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All Students Welcome on Rustic Pathways Programs
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All Students Welcome on Rustic Pathways Programs

With the latest news this week in Washington, we want to reassure families that Rustic Pathways programs are open to all students—including those who identify as transgender or gender non-conforming.

As an organization, we have been committed to these principles of inclusivity for decades. In 2014, we established a formal policy that outlines how we provide support for all our students. The following year, we expanded it to also include gender identity.

Rustic Pathways Bullying and Inclusivity Statement:
At Rustic Pathways, we value community. We cherish diversity and inclusivity and we actively strive to create a culture of acceptance, tolerance and respect. We welcome all students onto our programs, regardless of race, ethnicity, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, or socioeconomic status. Rustic Pathways defines bullying as harassment, intimidation, or any act intended to exclude or harm another person physically or psychologically. We believe that any form, type, or level of bullying or discrimination is unacceptable and requires immediate attention. We have a zero tolerance policy on bullying and reserve the right to dismiss any student who bullies or discriminates against others.

In addition to these formal policy stances, as of 2015 we have been working with an independent contractor to provide our staff members with a series of transgender education training sessions. We have also partnered with Gender Spectrum, an organization that helps to create gender sensitive and inclusive environments for all children and teens. These efforts have helped us develop tools to better support our LGBTQ students and families.

I hear repeatedly from parents and students that we are leading the industry in our approach of treating each traveler as an individual and without bias. I’m proud to be part of an organization that remains invested in equality and values the uniqueness of others.

For more information about our inclusivity policies or how we support students’ gender identity and expression, call 800.321.4353 or email

About the Author

Chris Stakich

Chief Executive Officer

An expert on travel and service-based education, Chris leads Rustic Pathways with an eye for innovation and excellence. Since graduating from Harvard in 2001, Chris has worked in virtually all areas of our organization, from running programs in Costa Rica to managing our global team. He works diligently with our team to develop future leaders who embody a broad perspective and compassion for the world. Chris lives in San Francisco with his wife and three young sons.