Q. How did Odyssey begin?
Odyssey was birthed from the vision of our founder, Michael Pollock, to see students within ISC schools discipled more intentionally to become all that they were created to be. The vision suggested how the six schools which comprise ISC might work together to accomplish more in this area than each school working toward that vision independently. After receiving approval from the leaders of LDi and ISC, an initiative was activated by the Superintendent and the ISC Head Principals in the spring and fall of 2007 to be put in motion at the start of the 08-09 school year. The Odyssey team was created to synthesize student development in ISC into one cohesive effort and to be a resource and catalyst for sustainable movements and programming that help students grow.
Michael Pollock directed Odyssey from Tianjin since its soft launch in the Fall of 2007 until the Spring of 2012. The early years were supported by a wonderful group of short term and part time staff and volunteers. In the Fall of 2009 the first Executive Assistant, Clare Yu, was hired full time as well as a Youth Specialist position, Joshua Boyer, who worked part time. When Michael left in 2012, Joshua took over the role of Director. During that year Dave Zovak (Leadership Development Specialist) and Melody Lee (Youth Specialist) were added as full time Odyssey staff and Denise Boyer (Youth Specialist) worked part time for Odyssey. Melody left in Fall of 2014, Clare transferred to work for SYIS in Shenyang in 2015, and Josh, Denise, and Dave left ISC in the summer of 2016.
Q. What does Odyssey look like?
The main office relocated from Tianjin to Wuhan and now has two full time staff: Amanda Rowe (Director) and Warren MacLeod (Assistant Director). Each ISC campus also has an Odyssey representative, designated by the head principal, serving as the logistics, communication, and resource link between Odyssey and their school to make sure our trainings meet the most urgent needs and our resources get into the right hands.
Q. Do you own and operate the high ropes course in JiXian County?
No. Although, we have taken student groups there on occasion. It is actually operated by LDi Training which is a division of Leadership Development International.
Q. Aren’t you those “Adventure Education” or “Experiential Education” guys?
Hmm… Yes and no. Odyssey believes learners are fully engaged when they are using all of their heart, mind, soul and strength. Experiential-Ed and Adventure-Ed are simply philosophies and “tools” for education and training that we use when interacting with students and teachers, but our mission is not to train others in facilitating either one.