the history of arc academic expeditions stretches back many decades and is created out of the culmination of 30 years of experience in the field of experiential education. this is our story so far...
As a young man, Jim Stoll developed a
passion for sailing and education. He turned the usually quiet summer season
at his family’s
marina into a thriving summer sailing school for teenagers.
In 1970, Jim expanded the concept, taking his school to the
water full-time. Jim sailed the Atlantic waters aboard 156’ Te
Vega and 175’ Te Quest, enrolling 86
teenagers every year in a high school program of study and
travel. Twelve years later, with children of his own, Jim
moved back ashore to develop his motivational programs for
young adults. In the mid-eighties he once again headed to
the water and a program called ActionQuest was born.
In 1995, Jim was joined by Mike Meighan. A recent oceanography and marine biology graduate, Mike dreamed of creating a truly interactive educational experience. Using the principles of ActionQuest, Mike developed Sea|mester – a live-aboard college accredited semester at sea program. Sea|mester brings academics from the textbook into real-life application. Voyaging throughout stimulating environments, the expedition becomes the vehicle for gaining knowledge, understanding, confidence and skills. Sea|mester acquired the 88-foot school ship, S/Y Ocean Star, in 1998. After an extensive re-fit, she headed for the Caribbean and continues to ply the waters of the Lesser Antilles today.
During Sea|mester’s infancy, Jim helped his teenage son, Jason, achieve a life goal – sailing around the world. Between 1997 and 1999, Jim joined his son for parts of the voyage. Their travels led to the creation of new ActionQuest programs in the Galapagos, Tahiti, Fiji and Australia. Looking to give something back to the communities that had supported ActionQuest and Sea|mester for so long, in 2001, Jim and Mike created Lifeworks, a worldwide community service and adventure program for teenagers. Lifeworks teams up with local, national and international organizations so students can embark on meaningful service projects around the world. Throughout the program, students are encouraged to consider what contributions they want to make to the world during their lifetime.
The steady growth of Sea|mester allowed one of our biggest goals to be realized. Summer 2006 saw the completion of a new 110-foot school ship, S/Y Argo. She has been designed to circumnavigate the globe, offering Sea|mester students the chance to cross oceans while furthering their educational and personal goals. Sea|mester plans to build additional vessels in the future, based on the model of Argo.
Arc is a natural extension of our existing programming, combining the best of adventure, international travel and service with a strong academic curriculum.
Both Jim and Mike sail aboard with the British Virgin Island ActionQuest, Lifeworks and Arc summer programs, preferring to maintain their active roles as directors. Today, ActionQuest, Sea|mester, Lifeworks and Arc run programs that span the world and have changed the lives of thousands of teenagers.