We serve adult travelers who experience intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) including Down syndrome, autism, cerebral palsy, fragile X, global developmental delays, learning disabilities, and other cognitive and developmental differences.
Some of our band members live independently with full mobility, while others might live at home with their families or in facilities that offer more one-on-one support. We aim to create programs that appeal to a wide range of travelers with diverse tastes!
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Frequently Asked Questions
Are you a band? +
Although we like to rock, we are not a rock-and-roll or a musical band. We are a wayfaring band, which means we are a group of people who travel together.
We are inspired by the bands of foot-travelers of days gone by. People used to band together to make journeys over land, and they did this for safety, companionship, and to achieve a shared goal. Life on the road was precarious, and the success of the venture depended on everyone’s full participation. A tour with The Wayfaring Band works the same way. When we band together, we achieve unparalleled adventures.
What is “wayfaring?” +
Wayfaring is another word for traveling, usually by foot. While we might not always choose to hoof it, The Wayfaring Band embodies that same spirit of wanderlust for the open road. Our style of travel hails from the days of rest stop picnics, gas station coffee, and roadside attractions. A tour with the band will fulfill your thirst for adventure!
Who can participate? +
Our programs target people in their late teens into adulthood. We serve two main populations: adults experiencing intellectual and developmental disabilities, and neurotypical leadership fellows. We also grant one spot per tour to an artist-in-residence.
Our programs provide all band members with the opportunity to enhance their independence and agency while developing an empathetic and nuanced social skill set. Together we will examine our biases, develop our capacity for patience and love, and share our wanderlust and enthusiasm for adventure.
What makes The Wayfaring Band different? +
The Wayfaring Band makes a conscious effort to cultivate a culture of mutual aid instead of one group “helping” another. We are not interested in a hierarchical structure, where one group teaches a second group the “best” way to behave. In our experience, we all have special gifts, and we all have special needs. Each individual person contributes something specific to a group dynamic, and each person also has opportunities for personal growth. It’s a lot like playing different instruments but contributing to one song. We all have a different sound, but together we can create a harmonic whole.
For a global community to be harmonic, our belief is that there has to be room for vast differences between all the members. The Wayfaring Band aims to enhance understanding between different groups of people by being explicit and celebratory about difference.
What is the main goal of your programs? +
We do not consider ourselves to be a vacation company. While we do offer recreational programming, our primary goals are social and societal.
Band members who experience disabilities practice independent living skills when they hit the road with the band. With the support of our staff roadies, band members work to build authentic relationships with other travelers and practice navigating the world as adults, deepening connections with a community broader than their nuclear family or the other members of their group home. In real time, they learn about self-advocacy, personal care and safety, setting and maintaining boundaries, and much more. An added benefit is the respite many families are able to enjoy while their loved one embarks on an independent adventure away from home.
We also intentionally foster a community that is neurodiverse. By including our leadership fellows and artist-in-residence in the band, we model a new brand of inclusion everywhere we travel. We choose original destinations for our tours and participate in activities alongside members of the general public in order to challenge assumptions about disability and build pathways to inclusion for future generations. The more people that encounter neurodiversity in the world, the more that people will create new systems and opportunities that appeal to a neurodiverse community.
What ratio of supervision do you offer? +
The Wayfaring Band offers an overall staff-to-traveler ratio of at least 1-to-3. However, for each tour the staff roadies will cater the level of supervision specifically to the participating band members, allowing some members more independence and providing others with more one-on-one support. This allows every member of the band to have an experience that is personal and customized.
Can you serve travelers who require one-on-one support? +
On a case-by-case basis, we are able to serve travelers who require line-of-sight supervision and who may have a history of eloping, verbal or physical aggression, or other behavioral challenges. For the safety of the traveler and the rest of the band, we like to meet all first-time travelers in advance of the trip to ensure that we are able to provide the necessary supports for a positive experience.
Can you serve travelers with medical needs? +
Our staff members provide medication administration while we’re on tour. We are also able to provide personal care and toileting support to travelers who require it. On a case-by-case basis, we are able to serve some travelers who use feeding tubes, catheters, or other medical devices and supports. We do not have a nurse or a certified nursing assistant (CNA) on staff. Please contact us to discuss your specific needs.
