Peru – Yanapay

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The Challenge:

A two week trip by a small group of independent school youth leaders to spend some time with the local community in Cusco and climb the mountains leading to Machu Picchu in Peru. Experience what life is really like up in the Andes. Spend part of your trip making a difference in the lives of children with special needs. Learn about rural life from Inca Trail porters, and head deep into the Andes with your new found perspective and continue your exploration of the Peruvian mountains on the Lares Trek and on to Machu Picchu.

All proceeds from this trip will support the building and running of a local nursery school for special needs children at the The Yanapay School in Cusco, run by Aldea Yanapay.


  1. 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.
  2. To allow the independent school community to better understand development issues, including special needs education, poverty and human rights issues through talks, group sessions, etc. by student participants before and after the trip.
  3. To raise funds to provide educational support to young children in Peru, so that they may have a better quality of life in the future.


  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 Peru, and a week living within a local community, with great fun and great learning.
  4. The opportunity to make a meaningful difference in the lives and futures of many special needs children.
  5. The opportunity to experience the local people and culture in an authentic manner.
  6. Being an inspiration to others in their schools, 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. But the physical training, tough trekking and fund-raising challenges differentiate the Climb for Leaders program from the highly regarded Round Square projects.


The group will undertake trek in the Lares region of the Andes and a trip to Machu Picchu.

Trip supervision:

Besides two staff/faculty escorting the small group as responsible seconds for the whole trip, the trek will also include a local Head Guide plus local, experienced trek leaders who speak English. Local porters will also support the group on the mountain.

The service project will be carried out at The Yanapay School in Cusco, run by Aldea Yanapay.

The group will be accompanied by a local coordinator throughout its stay in Peru.


  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. Faculty/staff must be currently employed at the school.
  2. Participants must be in good overall health.
  3. Participants must complete application forms and travel waivers per deadlines.
  4. Students are required to submit a 1,000-word essay entitled “What are the top three development challenges facing the area I will be visiting, and how would I solve them?”
  5. Participants 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.