The Story So Far
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 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 AQ 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 created GoBeyond (formerly Lifeworks International), 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. Throughout the program, students are encouraged to consider what contributions they want to make to the world during their lifetime.
The steady growth of Sea|mester allowed one of our biggest goals to be realized. Summer 2006 saw the completion of a new 112-foot school ship, S/Y Argo. Since her launch she has circumnavigated the globe twice, offering Sea|mester students the chance to cross oceans while furthering their educational and personal goals. Sea|mester plans to build additional vessels in the future, based on the model of Argo.
Mike sails aboard full time with the British Virgin Island ActionQuest summer programs, preferring to maintain his active role as director. Today ActionQuest, Sea|mester and GoBeyond programs span the world and have changed the lives of thousands of teenagers.