WHY IT MATTERS
Arcadia Guided Outdoor Education (AGO) is a non-profit organization which exists to provide students opportunities develop leadership, practice stewardship, and become good neighbors.
AGO believes the first step in developing leaders is to take a break from technology in order to interact with others, face to face. In both leadership and service, students are a part of a meaningful team. It's not just about leading the way, but about watching out for those who are struggling. On our trips, students will face a variety of challenges, and perhaps even failure. But they will also be encouraged by others, experiencing success and discovering their own resilience. We will teach what it looks like to thoughtfully and critically engage with others, while also practicing compassionate communication. In all of our programs we seek to foster each student's integrity, creativity, and spirit for adventure, believing these are crucial principles to a leader's life, on the trail and at home.
With the increasing environmental crisis, it is important that the current and next generation be equipped with the principles and practices necessary to steward one of our greatest gifts: the outdoors. Stewardship practices are incredibly important to us, beginning with how we can act as stewards of our natural resources and moving towards how we can steward the gifts and talents we each possess.
As a Leave No Trace Accredited Youth Program, Leave No Trace principles and practices guide much of our programming when it comes to environmental stewardship. We strongly believe when people love something, they want to care for it. Thus, we aim to nurture a space wherein students of all ages learn to love the outdoors while simultaneously learning how to care for it. This means we teach and practice all of our recreational activities with minimum impact practices at the forefront of our minds. Each of our students is taught each of the 7 Principles of Leave No Trace and is given opportunities to critically engage with the material, thinking of how it matters both on the trails, mountains, and canyons, but also how these principles can apply to our relationships with each other and our communities as well. These principles apply to us outside of programming, as our administrative staff works from home, we work to be as paper-free as possible, and we aim to produce as little waste as possible by purchasing food and equipment in bulk.
Becoming Good Neighbors
Humans are innately communal beings. We long for community and connection, but a healthy practice of community takes hard work and deliberate action. In each of our programs, we aim to cultivate an intentional community that learns to look out for and encourage one another, laugh and cry together, and experience failure and success as a community.