“According to Darwin’s Origin of Species, it is not the most intellectual of the species that survives; it is not the strongest that survives; but the species that survives is the one that is able best to adapt and adjust to the changing environment in which it finds itself.” – Leon Megginson
I saw this quote on a recent trip to Ecuador and the Galapagos, and it got me thinking about an oft-unstated benefit of Bold Earth. As parents, we have never been more concerned about our kids’ future success as we are now. This makes sense—research shows that because of rising income inequality, the chances of today’s young adults earning more money than their parents has dropped dramatically from 92 percent to 50 percent, compared to previous generations.
As inequality increases, we all worry that our kids might not be as successful as we hope. Education seems to be at the core of what separates recent college graduates vying for well-paying jobs, and competition for a spot in elite schools has never been so intense. As a result, kids have never felt as pressured or worked as hard as they do now. All parents can think of times when we have helped our kids manage their busy lives, often encouraging them to develop skills that look good on a college resume or might lead to future success.
School smart vs life skills smart
Which brings us to the quote above. Are we investing too much energy into making our kids “school smart” and “sports strong” in a world where skills like adaptability to change is much more important?
Below are the skills most needed to thrive in a changing world, according to Google and the Partnership for 21st Century Learning:
- Understanding and interpreting data
- Problem-solving and resourcefulness
Adaptability to change
If we want to encourage a skillset that will help young adults flourish into college and beyond, we begin by giving them an experience in their teenage years, when their brains are inherently more receptive to learning, that lets them practice and develop those particular skills. And what better way than emboldening teens to board a plane independently; fly to an unfamiliar location; assimilate into a group of friendly, like-minded peers; and experience activities and food they’ve never tried before? To spend two to three weeks in a place with people who will become lifelong friends, among gorgeous scenery, with an itinerary that might present challenges at first but rewards soon enough; to contribute to a community and cause that’s bigger than oneself, and to stay grounded while doing so; to learn teamwork, helpfulness, and reflection—this is what Bold Earth is about.
Most of all? While students are experiencing everything above (and more), they’re having a blast—more fun than they ever imagined. This helps set them on a path to embracing change and developing a mindset of success; this helps teach them that they can do far more than they previously thought, enabling higher chances of future success. Bold Earth is committed to not only providing a tech-free experience for teenagers that allows them to escape the digital pressures of academics and sports, but also to giving teens a chance to truly practice the skills they’ll need to become successful adults.