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ISV Mission Statement

ISV's mission is to support sustainable development initiatives around the world through life-changing student volunteer and responsible adventure travel programs designed to positively change our world and to educate, inspire and result in more active global citizens.

Our Story

ISV's story is an inspiring one that weaves together a vision for change, teamwork across many continents and a sound belief that we can make a positive impact on our planet. Our alumni testify that their ISV experience is life-changing(please see our reviews on for student testimonials), our staff are all extremely proud of being part of our global organization and our achievements speak for themselves. Here's how we got started.

How ISV Started

1983: The Very Beginning: Youth in Action

ISV's founder, Randy Sykes, starts Youth in Action, an international performing arts program. Youth in Action performs their live show, "200 Years of American Song and Dance,” everywhere from parks to palaces throughout Europe.   In 1989, Randy initiates Youth In Action's first cultural exchange program for university students around the world, which is dedicated to building bridges between countries on a global scale. The program enjoys a highly successful run of nearly 20 years and tens of thousands of participants.

ISV's Growth

Since 2002, ISV has grown from operations in two host countries, providing a pilot program to 100 students, to now having had the privilege of providing an international experience to over 35,000 volunteers and working with hundreds of conservation and community development projects in Australia, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, New Zealand, South Africa, Thailand, Eastern Europe (Bosnia and Herzegovina, Romania and Croatia), and the west coast of North America (USA, Canada and Mexico). ISV projects and initiatives have received international recognition by Government agencies, universities and industry bodies.

As we have grown, we've recruited the most incredible staff who have great pride and ownership in our program. Most of our senior staff have experienced the projects and tours firsthand as volunteers or leaders and now have executive program development and management positions; no one has more experience or passion for sustainable volunteer programs than ISV staff.

ISV programs offer unparalleled opportunities to get involved in the front lines of sustainable development and conservation initiatives internationally, in addition to exploration, adventure and cultural exchange while travelling through one or more countries.

ISV's Future

Although ISV is now one of the most recognized names in student volunteer travel, we are always eager to improve and continue moving forward as the industry leader for setting the highest standards for safety and risk management, sustainable volunteer project set-up and management, capacity building in local communities and partner organizations, and responsible travel initiatives. ISV is in the process of establishing campus clubs on major university and high school campuses throughout the world. With more volunteers, we can expand our ever-growing impact on this planet. The sky is the limit!

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