“Nothing so liberalizes a man and expands the kindly instincts that nature put in him as travel and contact with many kinds of people."
– Mark Twain
The Beginning of the Band
The Wayfaring Band was founded in September of 2012 by Chris Ardelt, Andrea Moore, Jane Moore, and Pavel Reppo, who met working as camp counselors at Adam’s Camp, an organization that serves children and young adults with special needs and their families. Summer after summer, Chris, Andrea, Jane, and Pavel returned to camp. As the campers under their charge grew older, many of the campers’ parents expressed concerns over new challenges that their children would face in adulthood. How would these young adults continue to make friends outside of a school or camp setting? How would they build the skills needed to self-advocate, address their physical and emotional needs, and perhaps even live independently?
In 2012, the founders puzzled over this challenge. In their own lives, they agreed that traveling, and especially traveling alongside peers, had provided them with fundamental tools to increase life skills, decrease fear of difference, and create lasting relationships and memories. They believed that with adequate supports, adults experiencing developmental differences could of course reap those same benefits. The four founders planned an inaugural road trip through southwest Colorado for October of 2012, and The Wayfaring Band embarked on its first tour.
After the success of the first trip, Chris and Jane helped nurture a vision for growth for the young company before moving on to other full-time adventures in 2013. Andrea and Pavel delved into the long-term sustainability of the organization and explored a more diversified approach to community-building, resulting in the creation of our social leadership and artist-in-residence programs. Pavel built essential partnerships, directed much of the development of the leadership program, and helped shepherd the band through the process of receiving its 501(c)3 nonprofit status before stepping down in the summer of 2015 to pursue new opportunities in the field of social impact. Andrea Moore assumed the role of Executive Director, and in partnership with a motivated Board of Directors and new staff members has continued to expand the scope and impact of The Wayfaring Band.