The American Adventure Service Corps began in August 1996 in Morganton, North Carolina as an experiment in a new type of program design to address the needs of young people utilizing the theme of outdoor adventure and service to others. Originally, the program targeted 25 boys and girls, ages 13 to 18. The concept quickly expanded to include 8 to 12-year-olds in a branch called Little Scouting Outward and serves around 45 students.
Mike Fischesser conceived the idea and developed the program to be a hybrid of philosophies and methodologies between Boy Scouts of America and Outward Bound, since both organizations had been a major part of Mike’s life. He wanted to create a year-round structured environment with unique fun and high-powered adventures, including service activities that would provide educational opportunities to keep members active and committed for many years.
After three years of extremely successful program development, Mike decided to replicate the model on a national level with the vision of having TAASC units available to many more young people.
In 2000 the name was changed to lessen confusion of connections to other organizations. The American Adventure Service Corps ( TAASC ) became the new name and cities across the southeast were learning of the concept and invited the Morganton TAASC kids to speak to their communities. A $300,000 donation allowed TAASC to establish an office, hire professionals and travel to numerous communities and conduct presentations to large audiences. Only one community developed a TAASC program in that era. Black Mountain TAASC directed by Outward Bound instructors, Sue Pegrume and husband Steve Ackerman, was strong for about two years, before the Parent TAASC Force finally tired of raising funds to keep the program alive and it was decided to close it down and study the feasibility of re-establishing the program in Asheville, NC a year later.
In the winter of 2005 Mike contacted legendary Outward Bound instructors Beth Hockman and Greg Gillett to move to Asheville and recruit youth members and families to join. Mike raised funds to develop the program and Beth and Greg did it. By May of 2005 partnerships with Evergreen Community Charter School and Carolina Day School allowed TAASC to begin programming.
In 2020, outdoor educators Jacob Cioffoletti and Whisper Smith moved to Morganton to accept positions as the new Program directors for Morganton TAASC.
Over 20 years of adwventure and service later, 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.
"The full potential of The American Adventure Service Corps has yet to be developed."
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