The American Adventure Service Corps
TAASC is a year-round, nonprofit organization aimed at addressing many of the needs of today’s youth. The program utilizes outdoor adventure education and service to others as major themes to enhance:
A Strong Service Ethic
Physical and Mental Fitness
Greater Appreciation for the Natural World
We believe that every young person has the potential to be a compassionate and transformational leader. We believe that by fostering self-awareness and a collaborative spirit, young people can unlock their full potential and make a positive impact on the world around them. Through a combination of increased responsibility, self-confidence, and leadership skills, we aim to help young people develop a strong sense of self and an adventurous spirit that will serve them well as they grow and learn. We are committed to supporting young people as they become the compassionate and transformational leaders of tomorrow.
How the Program Works
TAASC is based on the combination of group weekly meetings and fun outdoor weekend trips. Students learn all kinds of outdoor skills as well as group participation skills at the meetings, and then get to test them out on a weekend trip. Leadership is a big part of the program and we weave this through everything we do. The program operates on a quarterly schedule.
Our students meet once a week after school where they learn outdoor skills, get a chance to practice leadership, and work in a group. The technical skills they learn prepare them for upcoming wilderness activities such as climbing, navigation, and camp-craft. Sometimes we participate in community service projects during after-school meetings. These meetings are really fun, high-energy, and keep students engaged!
Depending on the membership level, students can attend as many weekend trips each month as they wish. These trips are a wilderness experience, a community service experience, or a combination of both. The trips provide our students the opportunity to practice skills learned during weekly meetings and the chance to set and achieve personal and group goals. Plus they are a lot of fun! TAASC weekend trips include wilderness expeditions, climbing and rappelling, white water and flatwater paddling, cave exploration, mountain biking, wilderness first-aid, leadership development, and community service.
Longer summer wilderness adventures are the culmination of the skills and experiences gained in the year-round program. Younger group members attend a 5-day trip; older group members attend a 10-day trip.
Founded by Mike Fischesser in 1996 in Morganton, NC, The American Adventure Service Corps began as an experiment in a new type of program design to partially address the needs of young people utilizing the theme of outdoor adventure and service to others.
Mike’s background includes being a Program Director for North Carolina Outward Bound School, and Director of the National Training Institute, and National Coordinator for Programs and Safety for Outward Bound USA. From 1989-99, he was the founder and owner of Alpine Towers Inc., one of the most accomplished challenge course companies in the world.
In the winter of 2005, Mike contacted Outward Bound instructors Beth Hockman and Greg Gillett as to their availability and interest in starting Asheville TAASC. They jumped at the opportunity to move to Asheville and recruit youth members and families to join. By May of 2006 partnerships with Evergreen Community Charter School and Carolina Day School allowed TAASC to begin programming. The successful formula to start TAASC in a new community worked.
After a combined 25 years of adventure and service, TAASC has provided numerous youth and families with remarkable life experiences unrivaled by any other program in the United States and perhaps the world. The main ingredients to success are the year-round nature of the program, Olders mentoring Youngers, the unique activities, and professional outdoor educators running the program.
Our history continues to evolve with the addition of the newest TAASC programs: One in the Lake Norman Area and the other in Brevard.