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Travel to Discover Yourself. Make a Difference at Home.

Revolution Journeys

How Land Defines Us: Philadelphia & Guatemala 

How Does Land Define Us?

High school students will explore the powerful connections between land and power and how they shape what we do and how we view ourselves during this immersive 5-week journey in Philadelphia and Guatemala.

In our highly industrialized society, our feeling of connection to the land is often diluted. Although we may be largely unaware of the forces at work below the surface, what we do and who we are is largely based on our relationship to the place we live. On the other hand, in developing countries, often one’s relationship to the land is immediate and intense. In this comparative study of Philadelphia and Guatemala, we will use the metaphors of mirrors, those experiences that reflect ourselves, and windows, experiences that help us define “the other”.

High school students will be challenged to grow intentionally and systematically toward who they want to be, and by analyzing their relationship to their place, step through a “door” into a world they help create.

Guatemala is a land of natural and cultural wonder. Among volcanoes, mangrove swamps, and forest, traditional Mayan life intermingles with modern society. In this rich setting, on a two week trip to the central highlands and Pacific coast of Guatemala, participants will meet with local farmers and artisans, exploring the intimate connection between land and culture. After, we turn our lens homeward to explore land use and the impacts of land ownership through a series of highly interactive experiences around Philadelphia. Teens will conduct multi-media investigations of historical trends and contemporary issues. Participants will identify personal core values and, working with local real estate developers, develop strategies for taking action.

¿Por qué travel?

Why travel? Often one needs to travel to a very foreign place to discover something about oneself.

Revolution School Summer Session brings together adventurous high schoolers who want to be part of something bigger than themselves. We offer a unique  5-week experience that supports teens as they find their place in the world and empowering them to grow into that role while traveling and learning together.

In rural Guatemala, the relationship with the land is immediate and intense. Immersed in a profound environment, our teens will bring new eyes to understanding their relationship with place. Armed with self-awareness, a sense of agency, and tools for getting things done, they will work in partnership with peers and adults back in Philadelphia to create something good in the world that did not exist before.

Are you ready for this?


Discover rural Guatemalan culture

Among black sand beaches, volcanos, and mountain lakes, work with artisans and farmers, experiencing through their eyes, an intimate relationship with the land.

Build relationships with local leaders

Through exposure to innovative private and public land use initiatives, and through direct mentoring from professionals, forge a deeper understanding of systems that create powerful outcomes.

Join a community of empowered teens

Explore your own relationship to Philadelphia, who you want to be, and come to know yourself as an agent of positive change.

Take action in Philadelphia

Apply fresh perspectives, purpose, and your toolkit of skills to transform a plot of Philadelphia vacant land.

Earn 2 high school credits

Receive transferrable credits in English and cultural studies from Revolution School.

An Epic Adventure

Week 1

(June 29-July 3)

Investigate land and power in Philadelphia.

  • Examine how power feeds power
  • Explore relationship to place
  • Learn about the history of land issues in Guatemala
  • Meet local Guatemalan immigrants
  • Connect with leaders in local real estate community


Weeks 2 & 3

(July 6-18)

Investigate land and power in Guatemala.

  • Explore rural Guatemala
  • Investigate the lasting impact of the Guatemalan Civil war
  • Work alongside local artists, fisherman, and farmers
  • Examine sustainable development practices

View the Itinerary

Week 4 

(July 20-24)

Make connections between  land and power in Philadelphia.

  • Dive deeper into the dynamics of power
  • Examine the history of land ownership in US
  • Collect local Guatemalan immigrant oral histories 
  • Explore ways vacant land can be used to serve the neighborhood

Week 5

(July 27-31)

Reflect on land and power studies and take action in Philadelphia.

  • Work with neighbors and experts to transform a vacant lot
  • Produce a local Guatemalan immigrants oral history product 



Our Methodology

Becoming Who You Want to Be in the World


How do you see yourself in the world? Throughout adolescence, young people are creating themselves. They are trying on different identities by seeing themselves reflected in the places they live and the people they know. By experiencing new people and places, we create the opportunity to also see ourselves reflected in others from foreign lands, coming to understand the universality of being human.



What inspiration do you see in others? Sometimes new experiences are so foreign it is difficult to see ourselves. However, because identity is so malleable as a teenager, it is an ideal time to experience new people and places, expanding the possibilities of who one becomes.


What doors will you create and step through to become your intention? On the Guatemala expedition, students will see land use issues surfaced in a new way, allowing them to experience Philadelphia with a new perspective. Partnering with neighbors, city agencies, and professionals, members or our team will transform a small piece of Philadelphia in a way consistent with who they have chosen to become.

Embark on your most impactful summer ever

Revolution School is currently accepting applications for Summer Summer Session 2020. Space is limited to 15 students. The program will fill up quickly so we encourage you to begin this process as early as possible. 

Early Bird Price for the 5-week program is $4,500 if paid in full by February 15, 2020. After February 15th, the cost of the program will be $4,900.

Have questions? Feel free to contact us by email at anytime:


Ready to get started?

Submit an Online Application

As soon as you’re ready, you can fill out the Online Application. 

Join the Journey

Apply Now
We will Contact You 

Once we receive your online application, a Director will contact your family to confirm that there are still openings and answer any additional questions you might have. 

Secure your Space 


To confirm and secure a place in Summer Session, you will need to make a $500 deposit. This deposit will guarantee your space in the program, subject to submission of your final payment and approval of your paperwork and forms. 

Early Bird Rate

If you choose to pay in full before February 15, you will receive a discounted rate of $4,500.

Regular Payment

If you choose to pay in installments, the total cost will be $4,900. In addition to your $500 deposit, the first installment of $2,200 is due by March 15, 2020 and the final installment of $2,200 is due by April 15, 2020. Please note that students may only participate in Summer Session after final payment is received and all trip forms are submitted and approved.

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Meet Mike, Journey Director

As a classroom teacher, Michael Friedman has been honing his place-based, integrated approach for over 20 years. Whether teaching high school biology or middle school science, relevancy, student voice, and activism has been central to the educational experiences he has facilitated. Most recently, Mike taught math and science in Guatemala, where he was inspired by the country’s natural beauty and the resilience of the Mayan culture.

“We travel, initially, to lose ourselves; and we travel, next, to find ourselves.” —Pico Iyer


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