Talk to alumni about ActionQuest and a few things are immediately evident. Bright and highly articulate, they are clearly motivated and independent, determined to travel their own path through life to make the most of the opportunities they have.
They also uniformly say the same things about AQ: that the experience took them out of their comfort zone and gave them a new-found confidence in their abilities. That the passion, enthusiasm and dedication of their instructors and the staff for what they do was inspirational. That they realized some of the best things in life aren't things.
And that they formed lasting bonds with their shipmates and have memories of an experience that will stay with them all their lives.
Over the years, ActionQuest has received countless letters from our alumni and their parents that describe the impact AQ has had on them. Their words say more than we ever could about our programs.
"The self-confidence, leadership and ability to be proactive in both my work and personal
life are skills I attribute to my AQ voyage over a decade ago. During one of the Lifeworks Forums, I had a
defining moment where I realized I could be the kind of person that stands up and takes charge instead of
letting others make decisions for me. I carried that momentum with me while studying advertising at Boston
University, working at my first job, becoming a Senior Account Executive at the age of 23 managing over 120
accounts and today, as the VP of Marketing for the Citigroup Rewards Program, Thank you Network.
ActionQuest isn't just a summer adventure. It's a life-changing experience that gives you tools that
serve you throughout life and memories that last forever."
Alexis Zinberg (formerly Alexis Palmer)
"When Alexis came back from ActionQuest, it was clear that she had experienced an
incredible transformation. She came back a self-confident leader. She became the VP of her youth group and
then applied for early decision to college. I sent Alexis's little brothers Brent and Jared to ActionQuest
this last summer. They came back more self-confident, mature and responsible. Brent really began to take
charge of his future after his AQ experience. And when he talks about scuba diving, his eyes just light up.
He is absolutely a changed person. And Jared made so many friends. As a parent, you can't ask for anything more.
You don't think of a summer program as having that kind of impact, but it does."
"Dewey came home absolutely bursting with increased self-confidence and assurance. The encouragement and positive support he received to push himself, try new things and actually become a leader gave him a fullness of self that defies description. Abbie said to me, 'I thought I would just learn new skills, like sailing and diving and water skiing, but what I really got was the opportunity to reflect on my life, my existence and goals...I can't thank you enough, Mom, for sending me to ActionQuest.' Your attention to each shipmate as an individual and your ability to teach them at a young age the value of living proactively as opposed to reactively has given each one of my children a secret inner strength that they will be able to draw upon for a lifetime. Both kids had great things to say about the staff, the classes, the food, the yachts and the interpersonal growing that must be achieved to live successfully and so intimately with virtual strangers."
"I felt [the program] inspired me to do new things in helping others."
"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."
Theresa, Paul , Chris & Sarah Ach
"We cannot speak highly enough about the ActionQuest programme. This is an outstanding experience
for teenagers. It is run with the highest standards of professionalism whilst offering an environment where young
students learn responsibility for themselves and others, gain professional qualifications and all whilst living
in paradise and having the time of their lives. Our son was 17 when he first went, and made lasting freindships,
wished he had known about ActionQuest earlier and said this was without doubt, the best experience he had ever
had during his summer vacation. He wants to return to do the Seamester trip. Our daughter 16 has returned this
year having experienced the Vega course, and now the Marine Biology course. She states: "there is nothing to
compare with this experience. One arrives, embarks on a three week boat trip, with approximately 10 other
shipmates, who one has never met before, (as well as engaging with all the other crew members on the other boats)
and the adventure begins. One will be stripped of all the accoutrements of life and the layers of pretence will
peal off. This is where you learn to get on with different characters, work together as a team, gain qualifications
for life, realise that whoever you are, you cannot survive without responsibility, accountability, focus and
laughter!" This is a well planned, well executed and detailed expedition with every consideration for the welfare
and health, (mentally and physically) of the young adult. One comes away with a respect for the sea, the life
within the sea and the importance of learning to live responsibly together in the world. Our thanks to ALL the
staff at ActionQuest. "
Heather HalsteadALUMNI CASE STUDYexpand
AQ Shipmate: 1990, 1991, 1992
"I gained confidence and interpersonal skills while seeing the world from the deck of a boat. I thank ActionQuest for the courage and willingness to bring character building exercises like goal setting and integrity development to teenagers."
Where Is She Now?
Heather is the Executive Director and Co-founder of Reach the World Foundation. During three round the world voyages aboard her sailing vessel, Heather has been dedicated to bringing real-world course materials on history, language and world cultures to low-income schools.
Alexis ZinbergALUMNI CASE STUDYexpand
AQ Shipmate: 1994, 1995
"ActionQuest isn't just a summer adventure. It's a life-changing experience that gives you tools that serve you throughout life and memories that last forever."
Where Is She Now?
I am the Vice President of Marketing for Thankyou Network, the Citigroup Rewards Program that manages the organization's advertising, public relations, event marketing and agency coordination. The self-confidence, leadership and ability to be proactive in both my work and personal life are skills I continue to use today and attribute to my AQ voyage over a decade ago.
Josh Buswell-CharkowALUMNI CASE STUDYexpand
AQ Shipmate: 1995, 1996
"My desire to live life to the fullest and make an impact while I'm here on this earth came from my time at ActionQuest. Appreciating the beauty of a coral reef or an island landscape instilled an environmental awareness within me that made me want to protect this beauty for other generations to experience."
Where Is He Now?
I am the Campaign Organizer for ForrestEthics, where I manage environmental campaigns that protect endangered forests around the world. The values and lessons I discovered at AQ set me on this trajectory of work and inspire me to continue it.