At Rustic Pathways, we work at the intersection of education, travel, and philanthropy. Through our programs we facilitate life-changing educational experiences for students and use travel and philanthropy as a means to achieve sustainable development in the places we visit. We believe that by maintaining clear focus on each of these goals we are not only able to provide the most transformative experience for our students, but are also able to make a positive impact on the communities in which we work.
Rustic Pathways is committed to creating a world where…
At Rustic Pathways, we believe travel provides a unique environment for learning. Our programs are designed to encourage critical thinking; learning moments and opportunities for growth are intentionally built into our programs. Leaders facilitate meaningful discussion and reflection, supporting student learning and amplifying the impact of our travel experiences.
We believe in a key set of characteristics and capacities that enable students to achieve personal growth and make a positive contribution to our world. We refer to these as our Student Learning Outcomes. The outcomes we aim to foster in students that travel with us are:
We are committed to supporting local economies and minimizing our environmental footprint as we travel. We work with locally owned tourism ventures off the beaten path, buy goods from local businesses, employ a wide range of staff from our destinations. We seek to educate our students on how to travel responsibly and actively support community initiatives in the places we visit.
Rustic Pathways is a global team. We employ staff from our destinations in a range of positions and invest in professional development to support all team members in achieving their goals and building skills to take on leaderships roles.
We believe that use of locally owned businesses provide important benefits to communities where we travel as well as enhances the quality of our programs, especially when those businesses have a demonstrated commitment to risk management and sustainability best practices. We prioritize use of these vendors whenever possible. We also endeavor to purchase local products when possible, recognizing this is better for the environment and the communities we visit and enhances the experience of our students.
We strive to minimize the environmental impact of our programs in realistic and practical ways. We incorporate discussion of sustainability and environmental impact with our students and encourage simple actions to reduce the footprint of our groups as we travel. We regularly monitor waste, water and energy use across our base houses so that we can establish targets to reduce use on an ongoing basis. We evaluate potential impacts with our community partners and develop plans to minimize our footprint where needed.
We partner with Sustainable Travel International, to evaluate our ongoing impact and to help us operate in the most responsible manner possible. We have pledged our support to Sustainable Travel International’s 10 Million Better campaign. The goal is to improve the lives of 10 million people over the next ten years through tourism, ensuring local communities and economies benefit and the culture, history and environments of destinations are protected.
Rustic Pathways is committed to making life-changing opportunities possible for students worldwide. We offer over 100 scholarships annually including our Service Scholarship based on financial need, our By Invitation Only program, and merit based Gap Year Ambassador Scholarships.
We believe it is our responsibility to actively contribute to the communities where we travel. We build partnerships with community associations, schools and NGOs to support local development goals aimed at reducing poverty, protecting the environment, and making communities better places to live.
Though our programs, we fund community projects across five core areas: Education, Infrastructure, Economic Development, Environment, Community Health and Social Services. Rustic Pathways students play an active role in implementing projects with community members through our community service programs. Projects are developed through extensive collaboration with local partners and in accordance with best practice guidelines to support effective outcomes.
The Rustic Pathways Foundation is a 501(c)3 organization that supports communities in their efforts to implement locally driven, sustainable solutions to development challenges. The Foundation enables students and alumni to support communities around the world through fundraising and direct donations. It works with local partners to identify community-prioritized development initiatives, and leverage the passion and generosity of the Rustic Pathways community to support the projects. Rustic Pathways supports the administrative costs of the Foundation, enabling one hundred percent of donations to go directly to projects on the ground.