impact improvement over the last two years. In both 2017 and 2018, RLT was recognized in both the 'Best for Governance' and the 'Best Overall' categories.
A Benefit Corp is a deliberate effort to change the nature of business by changing corporate law. Benefit Corporation legislation creates the legal framework to enable mission driven companies like ours to stay mission-driven. Making our mission explicit in its legal structure, institutionalizing the values, culture, processes and the high standards we put in place over two decades ago as founding entrepreneurs means we can ensure our work is done and will continue in the spirit in which it was intended.... to “Do No Harm” - now, and well beyond our lifetime.
The Road Less Traveled is proud to be an official, registered Certifying Organization approved to review, verify and distribute one of the country’s highest honors—presidential recognition of service. Each student who successfully completes a community service program with RLT will receive a PVSA.
ALL programs are conducted through special permits granted by the U.S. Forest service, the National Park Service, and the Bureau of Land Management. RLT is committed to preserving the environment, the character of the lands and the cultures we visit. We acknowledge the influence we have on the earth and believe the quality of RLT programs is reflected in our mandate for education and our conscious commitment to protecting lands and waters. With thought and conscience, we educate about stewardship of the planet and work to make a difference each day.
MAIC - The Midwest Association of Independent Camps, Member
MAIC represents the top independently owned and operated summer camp programs in the Midwest. The organization educates and inspires camping professionals to be their very best. As a group of camp professionals dedicated to promoting high quality standards in organized camping, they offering children and their parents the best possible camp experience. Members of MAIC have been meeting together and sharing ideas, methods and practices since 1960.
CODA - Camp Owners and Directors Association, Member
The Camp Owners & Directors Association serves success-oriented camp professionals who together identify emergent issues and develop programs, services, and products to enhance camp business operations.