About Inner Quest

Inner Quest is an experiential educational organization. We encourage holistic growth through safe, challenging adventure. IQ Adventures enhance self-awareness, strengthen self-confidence, deepen interpersonal responsibility and compassion and heighten sensitivity to the natural environment. These educational benefits are available to all ages, interest groups and special populations through Inner Quest’s unique adaptive programming capabilities.

Inner Quest staff members are the product of extensive training, which ensures selection of only qualified, mature and responsible individuals.The training begins with a demanding 12-week IQ apprenticeship. Each candidate is carefully evaluated. Those selected as qualified are then required to participate in continued training and development to increase both technical skills and effective use of the Inner Quest educational process.

Area of Expertise

Not only the adventure activities we conduct, but also subjects such as safety, instructional methods, emergency care, rescue, physical fitness, and numerous red cross references.


For optimal instruction and learning opportunity, participants are divided into groups of 8 to 12. Day Quests and Urban Quests groups are instructed by one instructor. All other programs, two instructors are assigned to each group.


As exemplified by IQ’s outstanding record, safety is paramount in all programs. Out staff closely supervises all activities, emphasizing safety while maintaining the necessary atmosphere of challenge and adventure.

Inner Quest History

Randy and Sara Smith

These are our roots! Now, 41 years later…

Inner Quest was founded in 1979, taking over from its predecessor Discovery, Inc. Discovery, which was founded in 1971, was one of the very first Challenge Course companies in the country.

Randy and Sara Smith are Co-CEOs of Inner Quest, Inc. Randy Smith grew up in Carroll County, MD and studied engineering at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, VA. Among other things, Randy was an associate engineer for Gould, the Outdoor Program Head at Camp Airy, a certified professional ski instructor and an assistant to the director of Discovery, Inc. He helped found Inner Quest in 1979.

Randy is well known for his contributions to the Challenge Course and Experiential Education fields and he served for over 6 years as the founding president of the Association for Challenge Course Technology.

Sara Smith grew up in Potomac, MD and has a B.S. in Conservation and Resource Development from the University of Maryland in College Park. Sara came to Inner Quest in 1980 and currently serves as the Director, managing all aspects of our operations.

Honors, Awards, Memberships

Randy Smith was founding president of the Association for Challenge Course Technology and was the second recipient of the ACCT Critical Link Award.

Both Randy and Sara were involved with the founding and activities of the Virginia Council of Outdoor Adventure Education. Inner Quest was named Adventure Company of the Year by VCOAE.

Inner Quest has been an enthusiastic sponsor, contributor, and participant in a whole host of civic and community activities including the Baltimore Waterfront Festival, National Capitol Red Cross, Washington, DC Anacostia Waterway Cleanup program and the Whitewater World Championships in Savage River, Maryland.

Inner Quest was named 2009 AEE mid-Atlantic region organization of the year.

2019 was our 40th year

Statement of Principals

Inner Quests Goals:

  • To present experiences which will bear a positive influence upon our Adventurers perspective of themselves and on their surrounding environment.
  • To provide opportunities for self discovery and expression through participation in adventure activities presented in a challenging, safe manner.
  • To provide opportunities for the successful confrontation of physical, psychological and social challenges.
  • To aid in the development of group skills through participation in activities which require the ideas, cooperation and support of each group member.
  • To increase awareness of the need for responsibility, respect and trust for others as a member of a shared small group experience.
  • To develop an appreciation of the interdependence of all life forms and the realization that we are each responsible for the preservation of the natural environment.

Inner Quest Methodologies:

  • Our programs are presented in a graduated manner, appropriate to the participating population, allowing for the mastery and reinforcement of each newly acquired skill.
  • We incorporate the need for a cooperative group effort as a means of developing group living skills.
  • We focus on positive self image development by establishing patterns of successful achievement.
  • We take the opportunity to explore and discuss the impact an experience may hold in equipping students to deal more effectively with their day-to-day lives.
  • We utilize low impact camping techniques, emphasizing respect for the environment.
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