Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Access Strategic Plan
Adventure Treks’ foundation is based upon building close-knit communities and fostering a sense of belonging in our students and staff. Creating a physically and emotionally safe and inclusive space for students is a top priority. Our programming and instructor orientation are intentionally designed for open and honest communication to build trust within our communities. We teach students to value others’ opinions and perspectives, even when they differ from their own.
We acknowledge that outdoor-oriented programs like Adventure Treks have historically attracted largely white and privileged populations. We recognize the history of this industry and understand that the problems we face are systemic and require substantial change. We are working on educating ourselves and taking meaningful steps as an organization to create a safe, inclusive, and equitable environment where students feel a sense of belonging and can be their authentic selves. The actions we are taking to increase our diversity and push for equity and inclusion are outlined below.
Diversity, equity, and inclusion statement
Adventure Treks is committed to creating and fostering an environment that is welcoming, equitable, and inclusive for all of our students and staff. We work to empower our community to create a culture of kindness, respect, and acceptance, and to embrace individual uniqueness. We commit to expanding on our efforts to attract diverse students and staff in order for our communities to reflect the world we live in.
Adventure Treks is also committed to building a diverse community inclusive of people from all backgrounds. Adventure Treks does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, genetic information, socioeconomic status, medical condition, or any other consideration made unlawful by federal, state, or local laws.
Adventure Treks regularly audits our program materials to ensure that we are creating a safe and inclusive environment for staff and students, regardless of their socioeconomic status, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or gender identity. Materials include admission forms, staff applications, orientation materials, and additional resources provided to students and staff. We continue to look critically at our curriculum to reflect our company’s values and our student and staff population. We regularly revisit and audit our materials and curriculum throughout the year.
Staffing and recruitment
In order for Adventure Treks to continue providing a welcoming and inclusive atmosphere for staff and students, our population must reflect the world we live in. Staffing descriptions are audited to ensure they are inclusive and culturally welcoming to people of all backgrounds. We have re-evaluated the job boards we utilize and are posting open positions on a wider range of job boards designed to reach a more diverse group of applicants. Adventure Treks provides professional development scholarships and support to help instructors pursue professional and personal endeavors in the outdoors. We aspire to create a scholarship program for culturally diverse field staff to obtain requisite certifications.
We are committed to learning more about how to identify and unlearn the biases we each hold as individuals, how to create inclusive communities for our students, and how to best support our students. To continually improve our inclusivity, we update lesson plans, discussions, scenarios, and verbiage for our staff orientation and programming yearly. Online discussions regarding recommended reading, along with in-person discussions at orientation, have created dialogues that produce feedback and action items we can put in place in our programming. We’ve created a diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility manual to educate and guide our instructors, and to provide ideas for meaningful conversations and activity to use during programming. We continue to look for ways to bring more training to our staff to handle difficult conversations around bias, inclusion, and equity.
Acknowledging the lands we visit
Adventure Treks operates in 11 states, British Columbia, and Costa Rica. Our website provides information on the peoples of the ancestral lands we operate on to share with our families and instructors. As a company, we are working toward educating ourselves on the traditional landowners and history of these areas. We will share these materials, resources, and land acknowledgements with our staff to teach and share during our programs. Teaching environmental awareness and appreciation has always played a role in our programs, and we aspire to increase awareness and understanding of the history of these areas.
Student expectations, behavior, and feedback
After each program, we debrief with instructors and study student, parent, and staff feedback to identify our strengths and the areas in which we can improve. We have a zero tolerance policy for racism and harassment on our trips. We provide our staff with training and materials to help them navigate difficult conversations with students regarding race, gender, and equity. Through the gap program in particular, we are striving to integrate curriculum and projects around diversity in the outdoors, exploring identity and bias, and challenging assumptions.
Adventure Treks is fortunate to work with the Charlie Wellman Memorial Fund. This 501(c)(3) non-profit organization assists in removing financial barriers for families interested in attending Adventure Treks. We work with families on an individual basis to identify how to best support them; in addition to Charlie Wellman Memorial Fund scholarships, we offer in-house supplemental scholarships and individualized payment plans in an effort to increase access to our programs. Adventure Treks is looking to increase our partnerships with other organizations to help promote diversity and inclusion. One of our directors is currently on the Gap Year Association DEIA committee, helping build relationships and identify areas of change for our programs and beyond. We continue to maintain and take the Outdoor CEO Diversity Pledge with In Solidarity Project to help hold ourselves accountable, learn from other organizations, and continue to make changes.