Westmont Magazine Making the World Her Adventurous Classroom
Janelle Adderley Schroy ’03 pursues the adventure of a lifetime, traveling to 50 different countries in five years with her husband, Jedd, and their four daughters. “We have vast experience living overseas and traveling and a passion for culture, Jesus, language and the arts,” she says.
The couple met as teenagers on a mission trip to Thailand. Eight years later, after they’d both earned bachelor’s degrees in political science, they reunited on another outreach. They got married a year later.
While living in Cape Town, South Africa, for 10 years, they created Paradigm Shift, a non-profit program that churches in 12 African countries use to empower the poor through business training, microfinance, mentoring and biblical discipleship. They became parents to Reagan (11), Madison (9), Devyn (7) and Peyton (5).
Janelle also developed Adventure Clubs, an app that took families on experiences in Cape Town. With venture funding, she expanded into different markets, designing fun, unique, educational adventures. It quickly grew until the pandemic shut down such activities. “We transitioned to a virtual product, but it never took off,” she says.
With Adventure Clubs on hold and the Schroy clan in San Diego, Janelle and Jedd began envisioning their children’s education. “How do we give them a vast, broad experience not limited to a classroom?” she says. “We wanted them to see the world, experience cultures, speak lots of languages, taste all kinds of foods. So we moved our work online and began to travel.”
Janelle enjoys photography and has taught all levels of school, while Jedd, director of evaluation at Excellence in Giving, enjoys capturing his family’s adventures on video. They’ve created a YouTube channel and are documenting their trip to all 50 countries. The Adventure Family Journal gives each daughter a specific topic they're personally passionate about, and the family explores these subjects together in each area they visit. “Reagan is a violinist and artist and covers art, sculpture, music and landmarks,” Janelle says. “Madison is passionate about the sciences and an adventure sports addict, so she reports on those topics. Devyn wants to be a chef, and she’s crazy about animals.” Peyton, the youngest, is interested in all things cultural and is learning to speak English, Spanish, French and Italian.
Janelle produces the family’s YouTube show, connecting with experts for her daughters to interview. In Mendoza, Argentina, the girls met a top fashion designer preparing for the National Harvest Festival. “We spent a whole day with her as she taught the girls how she designs a dress and explained the importance of fashion in Argentina,” Janelle says.
The Adventure Family Journal includes more than 60 five- to 10-minute videos aimed at children ages 5–12. Common Sense Media has licensed a majority of the films to feature on their new streaming app for children, Sensical. Epic!, an educational resource available in nearly every U.S. school, also features the family’s videos.
Two years ago, the Schroys visited CBS Studios in New York, and Reagan spent the day interviewing and reading scripts with Megan Alexander ’02, a Westmont alumna and Inside Edition reporter.
“When Megan and I were roommates at Westmont, we were both involved in acting and performing on screen. We used to stay up late talking about how we could make the world better by influencing Hollywood and making high-quality media,” Janelle says.
In January and February during a stay in Hawaii, the daughters researched volcanology, astronomy, salt mining from deep water ocean, and coffee farms. “We’re all learning and growing together,” Janelle says.
After Argentina, they traveled to Manaus on the Amazon River for about a month before heading back to Europe to explore Austria. Based in Vienna, they’ll make trips to Prague, Bratislava and Munich. They’ll visit Amsterdam for the Tulip Festival in Holland before exploring Norway during its national celebration of Constitution Day. In June they head to Iceland, the land of fire and ice, so the family can experience an incredible microclimate. “It’s important to expose the kids to many different languages, climates and cultures,” Janelle says. “Though we are followers of Jesus, we want the kids to have an understanding and respect for the traditions and beliefs of various faith traditions, so we visit temples, mosques, synagogues and other kinds of churches.”
After recharging at a villa on Cyprus, they’ll tour Israel, Jordan, Turkey, Egypt and Italy.
Janelle is a freelance writer for various travel magazines and a regular guest speaker at teachers’ conferences and conventions. Her new book,
“Italy: A Travel Guide for Parents with Young Children,” is the first of a 20-part collection of travel guides for parents called Adventure Family Travel Guides. Each book focuses on how parents can bring learning alive for children in a different country.
“In the guide for Italy, I curate the top educational adventures for parents when they travel with kids to Venice, Rome, Vatican City and Florence,” she says. “I give them a child-focused history of various landmarks, things to look for, treasure hunts and recipes from that country. I also connect specific stories with crafts and challenges so kids will enjoy museums, gardens, cathedrals and architecture. A music playlist for every city allows kids to immerse themselves in music written about a city or while the composer lived there. The guide equips parents to make travel exciting, educational and fun for kids.
Janelle appreciates her LIBERAL ARTS education and the diversity of worship experiences in chapel at Westmont. “I loved my integrated education,” she says. “It wasn’t siloed. Subjects like philosophy, politics and history were integrated in the context of my relationship with Jesus. I’ve taken that idea into every aspect of my career and life, including my parenting.”