WHY Pacia Life? Randy Oakley shares some history that led to the creation. Each chapter has been shortened for the sake of reader enjoyment. Longer versions with more details are available.
Momentum and Pure Life Adventures - 2008 through 2012.
The creation of Pure Life Adventures, which at some points in history was also combined with Momentum Adventures, began in 2008.
All credit for what Pure Life Adventures became in the summer and fall of 2013 belongs to Andrew Taylor and his team. Andrew did attend two brainstorming meetings in my home in Riverton, Utah under my leadership in 2012 but was never on my payroll. From my notes, Andrew turned an expedition-style program into a full-fledge rolling admissions program in October of 2013.
I would also like to add that young adult students that have been in Pure Life and then elected Pacia Life as a next step have been very well prepared!
I included some pictures but intentionally left any students out as I have not asked their permission to share those pictures.
A longer, much more detailed history is also available.
While the first exploratory trips to Costa Rica where completed in 2008 by Mike and Jodi Escalante, the first actual trip with young adults was to Peru led by Justin Robinson.
Numerous trips with students were conducted to Costa Rica, Peru, Mexico, Guatemala and Panama, from 2008 - 2011. However, the first dedicated website, public announcement to educational consultants and on social media didn't take place until February of 2012.
The first official announcement to educational consultants and the public were made on Facebook and through email (see notes at bottom of page) in February of 2012.
"Seeing young adults grow through domestic and international service, cultural immersion, novelty of environments, adventure and gap experiences is a game changer!
Seeing young adults expand their personal growth, self-efficacy, global citizenship, and build their resumes for college admission, careers and just life in general is thrilling!" - Randy Oakley
The creation of Pure Life Adventures in Costa Rica and what has led to numerous other international partnerships with service organizations and gap year programs around the world since then all started with some questions.
In 2008, while sitting in my living room in Riverton Utah a group of us were talking about our own experiences abroad and how it could apply to the growth of some of our young adults that we were working with.
Justin Robinson and I also shared experiences from working in pineapple fields in Maui, Hawaii and what the difference was between wilderness therapy of today versus work/study programs, service missions, etc.
At the time, Justin Robinson was working on his Ph.D. and was preparing for his dissertation. Justin, his wife Janet Robinson, Mike and Jodi Escalante, Dan Lemair, Dave Ward, and others had numerous brainstorming sessions.
For me, my first passion for the power of cultural immersion and international service came when I deferred my own college education and spent 19 months in France and Switzerland.
Justin Robinson shared some of his personal growth experiences having spent years in Hawaii, Puerto Rico, and Alaska before starting college to earn his degree in recreational therapy and later his master’s degree as an LCSW therapist. Justin began doing outcome-based research on service therapy models by taking young adults with ASD or similar diagnosis on expeditions to Peru.
Janet Robinson had a major personal growth experience living in Russia for over a year.
Mike Escalante also lived in Central America and has since traveled much of the world in service of others.
All of us have extensive experience and a passion for the positive outcomes that come from safely run adventure expeditions combined with 501(c)3 service.
Some of the fantastic outcomes of wilderness adventure therapy (WAT) include higher self-efficacy, grit, resilience, self-awareness of personal challenges, using a novel environment in mother nature to create a reset, etc.
Some of the negative side effects include young adults feeling like they were forced into the growth experience and that they sometimes think that the wilderness guides, therapist and teams are all there to just serve them making the young adult like the sun and the rest of the world like the planets which revolve around the sun.
Each trip to any of the countries in Central America included team members traveling at their own expense to various countries to explore the details, including safety, risk management, opportunities of service, adventure, exploration, housing, and more.
Justin, Janet, Mike, and Jodi led the first outcome-based research expeditions of service therapy models by taking young adults with ASD or similar diagnosis on expeditions to Peru.
The first trips included Justin and Janet Robinson, Mike and Jodi Escalante, and were conducted in partnership with the Heart Walk Foundation.
These trips included serving the Q’ero people of the Andes. The Q’ero people live in villages between 12,000 and 16,000 feet in altitude. These small villages are slowly evolving with education and sustainable food systems. Our trips included helping build school rooms and greenhouses. The expeditions also included tourist attractions, adventure, life coaching, therapy sessions, and more.
From these first trips to Peru, other expeditions were conducted, including trips to Peru, Mexico, Costa Rica, Panama, Guatemala, etc. From 2009 to 2012, each trip included first sending staff members into a country, establishing safety protocols that were in line with the
Each trip included significant service opportunities, along with history, cultural immersion, local foods, and adventure.
Trips continued from 2009 through 2012 and included nearly all of Central America.
Here is the take away...
The post outcome surveys from each of these trips at two months, six months, and one year later were impressive!
Combining expedition style trips with service to others had strong impacts on each participant.
Enough of a positive impact that Aspiro Pure Life Adventures is a year round business today.
And, enough of an impact that Pacia Life uses individualized gap experiences, both domestic and international, as a normal part of our daily lives!
A note from an educational consultant dated Feb 11, 2012 with details of first announcements.
*Feb 11, 2012
Opened a new program, called Pure Life Adventures http://www.purelifeadventure.com/
Therapeutic wilderness Aspiro style with cultural immersion component. The goal is that through Pure Life they will run international trips of set lengths (1-4 weeks) throughout the year to different locals, in addition to running a year round wilderness program in Costa Rica.
Momentum program has been rolled into Pure Life, and they are no longer doing the non-therapeutic momentum. They have a guide team and director in Costa Rica who ran the Outward Bound Costa Rica operations for years and went private in 2004.
A therapist will be in country with the students for the whole trip, the therapist selection dependent on the makeup of the group. The first trip Justin Robinson will be with them (42 days total).
$425-Aspiro boys, girls, Kairos, Pure Life