Kenya was the best school trip I have ever had. I especially enjoyed the orphanage and the house visits. The experience was truly unique, and I’m glad I made several friends at the orphanage. The houses I visited in the slums were shockingly poor, and they made me feel very grateful about my current life. I don’t think I have ever been to a place that made me reflect upon myself so much.

Safety was my biggest concern before I went to Kenya, but I was impressed by how well the trip was organized. Food and bottled water were provided 24/7; the guides were experienced and they answered any questions I asked. I felt very safe on the trip.

Traveling in Africa is a very rare opportunity, let alone traveling with friends in my school. This was truly an amazing trip.
— Nelson N. (Student on East Africa Community Service Trip)

I’ve worked with Spark Expeditions for the past three years to organize international community service trips for my high school students. We’ve built clean-air stoves in Peru, worked on wildlife conservation in Thailand, and volunteered at an orphanage in Kenya. Every trip has been completely customized for me and my students and Spark Expeditions took care of every detail from beginning to end! Spark Expeditions provided an authentic service experience that my students will remember for the rest of their lives!
— Travis C. (Teacher on trips to Peru, Thailand, and East Africa Community Service Trips)

Best travel group so far. I hope we can all still be as close as we were in Kenya. Also, thanks to Travis, Janis, and of course Pete K for giving us the awesome opportunity to do this. I will always appreciate you all for this experience and for being so nice to each other and myself.
— Erika E. (Student on trip to East Africa Community Service Trip)

Pete is an amazing guide! Even in cold, wet, Alaskan conditions, Pete kept us happy and working together as a group. Pete is of course knowledgeable about wilderness navigation, first aid, and all the other areas one would expect for a wilderness guide. It was great having a leader who could both explain how a mountain pass forms — and how we were going to work as a team to get over it.
— Yannai K. (Student on Alaska Leadership Expedition)

Dear Pete,

I want to thank you for the amazing trip to Italy. Like many things in life, it took a few more life lessons to realize what a rich experience you gave us. You gave us an opportunity to truly immerse ourselves in the culture, ultimately, allowing us to adopt a new perspective in life. To do that to a group of socially-focused high schools students is no easy feat! I still remember hopping off the train in Florence and seeing the open country! Between the Spartan Training sessions and the tours of the Catacombs, I feel like I got to experience a very diverse side of Italy! Thank you for your patience and giving me one of the best experiences of my life!

Sincerely Yours,
Mau
— Mau C. (Student on Roman Engineering trip to Italy)

I had the privilege to chaperone an international community service trip that Spark Expeditions organized for my son’s class. We ventured to Chiang Mai, Thailand to care for orphaned elephants at the Elephant Nature Park. Along the way we got to experience the culture of Thailand by visiting the historic districts of Bangkok and Ayutthaya. In addition, we took cooking classes from Chef Leez and learned to make traditional Thai dishes. Overall a great international learning experience for the students.
— John D. (Parent on Thailand Community Service Trip)

Hi Pete, it’s Annie from Alaska last summer. Hope you are doing well. I just want to say thank you for an amazing summer last year. You have inspired me to have a passion for the outdoors and want to become a trip leader. You are a great leader and have changed the way I look at life. After Alaska, I have gone on many backpacking trips and feel safe and comfortable in the backcountry from the knowledge you taught me in Alaska. Thanks again and hope you have an awesome summer.
— Annie S. (Student on Alaska Leadership Expedition)

I just wanted to give a BIG shout out to Spark for organizing this amazing, once in a lifetime trip for our very fortunate students!! The pictures were amazing and I know that Jacob had an incredible time!! Thank you also to the parents who went as chaperones.

Thank you all again!
— Babette A. (Mom of participant on trip to East Africa Community Service Trip)

I have had the pleasure of being part of two school trips that Pete organized and helped chaperone for us. The first was Thailand with 15 students. Pete created a wonderful itinerary that started in Bangkok. It included a private cooking class, sightseeing by bike, boat, and tuk tuk. We then travelled to the mountains near Chiang Mai where we stayed and volunteered at an elephant reserve. Pete always had everything planned ahead of time so we could focus on enjoying the culture of Thailand.

Our second trip was recently to East Africa. This was a larger group of 20. The first half of the trip was spent at an orphanage, Nakura Hope. It was very hands on; helping with the farming of vegetables, teaching and playing with the children, and visiting the sick at homes in the slums. The second half of the trip was going on safari at the Maasai Mara National Reserve. Again, Pete had everything planned out from the 4-wheel drive rentals, amazing home-cooked meals provided, and time to visit a Masai village for song, dance and home-made souvenirs.

Pete is a natural leader. He has a calm demeanor and works closely with our wishes to plan our trips. He takes the time to make them more personal, such as finding hotels that represent the culture rather than a Holiday Inn. He does the same with transportation; tuk-tuks, boats, bicycles, and open-top 4-wheel drive vehicles.He usually will arrive in the visiting country before-hand in order to ensure that everything is taken care of and transportation is waiting for us which is worth so much when getting off long flights with tired teen-agers. On both trips, our students left him with hugs, smiles, and appreciation for the unique adventures!
— Janis T. (Teacher on East Africa Community Service Trip)

My time working on the Clean Stove Project in Peru has been one of the most meaningful experiences in my life and has fueled my love for service. I have traveled around the world since I was a young child, but have never engaged with a country the way that I did on this trip. Not only were we able to participate in the culture, but we were able to make a difference in an incredibly special community.

After a long and beautiful ride through the countryside, our group arrived in the village of Huayacocha and spent a few hours exploring the farms. We strolled along a narrow dirt road that weaved through dozens of small brick houses and crossed paths with many local farmers. We were greeted by some children as well as many farm animals: pigs, sheep, chickens, and even some puppies. Despite the amount of poverty in this town, I was struck by the kindness and hospitality of the villagers. We were greeted as if we were old friends and accepted so graciously into their community. We spent the day interacting with the people and soaking in the beauty of the Andes mountains and gathered again in the evening for a dinner prepared with local foods.

Early the next morning, we were woken up to begin a long day of work. While eating a delicious breakfast, our guide briefed us on the day’s activities. A local contractor was going to lead us through the process of building adobe stoves with chimneys. Numerous stoves had already been built in this village, but it was clear that there was still lots of work to do. Many of the women were still cooking over fires in their homes, resulting in respiratory problems in themselves and their children, and the stoves we were building offered a cleaner, more efficient alternative. Our group was split up into several tasks, including sawing rebar, cutting metal sheets, collecting mud, and moving adobe bricks. Building the stoves required several stages of layering mud and metal and took about four hours per stove. At the end of our stay, our group had successfully built four stoves for families in need. Each of the families thanked us and some even offered us food and drinks to show their gratitude. I will forever remember my time in this village and will continue to share the perspective and knowledge it has given me.
— Neha K. (Student on Peru Community Service Trip)