For Parents

Many of us at GoBeyond are parents too. My wife Jo and I learned first hand what it actually feels like to send a child to a faraway place when our son, Joshua, boarded a plane to the British Virgin Islands. Like you, we had high expectations, lofty goals and some valid concerns.

Joshua had been to the BVI for a portion of every summer since he was born; yet always with “mom and dad”.  Now he was out on his own, facing the social and emotional challenges that our Journeys are designed to create. Turns out he had a great time and we believe he grew greatly from his experience.  He came home with lots of great stories about his Journey and his new friends from all over the world but more important was his obvious sense of accomplishment. He was proud of what he and his team had achieved and was more confident in his own abilities.

On the flip side, Jo and I gained a greater appreciation for the journey that you, as parents and guardians, also embark upon from that moment you take the plunge to enroll your child to the moment you welcome them home. We can’t do this without the trust and belief that parents put in us, yet we understand that this trust can only be earned over time. We hope that this section will start to answer some of those important questions we know that most parents will have as they explore whether this experience is right for their family.

– Mike Meighan, Director

Meighans

The vision and mission of a GoBeyond journey is to help transform communities, environments, and students’ lives through meaningful cross-cultural service adventures.

We believe in each individual’s unique potential to affect positive change, so in bringing together teams of talented and driven young adults, we amplify our ability to create a positive ripple effect that we hope will continue long after our journey concludes.

Our Impact

Beyond experiencing the adventure of a lifetime and creating lasting memories, we believe the GoBeyond Journeys enable lasting positive change in the world.

 

teen-travel-worksAs parents ourselves, we understand that you want your kids to grow to be independent; capable of making positive choices that enable them to maximize their strengths, overcome their weaknesses and reach their fullest potential. Perhaps our hope for their happiness and success is at its strongest as kids reach the formative teen years. This is a pivotal time in their lives because these experiences and influences build the bridge from the children they once were to the adults they will become.

At GoBeyond, we provide our students with the tools they need to build a strong foundation for this transition. We do this by creating an environment that promotes self-discovery as well as social, emotional and intellectual growth.

Our journeys may vary in destination and focus, yet all are built around the same core principles and philosophy. The result? GoBeyond promises to deliver an experience that will provide opportunities to learn, grow and develop skills that have a lasting educational impact.

Why GoBeyond?

While there are many reasons we feel our Journeys offer huge opportunity for high school students, here’s our top five reasons you should GoBeyond.

 

  • History & Experience

    We’ve been running educational experiences for teenagers since 1986, and that’s a really long time! Last summer, we were joined by over 750 families from Angola to Alaska, dedicated over 16,000 hours to the service of others and sailed 22,000 nautical miles!

  • Our Statistics

    The numbers speak for themselves – 7 out of 10 students join us because of a personal recommendation or are returning for a second summer.

  • Leaders & Mentors

    We take great pride in the knowledge that our team is comprised of some of the most highly qualified, dedicated and experienced in the industry.

  • Philosophy & Design

    Our Journeys are designed to transform communities, environments and students’ lives through meaningful cross-cultural service adventures. While having a lot of fun, everyone involved is highly likely to be positively affected by their experience.

  • Authenticity

    Our commitment to providing authentic and culturally rich experiences requires longstanding partnerships with responsible organizations that are dedicated to environmental and humanitarian service work. GoBeyond is proud to collaborate with multiple local, national, and international service organizations to create meaningful global experiences tailored to specific learning outcomes.

Our Story

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.

Learn more about our other programs

ActionQuest Sailing & Scuba Adventures for Teens

Sea|mester College and Gap Year Programs at Sea

Risk Management

Risk management comes first in everything we do. 

Our Journeys are adventurous and to say that there are no risks would be misleading. However, awareness of potential risks helps control them. Risk management and safety training are core parts of our programs and are integrated in many ways.

  • PROGRAM DESIGN & STRUCTURE

    Unique to GoBeyond is that our journeys are run in collaboration with local service organizations. This allows for a high level of emergency preparedness, as on-the-ground coordinators often have the greatest understanding of local emergency resources.