Can you serve travelers with accessibility needs? +
Our aim is to be inclusive to people with multiple social, emotional, and physical needs. While we can’t guarantee that all of our destinations are physically accessible, our goal is to work with each traveler to help them gain access to the experience of their choice with the support of our staff. For travelers who use wheelchairs or other mobility devices, we will work with you to choose a tour that is the best fit for your personality and physical needs. Band members using communication devices are welcome, and we are available to meet one-on-one with travelers and their advocates to develop best practices for communication on tour. We are also available and interested in creating pathways to inclusion for any traveler experiencing deafness and/or blindness.
Can a family member join a traveler on tour as a helper? +
Family and friends are welcome to sign up for a trip, but we ask that everyone joins the band as equal participants instead of “helpers.” Our staff roadies are trained to meet the personal care and safety needs of our travelers, and we find that band members grow best in the area of independence and self-support when they travel without parents and siblings. If you feel that your band member requires an extra level of support, please discuss this with us and we will work to meet your needs.
Why do you have a fellowship program? What about volunteers? +
The world needs people who have innovative ideas about friendship and social change. We need leaders who can see past the challenges created by our differences and who are willing to forge connections based on our similarities. Our fellowship program is intended to equip participants with the skills to create more accessible and inclusive social systems.
Over the course of a week on the road with the band, leadership fellows participate in a daily curriculum that addresses global citizenry, mutual aid, Universal Design for Learning (UDL), ableism, and more. Ableism is the system of oppression that discriminates against people with disabilities, making it harder for them to go to school, get a job, find housing, and participate in the same activities and opportunities that people without disabilities take for granted. Our hope is that our leadership fellows will leave a tour with the band feeling more equipped to face global social challenges with energy, courage, and hope.
We do not have any volunteer or “helper” positions when we travel because the helping model discourages interdependence and creates dangerous hierarchies. Helpers can get an inflated sense of their own importance and fail to address their own needs. Similarly, people who receive help become undervalued in society and may fail to realize their own capacity. The truth is that all people have special needs and all people have special gifts. Interdependence is when people are mutually dependent on each other to get their needs met — not just physical needs, but social, emotional, intellectual, and spiritual needs as well. Together we learn to lean on each other for holistic support, valuing each person’s unique contribution.
Can a band member with a disability be a leadership fellow? +
Usually, our leadership fellows are neurotypical adults who are invigorated by self-awareness, community impact, and adventure. They are interested in making a meaningful contribution to the global community, and The Wayfaring Band provides them with practical experience navigating difference.
Because we lean on our leadership fellows to help model sound judgment, navigate public spaces, and maintain the safety of themselves and others, the program is designed for participants who have the capacity to self-advocate, provide complete self-care, and who have demonstrated an ability to understand and assess risks.
Band members who experience intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) are invited to participate in the social leadership curriculum at whatever level they desire: our aim is to make all of the material accessible to everyone in the band. If you have a question about which of our programs is the best fit for your traveler, please reach out to us.
Why do you have an artist-in-residence? +
We include artists on our adventures because throughout history, artists have been at the forefront of social change. Through their work, they help individuals and communities understand, appreciate, and challenge their own nature. Artists of every medium are storytellers, and The Wayfaring Band invites artists to help tell our stories so our adventures can be accessible to more than just our members.
Our artist-in-residence is a working artist (either emerging or established) who attends a tour with the band on full scholarship. In exchange, the artist is responsible for creating an “ode” to our adventure. The artist will work in their preferred medium, recording our triumphs, trials, and the ordinary moments in between for the length of the tour. The artist is expected to participate as a fully contributing member of the band but may be afforded “studio hours” each day as needed to work on their art.
We ask the artist to create an “ode” to our adventure because odes are designed to celebrate or praise an object of inspiration. This approach fosters a positive, creative, and fun environment that benefits the whole band.
How much does it cost? +
The cost of each tour or outing is based on the details of the particular adventure involved. The fee includes the cost of transportation, lodging, meals, tips, activities, and personal care and assistance for those who need it. Please review our Upcoming Tours page for information about tour pricing.
What types of payment do you accept? +
We accept checks and cash payments from our travelers. For an additional 3% fee, we can process credit card payments. We do not currently accept SLS funds, waivers, or other state or county funding. However, mill levy funds may periodically be available through your Community Center Board. Please check with your case manager.
We are committed to helping our travelers come up with creative solutions to financial challenges, and we also offer scholarships for our programs. Please let us know how we can help meet your needs.
Do you offer scholarships? +
Our scholarship program is supported by the donations of individuals, businesses, and community organizations. Travelers demonstrating financial need may request a scholarship. Please contact us to discuss your situation.