The Lifeschool Story
Jim Nevill and Padraic Rohan met in 1995 while staffing a summer camp in Occidental, California. They had both recently graduated college and learned that they shared a love for travel, backpacking and exploring the wilderness. In the evenings after work they talked about adventures, the beauty of nature and life lessons that occur while 'out there' in the back-country. As youth mentors they also shared a passion for empowering middle and high school age children and believed that with access to experiences like theirs, it could change lives and communities for the better. When Lifeschool was officially founded in 1999 there were very few programs in the Bay Area doing wilderness trips for school groups.
The first prototype trip was in spring 1999 with a group of troubled 5th graders from Harbour Way Continuation School (now called Harbour Way Elementary Community Day School) in Richmond, CA. The trip was a great success and the decision was made to form Lifeschool into a 501C3 to ensure that all students, not just the fortunate, would have the opportunity to attend. In 2003 The East Bay Express interviewed Jim and Padraic and they were quoted saying their excursions are designed to expand "self-confidence and personal awareness in the outdoors." 20 years later, not much has changed!
For years to follow, Lifeschool trips were offered to students throughout the Bay Area at no cost, staffed by Jim and Padraic and their volunteering friends. Gear was provided by generous donations from Army/Navy stores, Sierra Designs, The North Face and Mountain Hardware, all Bay Area gear companies.
In 2004 Padraic left Lifeschool to pursue a career in academia and as an author. Jim Nevill lives with his wife and two children in Bodega, California and continues to serve as Lifeschool & Go Adventure's Executive Director.
In January 2007, Lifeschool changed the name of its core program to "Go Adventure" due to student suggestions. 2019 will mark Lifeschool's 20th Anniversary and since inception, over 5000 teens from dozens of states have attended our innovative programs.
What started out as a short trips to local parks has grown considerably. In collaboration with partner organizations like Summer Search, Cal SERVES, and Waldorf schools of America, Go Adventure now leads custom designed trips for classes or any group of ten or more in Alaska, California, Colorado, Costa Rica, Hawaii, Idaho, New Mexico, Oregon, Peru / Argentina, Washington, Wyoming and Utah.