Are you a band?
Although we like to rock, we are not a rock-and-roll band. We are a wayfaring band, which means we are a band of people who travel together.
We are inspired by the bands of foot-travelers of days gone by. People used to band together to make journeys over land, and they did this for safety, companionship, and to achieve a shared goal. Life on the road was precarious, and the success of the venture depended on everyone’s full participation. A tour with The Wayfaring Band works the same way. When we band together, we achieve unparalleled adventures!
What is wayfaring?
Wayfaring is another word for traveling, usually by foot. While we might not always choose to hoof it, The Wayfaring Band embodies that same spirit of wanderlust for the open road. Our style of travel hails from the days of rest stop picnics, gas station coffee, and roadside attractions. A tour with the band will fulfill your thirst for adventure!
Who can participate?
Our programs target people in their late teens into adulthood. We serve two main populations: adults experiencing intellectual and developmental disabilities, and leadership fellows. We also grant one spot per tour to an artist-in-residence.
Our band members with intellectual and developmental disabilities experience a range of abilities. Some members live independently with full mobility, while others might live at home with their family or in facilities that offer more one-on-one support. We serve people who experience a variety of cognitive, physical, and developmental differences, and we aim to create programs that appeal to diverse tastes. Band members using mobility or communication devices are welcome: please let us know how we can help create a successful experience for you. Also, family and friends are welcome to sign up, but we ask that everyone joins us as equal participants instead of “helpers.” If you feel that your band member requires an extra level of support, please discuss this with us and we will work to meet your needs.
Our leadership fellows are neurotypical adults who are invigorated by self awareness, community impact, and adventure and who are interested in making a meaningful contribution to the global community. The Wayfaring Band provides them with practical experience navigating difference. We attract participants who are empathetic, patient, and open to new ideas. It is not necessary for our leadership fellows to have experience connecting with people who have disabilities. The only requirement is a willingness to learn and grow.
Our artist-in-residence is a working artist (either emerging or established) who attends a tour with the band on full scholarship. In exchange, the artist is responsible for creating an “ode” to our adventure. The artist will work in her or his own preferred medium, recording our triumphs, trials, and the ordinary moments in between for the length of the tour. The artist is expected to participate as a fully contributing member of the band but will be afforded “studio hours” each day to work on his or her art.
Our programs provide all band members with the opportunity to enhance their independence and agency while developing an empathetic and nuanced social skill set. Together we will examine our biases, develop our capacity for patience and love, and share our wanderlust and enthusiasm for adventure. In The Wayfaring Band, we face challenges with a little bit of rock and a little bit of roll.
Can I be a leadership fellow?
Our fellowship program targets adults who are neurotypical. While it is not necessary for a fellow to identify as a traditional “leader” or practice any particular style of leadership, we do ask that all fellows have the capacity to provide complete self-care, self-advocate, and assist with the physical safety and well-being of others in order to participate in our program. Band members who experience intellectual and developmental disabilities are invited to participate in the leadership curriculum, but the fellowship program itself is designed for participants who do not require any personal care or assistance.
If you are energized by social change and progress, and if you are hungry to answer the call for a new brand of leadership, then you are ready to join the band as a leadership fellow!
Why do you have fellowship program? What about volunteers?
The world needs people who have innovative ideas about friendship and companionship. We need leaders who can see past the challenges created by our differences and who are willing to forge connections based on our similarities. Though we are diverse of experience, we are similar of spirit! While on tour, fellows participate in a vigorous curriculum geared at unearthing personal assumptions and stereotypes, creating real strategies for navigating difference in social situations, and inspiring personal growth. Our hope is that our leadership fellows will leave a tour with the band feeling more equipped to face global social challenges with energy, courage, and hope.
We do not have any volunteer or “helper” positions when we travel because the helping model discourages interdependence and creates dangerous hierarchies. Helpers can get an inflated sense of their own importance and fail to address their own needs. Similarly, people who receive help become undervalued in society and may fail to realize their own capacity. The truth is that all people have special needs and all people have special gifts. Interdependence is when people are mutually dependent on each other to get their needs met — not just physical needs, but social, emotional, intellectual, and spiritual needs as well. Together we learn to lean on each other for holistic support, valuing each person’s unique contribution.
Leadership fellows are eligible for financial aid, just like any band member.
Why do you have an artist-in-residence?
Historically, artists have been at the forefront of social change. Through their work, they help individuals and communities understand, appreciate, and challenge their own nature. Artists of every medium are storytellers, and The Wayfaring Band invites artists to help tell our stories so our adventures can be accessible to more than just our members.
We ask the artist to create an “ode” to our adventure because odes are designed to celebrate or praise an object of inspiration. This approach fosters a positive, creative, and fun environment that benefits the whole band.
What makes The Wayfaring Band different?
The Wayfaring Band makes a conscious effort to support a culture of mutual aid instead of one group “helping” another. We are not interested in a hierarchical structure, where one group teaches a second group the “best” way to behave. In our experience, we all have gifts, and we all have needs. Each individual person contributes something specific to a group dynamic, and each person also has opportunities for personal growth. It’s a lot like playing different instruments but contributing to one song. We all have a different sound, but together we can create a harmonic whole.
For a global community to be harmonic, our belief is that there has to be room for vast differences between all the members. The Wayfaring Band aims to enhance understanding between different groups of people by being explicit and celebratory about difference. We believe that all people have an indispensable, vital essence. We believe in creating inclusive communities where everyone experiences an authentic sense of belonging, and no one is relegated to the margins. Our dream is to model our vision of inclusivity everywhere we travel, fundamentally altering the way people experience difference.
How much does it cost?
The cost of each tour or outing is based on the details of the particular adventure involved. The fee includes the cost of transportation, lodging, meals, all activities, and personal care and assistance for band members who experience disabilities. The fellowship fee does not include personal care or assistance.
Please review our Upcoming Opportunities for information about tour pricing.
What types of payment do you accept?
We accept checks or cash from families and individuals who travel with the band, as well as monetary gifts from individuals, businesses, and community organizations. We do not currently accept waivers or other state or county funding. We accept credit card payments through PayPal with a 3% fee to cover our costs.
The Wayfaring Band is an official 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. We gratefully accept donations. We are committed to helping families and individuals come up with creative solutions to financial challenges, and we also offer scholarships for our programs. Please let us know how we can help meet your needs.
Do you offer scholarships?
Our scholarship program is supported by the donations of individuals, businesses, and community organizations. Families demonstrating financial need may request a scholarship. Please contact us to discuss your situation.
What ratio of supervision is available?
The Wayfaring Band offers an overall staff-to-client ratio of at least 1-to-4. However, while our overall ratio doesn’t change, for each tour the band managers will cater the level of supervision specifically to the participating band members, allowing some members more independence and providing others with more one-on-one support. This allows every member of the band to have an experience that is personal and geared toward enhancing his or her individual abilities.
How do I sign up?