How We Operate – Philosophically Speaking
In 1929, Kurt Hahn, the man whose philosophy of education is the basis for the Round Square organization, Outward Bound, the Duke of Edinburgh Award scheme and United World Colleges, penned a series of precepts for what he felt education should aim to do. Among them were:
- "Give children the chance to discover themselves.
- See to it that children experience both success and defeat.
- See to it that there are periods of silence.
- Train the imagination, the ability to anticipate and to plan.
- Free the children of rich and influential parents from the paralyzing influence of wealth and privilege."
He challenged educators to prepare young people for life by facing life directly, in ways that would demand courage, generosity, imagination, principle, and resolution.
These student programmes incorporate the Hahnian principles: offering students opportunity to learn, to grow, and to become responsible, productive, and contributing members of the global community is what these trips are all about.
To empower all participants through service , to empower the communities they work in to become self-sustaining – these are basically the mission of our trips.
The IDEALS of the Round Square are clearly inherent in the program.
We foster International understanding as we explore the unique Dominican culture and the issues of the Haitians in the Dominican Republic. We work Democratically as we build ourselves a team with purpose. We take great strides to focus on Environmental issues with our Dominican friends as we teach about garbage, composting, pollution and garden-building. We enter into a journey knowing full well that our 336 Hours will be an Adventure of a lifetime. We build Leadership opportunities into our daily routines, through our pods, worksites, bus groups, and dining hall schedules. We are in the Dominican Republic because we are all about Service.
How We Operate – Structurally
It is in everyone's best interests that we work in "pods": i.e., small groups or teams of volunteers and a leader. A typical pod is a group of 4 – max. 7 volunteers and the designated leader accompanying them. The idea is that everyone participating in this project belongs to a small group, and it is very important that the members of that group bond. Every day, the pod meets around 6 o'clock. All participants, by way of their "check books" and open discussions, share their highlights of the day, struggles, health condition, impressions, etc.
How We Operate – Spiritually
Our groups are multi-cultural, non-denominational, and non-discriminatory. Volunteers of all faiths who come on this trip with an open mind, a spirit of tolerance and a sense of compassion for others are most welcome. This trip can easily accommodate those for whom this trip is a special and personal mission trip. Those who wish, are quite welcome to lead or participate in reflective devotionals, deep discussions, or local church services. Very often, volunteers do find their Dominican PowerTrip a spiritual journey, as they grapple with issues of poverty and social responsibility, as they respond to a Spirit clearly at work at times, and as they witness the joy in life amongst some of the poorest of the poor on planet Earth.