I was interviewed by a reporter from Thrive Global this week. He emailed me an interesting question about my current Life Lesson and I wanted to share my response with you:
My current Life Lesson Quote is “Crash looking down the racetrack”. This comes from way back when my husband and children gave me a Mother’s Day gift of all expenses paid to get my motorcycle racing license (I used to be an adrenaline junky). In the classroom, I remember the instructor saying very clearly to the class before we hit the track: “If you miss your apex on the turn and you realize you are going to crash, then crash looking at where you want to go… which is down the track.”
Sure enough, I missed my apex on one particular turn and my bike and I were headed for the bleachers. Immediately, I heard the instructor’s voice in my head and fighting all of my instincts, I turned my head and threw my body in the direction of the track that stretched out to my left. My bike leaned heavily and with my body hanging off, I somehow miraculously managed to make that late apex into a turn as my tire missed the edge of the asphalt by what was likely scant inches (I don’t know because I was busy looking down the track).
This has served me well in my business life… not in the single-minded hyper-focus that you might expect the analogy to refer to… but in this simple concept that if my business is going to fail, it is going to fail doing the right thing. My mission is my steering wheel even if I go careening into the bleachers.
With this in mind during this pandemic, I have managed to keep every one of my employees gainfully employed except for me. I filed for unemployment so that my salary could go into cash reserves for keeping my staff employed. We have moved all of our programs into an online environment and are running adventures via video conferencing. If families are laid off and can’t pay, we stop their billing but ask them to keep coming to the online class. We are also creating free programming for the general public. Yes, we are suffering financially. We have no new revenue and we are still (virtually) open for business. It’s scary. And it’s a lot of work trying to figure out how to keep going. But at least if we crash, we crash doing the right thing. This doesn’t make it easier. Just a whole lot clearer.
A number of our hero parents (and that’s exactly what they are – heroes) have reached out and are donating their vacation credits and unused tuition to other parents who are unable to pay for classes or camp. This is dearly appreciated. We are a small for-profit benefit company so we cannot apply for grants to help our families who cannot afford our services. We just absorb the cost. So every time one of you dedicates your credit or tuition to our other families, you aren’t just helping that family, you are also helping keep our small business alive.
So I thank you – each of you – who are helping out others and who are helping us in this difficult time. You are truly the definition of a community in how you reach out to help people (some of whom you have never met) out of kindness and compassion.
If you are a family who wishes to donate your credit or unused tuition – or if you are a family that needs help with your tuition – please reach out.
Thank you so much for your support.
Meghan Gardner
Guardian Adventures

This past summer, we were contacted through Facebook Messenger by Royal Caribbean Cruises. They wanted us to create interactive STEM adventures for their newly renovated Oasis of the Seas, the 4th largest cruise ship in the world. The deadline was tight, but our team pulled together and presented adventures that were way beyond anything Royal Caribbean had ever attempted before. They decided to take the leap and gave us the green light.

Since the summer, we have been designing these adventures under a strict non-disclosure agreement but, now that the ship has sailed, we can tell you all about it.

After submitting the curriculum and instructions, Chris Wiley, our Director of Curriculum Development, and Meghan Gardner, Founder of Guardian Adventures, traveled to Miami to help Royal Caribbean create training videos and documentation for their staff. Soon after, Chris and Meghan were flown to Cadiz, Spain to train the ship’s staff while the ship was still under construction. There were times when hard hats were necessary in order to access parts of the ship so that they could finish the last touches on the adventures.

The contract has been completed and Royal Caribbean is delighted. We are also quite excited to know that our adventures will be experienced by even more people as Royal Caribbean decided to roll out identical versions of our adventures to at least 4 other ships. This means that the adventures we designed for them will be accessible to about 1 million patrons a year across the globe.

The initial review from their clients is that our adventures for the ship are a big success!  As such, we have been informed by Royal Caribbean’s Manager of Product Innovation that we can expect our contract to expand in 2020.

A Royal Caribbean Cruise ship, complete with our STEM activities on board.

What does this mean for Guardian Adventures? As we continue to serve Royal Caribbean as well as other large organizations, our future plans for purchasing a facility have become more accessible and clearer. We are exploring adding various development facilities such as a Maker Space for our students as well as for building our own props and costumes, improved technology for higher level immersion in our adventures, and even a video production room where our marketing department can create in-game videos for complementing the story presented to Heroes.

Our new Consulting & Development Division has grown quite a bit from our work with the Princeton Review’s parent company in South Korea, ST Unitas. With this in mind, you may notice some new staff positions being filled which will help us grow our camps and weekly adventures so that the quality of our programming matches the work we are providing in our consulting contracts. We are also on a quest to constantly innovate and try different genres of adventures, including play testing our new Super Hero camp and events.

We encourage you to check out Royal Caribbean’s Oasis of the Seas if you are considering a cruise vacation. We might even see you in January when we are returning to the ship to assess the staff development and training for the adventures we designed.

You may also notice some changes on our website as we expand on our Education & Consulting section.  Now that we are performing large scale Invasion Adventures (that’s a teaser for a future Update where you will find out about the Lexington Library Invasion involving more than 150 teens, staff, and volunteers), we will be providing more details about our services for organizations that are interested in exciting adventures for their clients and patrons.

Along with this exciting growth, we are also expanding our Scholarship & Financial Aid programs considerably.  It has been our ongoing objective to make sure that every Hero can enjoy our programs and events and not be held back by limited finances.  So if you are struggling with tuition or program fees, please talk to us. Our company will never outgrow our heart.

As 2020 quickly approaches, we look forward to continuing to serve you while constantly innovating and offering new services and programs for all ages and all kinds of Heroes.

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