Un Paso a la Vez

“There was no question for what I wanted to do for my CLP. I wanted to share my love for the outdoors with as many people as I knew, in the hopes that they would learn to appreciate their surroundings more.”

- Andrea Rodríguez

Background Information

Andrea Rodríguez was born and raised in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. She was first introduced to the outdoors when she was eleven years-old, at a summer camp in North Carolina. After several years of attending outdoor adventure summer camps in the States, she wondered why none of her classmates were as interested in outdoor sports like she was.

While designing her culminating leadership project at Alzar School, Andrea realized that she wanted to share her passion for the outdoors with other students at her school. She created a non-profit program, called Un paso a la vez, to provide middle-school students from her school with unique experiences that allow in-depth academic explorations, help develop their leadership skills, and form a tight-knit community.


Implementation of Project

Upon her return from her semester at Alzar School, Andrea began recruiting teachers and fellow classmates for her project. With her action team’s help, Andrea coordinated meetings with her school’s Reserve with 5th and 6th graders.

When more than thirty students signed up for the trip, Andrea and her action team devoted their efforts to making sure that all the students could participate in the expedition. They arranged for a second one, dividing the students into two smaller groups.  

“I am not going to deny that arranging for the expeditions wasn’t easy. I am extremely grateful for the support and help from the action team. Their devotion to the program was what really made it possible.”

– Andrea Rodríguez


The expeditions took place during the first two weekends of May. In the span of two days, each group hiked almost a total of twenty kilometers, participated in various reflexive activities, swam in the camp’s river, and enjoyed roasting marshmallows in a campfire at night.

Results of the Project

The thirty-seven students that participated in the expeditions all stepped outside their comfort zones. Whether it was swimming in the cold waters of the camp’s river or hiking through mud and rain, the students demonstrated resilience whilst also sharing good times with their friends. There were noticeable struggles amongst a few of the students during the hikes, but the instructors were all extremely impressed by the students’ ability to push through by setting goals for themselves along the trail. By the end of the trip, it was clear that the students were exhausted. But they all kept repeating: “When are we coming back?”

“It was humbling to see how the students faced their fears with such determination. Though some of them pleaded the contrary, the students became my role-models.”

– Andrea Rodríguez

What’s Next?

Though Andrea is leaving the Dominican Republic to finish the rest of high-school in the States, she is curious to see how the program continues to grow in her absence. Three of her classmates have taken over the project and already started to think about what future expeditions lay for the pre-teens of their school.

“I can truly say that I am grateful for the experience of leading an amazing group of fifth and sixth graders. It is with deep sorrow that I put this project behind me– I hope that those who lead in my wake will not only take on the responsibility of the project, but also shape it into their own.”

– Andrea Rodríguez