  • STAFF EXPERIENCE & TRAINING

    GoBeyond staff are multi-talented with extensive experience in international travel. All staff are first aid and CPR certified, and many hold advanced training certificates such as Wilderness First Responder or EMT.

  • STAFF SUPERVISION

    We strive for a 5:1 student to staff ratio or better, and once our group is together, GoBeyond staff travel with the students full-time and are available 24 hours a day. While most excursions are done as a whole group, student exploration in small groups without staff is permitted only in approved locations.

  • COMMUNICATIONS

    All programs are equipped with international cell phones, and staff keep in regular contact with the GoBeyond office. When students are allowed to explore in small groups without staff, they are asked to carry their personal cell phones in order to reduce risk.

  • ORIENTATIONS

    From our pre-trip information packets to our location specific and project orientations, students have the opportunity to learn how to minimize risks when traveling and volunteering abroad.

Service Awards

Service Awards

President's Volunteer Service AwardGoBeyond is a certifying organization for the President’s Volunteer Service Award. The President’s Council on Service and Civic Participation established the award program as a way to thank and honor U.S. citizens who, by their demonstrated commitment and example, inspire others to engage in volunteer service.

It is an increasingly competitive world; one where college admissions directors and potential employers look beyond the grades of students to the experiences that have shaped them. GoBeyond offers a unique and extraordinary experience that stands out on college applications and resumes. As an inspiration for school essays, video projects and more, many alumni credit GoBeyond with giving them the “leg up” in the application process.

Unique to GoBeyond is that upon completion of a journey, most students have earned an impressive 100 hours of community service work and thus achieve the Bronze level of the President’s Volunteer Service Award. U.S. citizen-students receive a personalized Certificate of Award and a congratulatory letter from the U.S. President.

Whether applying for college or a job, the President’s Volunteer Service Award is a strong testament to what you have achieved and who you are as an individual.

  • Our Impact
  • Why GoBeyond?
  • Our Story
  • Risk Management
  • Service Awards
  • Beyond experiencing the adventure of a lifetime and creating lasting memories, we believe the GoBeyond Journeys enable lasting positive change in the world.

     

    teen-travel-worksAs parents ourselves, we understand that you want your kids to grow to be independent; capable of making positive choices that enable them to maximize their strengths, overcome their weaknesses and reach their fullest potential. Perhaps our hope for their happiness and success is at its strongest as kids reach the formative teen years. This is a pivotal time in their lives because these experiences and influences build the bridge from the children they once were to the adults they will become.

    At GoBeyond, we provide our students with the tools they need to build a strong foundation for this transition. We do this by creating an environment that promotes self-discovery as well as social, emotional and intellectual growth.

    Our journeys may vary in destination and focus, yet all are built around the same core principles and philosophy. The result? GoBeyond promises to deliver an experience that will provide opportunities to learn, grow and develop skills that have a lasting educational impact.

  • While there are many reasons we feel our Journeys offer huge opportunity for high school students, here’s our top five reasons you should GoBeyond.

     

    • History & Experience

      We’ve been running educational experiences for teenagers since 1986, and that’s a really long time! Last summer, we were joined by over 750 families from Angola to Alaska, dedicated over 16,000 hours to the service of others and sailed 22,000 nautical miles!

    • Our Statistics

      The numbers speak for themselves – 7 out of 10 students join us because of a personal recommendation or are returning for a second summer.

    • Leaders & Mentors

      We take great pride in the knowledge that our team is comprised of some of the most highly qualified, dedicated and experienced in the industry.

    • Philosophy & Design

      Our Journeys are designed to transform communities, environments and students’ lives through meaningful cross-cultural service adventures. While having a lot of fun, everyone involved is highly likely to be positively affected by their experience.

    • Authenticity

      Our commitment to providing authentic and culturally rich experiences requires longstanding partnerships with responsible organizations that are dedicated to environmental and humanitarian service work. GoBeyond is proud to collaborate with multiple local, national, and international service organizations to create meaningful global experiences tailored to specific learning outcomes.

