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Our Founders Wishes

Tristam & Rebecca Mayhew

Before transferring the large majority of their shares into an Employee Ownership Trust (EOT) in October 2021 for the benefit of all employees, Go Ape’s founders Tristram and Rebecca Mayhew wrote down a statement of ambition for the company going forward. This statement is recorded as ‘The Founders’ Wishes’. It is based upon the core values that shaped the direction and decision making of Go Ape’s first 20 years. 

 

On 28th March 2002, our first ever Go Ape site opened at High Lodge, Thetford Forest, Norfolk. Tris and Becs wanted to build a company everyone could be proud of, with a clear vision, mission and values. They wrote these down in the first season, and they became Go Ape’s compass, guiding all decisions. If a course of action didn’t pass the vision, mission and values test – they didn’t do it. 

 

The Founders’ wishes are that Go Ape continues to follow the current mission, vision, values and ethos as laid out below: 

Go Ape’s Mission

Creating adventures and encouraging everyone to live life more adventurously. 

 

 

Go Ape's vision

To be the best adventure company on the planet (where you can be home in time for tea).  

Our Core Values


We believe in keeping the ‘adventure’ in adventure

We believe zero risk equals zero development. Without an element of developmental risk, it isn’t an adventure; it’s a ride. We boost confidence and risk management skills and get a buzz turning ‘I can’t’ into ‘I can’. We aim to challenge, surprise and excite, designing in customer wow and delight. 

We are inspired by and share the ethos of the Campaign for Adventure

The campaign seeks to show:

  • That life is best approached in a spirit of exploration, adventure and enterprise
  • To influence and better inform attitudes towards risk
  • To build wider recognition that chance, unforeseen circumstances and uncertainty are inescapable features of life and that absolute safety is unachievable
  • To demonstrate that sensible education and preparation enable an appropriate balance to be achieved between risk & safety and achievement & opportunity 

We are socially and environmentally responsible but not preachy

Go Ape is for purpose as much as for profit. We are about ‘Creating adventures and encouraging everyone to live life more adventurously’ because we believe life is so much more rewarding when lived boldly and out of your comfort zone. 

We share success and create worthwhile, rewarding jobs and careers. We will be fair and reasonable in all that we do, and a bit more so. Strong trust and respect-based relationships forge strong business. We aim to treat customers, colleagues, suppliers and partners how we would like to be treated ourselves. We seek to be two steps better in everything we do, with an increasing focus on environmental responsibility. 

We want to do the right thing

Doing the right thing is the right thing to do. Ultimately, before finally green-lighting any decision, we must ask, ‘is this the right thing to do?’. If we reflect that it isn’t, we won’t do it, even if it would have generated more profit. 

The Go Ape Ethos

Adventure 

This is the central core around which everything else is built. Real adventure, not just a ride. We want our customers to discover the natural high which comes from living life more adventurously. We are about keeping the ‘adventure in adventure’. If we had to sum up Go Ape in just one word, ‘adventurous’ would be it. We should ‘walk the talk’ and invest time and resources in adventure training for our tribe and celebrate bold adventures and adventurers, inside and outside the Go Ape family. 

Tribe 

An adventure isn’t the same when you have no one to share it with. The sense of ‘tribe’ is central to the Go Ape experience. We want to be a diverse and inclusive organisation at all levels and cherish our working culture, where everyone is respected, welcomed and encouraged to become the best they can be. 

Wonder

Go Ape is about wonder, the natural, peaceful environment, the trees, the distinctive woodland smell. It’s about the wonder and anticipation of what will happen next – new challenges and adventures at every turn. It’s also about reconnecting with fond childhood memories or exploration and discovery. It should all add up to wonder-full. 

Rush 

A deep feeling of elation, freedom, achievement and wellbeing that’s unique to Go Ape – not just because of where we are and what we do, but how we do it. We design in ‘Wow’ and customer delight because how can we be proud of average? We don’t mollycoddle participants because training them to take control of their own safety in potentially hazardous environments builds their confidence to live adventurous lives, safely. There’s no better, healthier, longer-lasting rush than that. 

Wow 

The best brands are the ones that wow their customers and have a real sense of purpose above and beyond simply turning a profit. We’d like to build long term relationships with our customers to encourage them to lead more adventurous lives. We’re prepared to work hard to delight them, inspire them and exceed their expectations. When things do go wrong, even if the causes were out of our control, anyone within Go Ape must have the confidence and sense of empowerment to take responsibility for making things better quickly. If there’s an apology to be made, make it straight away on behalf of Go Ape. Do what feels right, there and then, to turn the situation around. No customer is louder in their praise than those who expected the worst and received the very best. 

Evolution of the Founders’ Wishes over time 

 

We understand that times may change. It may be necessary for the principles set down in the Founders’ Wishes to be amended. However, any such change would only be possible with the agreement of the Trustee of the Employee Ownership Trust, the members of the Employee Council and the Management Board. To be clear, the Founders’ wishes are that Go Ape remains independent in the long term. The Go Ape brand name is retained and remains synonymous with creating adventures and encouraging everyone to live life more adventurously. 

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