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Press Release

Building Youth Leadership Skills During Summer Vacation


Rustic Pathways Offers Youth Programs To Continue Education and Build Leadership Skills During the Summer Months

HUNSTBURG, OH – July 7, 2015 – School is out for summer offering kids a time to relax and recharge, but also a time to grow and learn in different ways that the traditional classroom can not offer. Rustic Pathways, a leader in providing international community service, education and adventure programs for students around the world, will send eight thousand students on programs in 2015 with a majority of these taking place over the summer. With more than 30 years experience providing educational adventure and community service programs for youth, the company offers an excellent perspective on the impact travel can make in building leaders for the future.

“At Rustic Pathways, we believe travel provides students with hands-on learning experiences allowing them to develop an understanding of different cultures and offers a new perspective on complex global issues,” said Chris Stakich CEO of Rustic Pathways. “We have seen travel sharpen students’ self-awareness, foster independence and strengthen their leadership skills. And summer is the ideal time for these experiences.”

A 2013 United Nations World Tourism Organization report agreed noting that travel is a key form of learning, a source for career and self development, and something today’s youth see as an essential part of their identity.

Rustic Pathways offers more than 100 programs in 20 countries and below are a few examples that help youth build leadership skills over the summer:

Summer Camp Leadership in Costa Rica: This is an ideal program for teens who love working with children. During the 16-day program students will create and run a summer day camp for local children who do not otherwise have access to a camp experience. Students will develop meaningful connections with campers through fun, engaging, and educational activities. There is also time to explore Costa Rica and its natural beauty with zip lining, whitewater rafting down the Pacuare River, an overnight beach trip and a boat ride to a private island to relax in paradise. Space is still available in select Summer Camp Leadership in Costa Rica programs for $3,895 (excluding airfare).

Come With Nothing, The Mekong Expedition: Considered one of Rustic Pathways’ most rustic, service-intensive programs, students are limited to one carry-on bag and five extra items. After arriving in Thailand, students shop for clothes and other supplies at a local market and then head up to the Hill Tribe region of Thailand where they will visit three different villages to live and work while completing construction-based projects such as building schoolhouses, bathrooms, and water wells. This immersive and transformative program allows students to learn about the Karen lifestyle and traditions. Summer 2015 departures are still available for $4,295 per person (excluding airfare)

Beyond Capital Hill: Refugee Youth Tutoring and Enrichment (USA): Students teach and mentor refugee youth in Baltimore while learning about the history and legislation surrounding refugee resettlement in the city. Students will aid in the development of literacy skills of refugee students and engage in the local community by connecting with neighbors and non-profits. Of course, there will be time to explore the national monuments and museums in Washington D.C., and catch a major league baseball game at Camden Yards.

Student Perspective:

Maya Elia (16) of Texas traveled to Lampang, Thailand in 2014 on Rustic Pathways’ Thai Elephant Conservation Project trip where she had an opportunity to care for elephants during the the 11-day program. She prepared the elephants’ daily meals and bathed them in the river. During this time her passion for elephants was born. Following her return, she created Elepants a not-for-profit that sells Thai harem pants for $20 to raise money for food, medical supplies and healthcare for the elephants at the Thai Elephant Conservation Center. Since launching in November 2014, Elepants has shipped pants all over the world and has donated nearly $10,000 to the Elephant Hospital at the Conservation Center.

“My experience with Rustic Pathways taught me that everyone is capable of changing the world. Of course, there will be obstacles, but with the right mindset anything is achievable,” said Elia “Not only did my experience with Rustic Pathways teach me so much about the world, but it also taught me about myself. Because of Rustic Pathways, my goals for the future are ambitious but achievable.”

For more information about Rustic Pathways summer programs call 440.975.9691 or visit

About Rustic Pathways

Rustic Pathways is a leader in providing superior quality international community service, education, and adventure programs for students around the world. Founded in 1983, Rustic Pathways offers spring and summer break experiences as well as Gap Year programs and custom experiences for educators and small groups.

Operating in more than 20 different countries, Rustic Pathways focuses on areas of interest from public health, medicine, and education to the environment and community service. Eighty percent of programs involve a service element where students give back to the communities they are visiting. Each program is designed to help students make meaning of their travel experiences, identify interests and passions, gain confidence, and grow as individuals.

Across the globe, Rustic Pathways employs local staff and fosters lasting relationships with the communities in which it operates, enabling students to have immersive and authentic travel and service experiences. Rustic Pathways was recently voted the Best Youth Tour Operator at the 2015 World Youth Student and Travel Conference (WYSTC) by 7,500 young travelers. For more information call 440.975.9691 or visit You can also visit the Rustic Pathways Blog, or follow the company on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.

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