Most high school students mark their days by the sound of lockers closing and class-bells ringing. But students at The Traveling School, a small non-profit program headquartered in Bozeman, Montana, have a completely different experience. The Traveling School sends its students — all teenage girls — to the world’s far corners, empowering them academically, physically, and culturally through an experiential semesters. Here, the school’s Development Director Leah Knickerbocker talks about the importance of photos in promoting the school’s message and how a small team accomplishes it using Mylio.
The school you run is not exactly traditional…
It really is as cool as it sounds. Twice a year, we send 16 motivated young women, along with four teachers, to a unique region of the globe for 15 weeks. The teens immerse themselves in new cultures, develop outdoor skills and, most important, build confidence and a personal toolkit they’ll use for the rest of their lives — and they earn full school credit! We’ve been doing this for 15 years, and have more than 300 alumnae.
Where do the students go?
This year, for the Fall semester, they went to Namibia, Botswana, Zambia, and South Africa. In the Spring, students will travel to Ecuador, Peru, and Bolivia.
You must take a lot of photos in those places.
We do have lots of photos — 36,000 of them, with a few thousand more coming in each semester. Since there are only four of us in the office, we need to be efficient in the way we work with them.
How do you use the pictures?
The photos captured overseas by teachers and students are the best way to tell our story. Prospective students tend to find us online or through word of mouth, so having strong, compelling images for our web site and social media is how we grab attention from teenage girls who want to explore the world.
Has handling those 36,000 photos been challenging?
Our photo library was originally on a shared server, but that didn’t work well for us. Someone recommended Dropbox, which was great for storage, but we couldn’t search for specific images. Then we heard about Mylio. Mylio is great for organizations like ours, because our staff shares access to the photo library, and we can find things quickly. It’s awesome.
How does Mylio help you manage it all?
We rely heavily on locations and keywords — in what country an image was taken, what activity was going on, etc. The rest takes care of itself. I do marketing and funding, so the pictures I use are inspirational. I can type in “rock climbing” and choose from a bunch of great shots. But our Program person has a different audience, which includes our Board, so she’s looking for different kinds of pictures. In terms of workflow, we use Mylio’s Folder and Album views. Everything is in folders according to semester; I love how easy it is to create them and flip through them to see things. Then each of us creates separate albums for different goals.
What kind of goals?
I post to social media daily, so I’m always grabbing awesome photos for Instagram. And because our web site only takes banners of a certain size, I’ve created a folder just for images I’ve pre-cropped, so I can pull from it without thinking. If you’re doing marketing or social media and have lots of photos, Mylio’s the best thing you could possibly have. Hands down, it’s the best thing out there.
David Carrington is a Seattle-based editor who writes about photo organization and management.