Ecuador 2- CENIT

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The Challenge:

A 17 day trip by a small group of independent school youth leaders during the early summer, or the Christmas holidays. The trip consists of an intensive six-day trek around the Mt Cotopaxi area, plentiful cultural immersion both in Quito and while on the trek, a few days working with disadvantaged children in Quito at CENIT as well a memorable trip to the ecologically rich, but endangered Amazon Rain Forest, staying at the award winning Yachana eco-project. The Yachana project can be experienced here –

Funds raised will support the exceptional work CENIT – El Centro de la Niña Trabajadora (or the Center for the Working Girl as it is known in English), a non-governmental, non-profit organization devoted to helping working children and their families overcome grinding poverty and impact the lives of hundreds of children and their futures.  To learn more about CENIT, please see the video above.


  1. To raise funds to provide educational support to young children, so that they may break the endemic cycle of poverty and become tomorrow’s leaders.
  2. To allow the independent school community to better understand development issues, including education, poverty, human rights issues, and HIV/AIDS, through talks, group sessions, etc. by student participants before and after the trip.
  3. To enhance the leadership qualities of North American student leaders, arming them with an enormous sense of accomplishment that they will cherish for the rest of their lives.
  4. To empower students with a world view that they can take into account when considering their career choices.


  1. Improved physical fitness through pre-trip preparation.
  2. The opportunity to make new friends and network.
  3. An appreciation for the incredible beauty of Ecuador’s Cotopaxi area through a tough but spectacular trek, spending time in the Amazon Rain Forest, in-depth exposure to the culture and people of Ecuador during the trek as well as the community service project and in the rain forest, and lots of fun and learning.
  4. The opportunity to experience the local people and culture in an authentic manner.
  5. A far better appreciation of the development challenges in the world, and how participants can find their own ways to help communities solve some of these issues.
  6. Being an inspiration to others: family members, friends and local community.
  7. A far better appreciation of the development challenges in the world, and how participants can find their own ways to help communities solve some of these issues.
  8. Opportunity to fulfill Duke of Edinburgh Gold Level residential and expedition requirements.
  9. Contribute to the local economy wherever possible by working with local suppliers.
  10. Select one environmental project in the host country to which 5% of funds will be channeled.

NOTE: Schools that are part of Round Square will notice the similarities in the overall philosophy and service components. However, the physical training, tough trekking and fund-raising challenges differentiate the Climb for Leaders program from the highly regarded Round Square projects.

Trip supervision:

Besides two staff/faculty escorting the small group as responsible seconds for the whole trip, the trek will also include two experienced local Head Guides. An English speaking tour guide will accompany the group at all times.

For the service component and in the rain forest, the group will be accompanied by facilitators of the project.


  1. Students must be in the final two years of high school. Exceptions may be made for Grade 10 students on a case by case basis. Students must be 16 years or older at the time of the trip.
  2. Students must be in good overall health.
  3. Students must complete application forms and waivers per deadlines.
  4. Students are required to submit a 1,000-word essay entitled “What are the top three development challenges facing Ecuador, and how would I find permanent solutions to these challenges?”
  5. Students must be willing to participate in learning sessions before the climb, and to share climb and travel experiences after the climb.
  6. Participants must meet the minimum fund-raising requirement each, except for faculty/staff who are participating as “responsible seconds”.
  7. Participants must pay for all costs by the deadlines outlined.

Detailed program:

To obtain a detailed program including detailed itinerary and costs, please contact us.

To apply:

Complete the online form at Space is limited and will be available on a first come first serve basis, so long as each applicant meets the application requirements above.