GoBeyond The Typical Summer Camp Experience…
If you’re exploring GoBeyond for the very first time, you may be attracted by pictures of foreign lands, epi sunsets or exhilarating adventure activities, yet for our alumni who have experienced it and keep coming back for more, the appeal goes far deeper.
Fred DeVito once wrote, “If it doesn’t challenge you, it won’t change you”, and this sentiment speaks to the core of what we believe. At GoBeyond we create Journeys. While a trip is predictable, a journey is an exciting voyage, oftentimes outside of one’s comfort zone to experience new places, different cultures andalternative perspectives. A journey also holds real potential for discovering much about yourself, your beliefs and what you hold important in life. Beyond experiencing the adventure of a lifetime and contributing to positive change in the world, I hope that at some point you’ll feel challenged. We believe that overcoming these challenges will help shape you as a person and lead to empowerment.
The GoBeyond course design is multifaceted, highly experiential and, with authentic service at its core, makes a meaningful difference in the communities we serve. By encouraging reflection and debate within a supportive small group setting, our students are given a framework to build on their journey. GoBeyond your borders – GoBeyond what you thought yourself capable of – GoBeyond your expectations… Where will your journey take you?
– Mike Meighan, Director
We feel that taking action as an agent for effecting change can help make a lasting difference. Whether in the Caribbean, Europe, Asia, Central or South America, we work in collaboration with local, national and international service organizations to further their goals and aspirations. These relationships enable students to become part of significant, well-established local projects while gaining firsthand knowledge specific to the region and culture in which they are living. Skills and learning are fostered through hands-on participation. Each program location offers a distinctive focus.
Team building, leadership and self-reliance development are natural parts of living and working in a close community with common goals. All programs focus on these and are further enhanced during the Lifeworks Forum. Unique to GoBeyond is that when our time is up we are able to offer financial help with a direct donation to the service organizations with which we have worked. This helps fund these and other projects in an ongoing way. Additionally, many U.S. students are enrolled in the President’s Volunteer Service Award – an official recognition from the executive branch of the government for outstanding students in voluntary community service.
While taking part in a GoBeyond Project, you are guaranteed to grow from your experience and develop a sense of achievement by doing things of which you never thought yourself capable. It might be from the broadening of knowledge gained through interacting with new people from different cultures or from the feeling that you are doing your part to help. You might also acquire a greater appreciation for the world in which you live and the things that you hold important in your life.
How we got here…
As a young man, GoBeyond Co-Founder, Jim Stoll, developed a passion for youth education when he turned the usually quiet summer season at his family’s marina into a thriving summer sailing school for teenagers.
In 1970, Jim expanded the concept, taking his school to the water full-time. Jim sailed the Atlantic waters aboard 156′ Te Vega and 175′ Te Quest, enrolling 86 teenagers every year in a high school program of study and travel. Twelve years later, with children of his own, Jim moved back ashore to develop his motivational programs for young adults. In the mid-eighties he once again headed to the water and the summer adventure program ActionQuest was born.
In 1995, Jim was joined by Mike Meighan. A recent oceanography and marine biology graduate, Mike dreamed of creating a truly interactive educational experience. Using the principles of ActionQuest, Mike developed Sea|mester – a live-aboard college accredited semester at sea program.
Sea|mester brings academics from the textbook into real-life application. Sea|mester acquired the 88-foot school ship, S/Y Ocean Star, in 1998. After an extensive re-fit, she headed for the Caribbean and continues to ply the waters of the Lesser Antilles today.
During Sea|mester’s infancy, Jim helped his teenage son, Jason, achieve a life goal – sailing around the world. Between 1997 and 1999, Jim joined his son for parts of the voyage. Their travels led to the creation of new programs in the Galapagos, Tahiti, Fiji and Australia. Looking to give something back to the communities that had supported ActionQuest and Sea|mester for so long, in 2002, Jim and Mike teamed up with local, national and international organizations so students could embark on meaningful service projects around the world. GoBeyond had been born!
The steady growth of Sea|mester allowed us to achieve a major goal in 2006 with the completion of a new 112-foot school ship, S/Y Argo. Since her launch she has circumnavigated the globe twice, offering those students the chance to cross oceans while furthering their educational and personal goals. Today, under the banner of Global Expeditions Group, our programs ActionQuest, Sea|mester and GoBeyond span the world and have changed the lives of thousands of teenagers.