  • 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.

    Learn more about our other programs

    ActionQuest Sailing & Scuba Adventures for Teens

    Sea|mester College and Gap Year Programs at Sea

  • Risk management comes first in everything we do. 

    Our Journeys are adventurous and to say that there are no risks would be misleading. However, awareness of potential risks helps control them. Risk management and safety training are core parts of our programs and are integrated in many ways.

    • PROGRAM DESIGN & STRUCTURE

      Unique to GoBeyond is that our journeys are run in collaboration with local service organizations. This allows for a high level of emergency preparedness, as on-the-ground coordinators often have the greatest understanding of local emergency resources.

    • STAFF EXPERIENCE & TRAINING

      GoBeyond staff are multi-talented with extensive experience in international travel. All staff are first aid and CPR certified, and many hold advanced training certificates such as Wilderness First Responder or EMT.

    • STAFF SUPERVISION

      We strive for a 5:1 student to staff ratio or better, and once our group is together, GoBeyond staff travel with the students full-time and are available 24 hours a day. While most excursions are done as a whole group, student exploration in small groups without staff is permitted only in approved locations.

    • COMMUNICATIONS

      All programs are equipped with international cell phones, and staff keep in regular contact with the GoBeyond office. When students are allowed to explore in small groups without staff, they are asked to carry their personal cell phones in order to reduce risk.

    • ORIENTATIONS

      From our pre-trip information packets to our location specific and project orientations, students have the opportunity to learn how to minimize risks when traveling and volunteering abroad.

  • Service Awards

    President's Volunteer Service AwardGoBeyond is a certifying organization for the President’s Volunteer Service Award. The President’s Council on Service and Civic Participation established the award program as a way to thank and honor U.S. citizens who, by their demonstrated commitment and example, inspire others to engage in volunteer service.

    It is an increasingly competitive world; one where college admissions directors and potential employers look beyond the grades of students to the experiences that have shaped them. GoBeyond offers a unique and extraordinary experience that stands out on college applications and resumes. As an inspiration for school essays, video projects and more, many alumni credit GoBeyond with giving them the “leg up” in the application process.

    Unique to GoBeyond is that upon completion of a journey, most students have earned an impressive 100 hours of community service work and thus achieve the Bronze level of the President’s Volunteer Service Award. U.S. citizen-students receive a personalized Certificate of Award and a congratulatory letter from the U.S. President.

    Whether applying for college or a job, the President’s Volunteer Service Award is a strong testament to what you have achieved and who you are as an individual.

“These programs changed our son and daughter's lives, by freeing them from a narrow frame of reference and opening up the world. Through direct experiences, they discovered that they could be whatever and whoever they want to be. It matured them beyond their years and their peers. They returned with more purpose, self-understanding, self-confidence, and acceptance of themselves and others, including parents. They saw themselves in a future full of possibility and responsible for it. I can't overstate the importance of your program for all of us.”
Linda W. - Northbrook, IL
“My child came home with a great sense of himself. He experienced a diverse group of students that he doesn't get to interact with in our small town and he loved it. He found a deeper love and meaning for serving others and giving of yourself. He had a wonderful trip and learned so much about himself and serving others! He came home asking to go on another trip. He loved every minute of his experience.”
Jessica S. - Pelahatchie, MS
“The best thing about GoBeyond is that the program is encouraging teens to take a leap of faith to a different country with strangers and come out a completely different person with friends that they'll have for a lifetime.”
Matt O. - San Francisco, CA
“I have learned a lot from GoBeyond. I have learned to put others first, to spread awareness of social and political issues, also a world perspective. Traveling at a young age and viewing peoples' hardships in other countries allows me to put my life in perspective.”
Bryn C. - Llyod Harbor, NY
“Both our boys have participated in these programs for many years. They come home with multi-cultural experiences, an appreciation of how lucky they are, new friends and a maturity they did not have before they left.”
Gerry D. - Newtown, PA

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