Many of us at ActionQuest 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 adventures 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 adventure 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, as well as the For Parents 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

As a young man, Jim Stoll developed a passion for sailing.

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 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 Seamester – a live-aboard college accredited semester at sea program. Seamester acquired the 88-foot school ship, S/Y Ocean Star, in 1998 and, in 2006 completed construction of a new 112-foot school ship, S/Y Argo.

Since her launch she has circumnavigated the globe multiple times, offering Seamester students the chance to cross oceans while furthering their educational and personal goals.

Looking to give something back to the communities that had supported ActionQuest and Seamester for so long, Jim and Mike created GoBeyond, a worldwide community service-learning program for teenagers.

GoBeyond teams up with local, national and international organizations so students can embark on meaningful service projects around the world.

Mike sails aboard full time with the British Virgin Island ActionQuest summer programs, preferring to maintain his active role as director. Today ActionQuest, Seamester and GoBeyond programs span the world and have changed the lives of thousands of teenagers.

“As my fourth session of ActionQuest comes to a close, I can honestly say that these twelve weeks I have spent in your program are the biggest learning experiences of my life. I truly admire the integrity and sincerity you possess and encourage us to gain in our lives as well. Thanks again for the fabulous summers.”

GRETA H. - CARMEL, IN

“I feel as though I pushed myself to face challenges and overcome fears more than ever before. And I feel as though I might not have been able to do it were it not for the supportive ActionQuest environment. Thank you so much for the incredible opportunities and experiences that I have gained through ActionQuest over the past three years. They have altered my perspectives of both myself and the world around me.”

SUZY S. - CHESTER, NJ

“As a 4-year ActionQuester, I believe myself to be qualified to say you and your program rocks! I return every year because I walk away from this program with more and more. I learn so much about myself, and who I want to be. Most importantly, I learn who I want to surround myself with - the kind of people I want to become close to.”

JULIA D. - CHICAGO, IL

“Michael came to you as a bright, straightforward teenager, but I do not think he realized this. His father, brother, sister and I have always realized just what a wonderful young man he is. We sent Michael to you to show him what he could accomplish, the friends he could make (without judgment) and the person he has yet to be. All we can say is thank you, thank you, thank you. His experiences with his crew mates, staff and locals really changed him. We see a new, more vital teenager on our hands. We hope to send Michael next year so he can continue his 'Quest' into full adulthood.”

PAUL A. - BABYLON, NY

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