Unleash (ŭn-lēsh’): To release or loose from or as if from a leash. (American Heritage Dictionary)
For decades, HI-USA as an organization was made up of a national headquarters and its separately incorporated regional chapters. With organizational unification, a single pool of finances and talent is being mobilized, contributed by all for the common good of hostelling in America. Fragmentation will disappear.
With unified resources, we can vision bold mission dreams, and realize them. HI-USA unleashed.
Our Board of Directors recently asked me to share what HI-USA can aim for, as a single, unified organization. My timeframe is 2020, eight years in the future. Highlighting the Board’s decision to focus primarily on 18-30 year olds, here’s the outcome of our discussions:
HI-USA VISION 2020
1. We will be a leading hostel provider in the world.
Independent travelers, especially 18-30 year olds, seeking a unique and engaging travel experience will think of HI-USA first. They will vote with their feet and book HI-USA hostels in their travels. They will recommend the unique experience of HI-USA hostelling to their peers, friends, and families.
2. We will be a valued source of experiential learning.
Independent travelers seeking to broaden their worldview will come to HI-USA to enrich their perspectives. Our programming will yield unique travel-learning experiences that extend traditional classroom and college learning, teach hard-to-find lessons in intercultural understanding, encourage reflection, and build leadership.
3. We will be a widely recognized champion for intercultural understanding.
Our work will provide dramatic examples of thoughtful, insightful dialogue that generates greater tolerance and compassion. The media, policymakers and travelers will recognize HI-USA for developing young people who break down racial and ethnic barriers, challenge misunderstanding, and expand the possibility for greater peace.
4. We will have a vibrant presence in communities across the United States.
Our mission will be represented in communities large and small, through active personal engagement – both face-to-face and virtual – in our mission activities. Hostels will be a focal presence in localities that can economically sustain them; activities and programs – both organized and self-directed – will be an opportunity available to all.
5. We will be an effective advocate for youth travel.
HI-USA and its dynamic network will be a passionate voice for hostelling and travel with federal, state and local governments and among travel associations. In turn, the media, policymakers and travelers themselves will recognize HI-USA as a leading proponent of the value of travel in building a more peaceful domestic and global community.
A forward-thinking group of HI-USA staff and volunteers are in the process of developing creative strategies to realize VISION 2020. I’ll report on their work in future editions of my blog.