Thanks for the checking out the blog for this Global Leadership Adventures program!
Here are a few things you can expect:
- We typically receive 2-3 blog posts per week here at GLA Headquarters from our program staff and students, so please don’t be alarmed if you don’t see a blog post daily – that’s totally normal.
- Blog updates sent on weekends may not be posted until Monday.
- Due to many factors, including but not limited to internet accessibility, photos may not always be available to post onto the blog. Sometimes onsite program staff are only able to send text back to Headquarters, where our team updates the blog.
Cell Phone Policy: The GLA cell phone policy is currently in place this summer to help foster meaningful connections between students. This means your student’s phone will be collected every day and returned to them throughout the program during designated spaces of time we call ‘tech time’. Actual tech times and regularity will vary greatly by program location. During designated ‘tech time’, your student may use their phones as they wish. Please note that your student may not always choose to use this time to get a hold of their parents. If you are not hearing directly from your student each day, you can assume that no news is good news! We strongly recommend you follow the blog to follow your students’ experience without talking to them every day. If you are a parent and would like to get in touch with your student directly, you can call us at +1-619-758-3031 and we can set up a formal time for you to connect with your student.
Thank you for your patience and understanding, and we hope you enjoy following along on these unforgettable adventures.
For frequently asked questions about the blogs, please visit our Program Blog FAQ page.
-The Global Leadership Adventures HQ Team
BLOG POST FOR JULY 17
Hello from Juneau to our families and friends!
All students have arrived safely after a long day of travel for some of them. It’s a rainy day here, which is typical for Juneau as it is a temperate rainforest. The students are getting settled into our beautiful homebase at the University of Alaska Southeast and getting to know each other. Tomorrow will be a full day of orientation; touring home base, paddling a traditional Tlingit canoe, and getting to know each other better. Everyone is excited to be here and there is already great energy from the group!
We look forward to sharing our adventures with you over the next 2 weeks!
-Kelly (GLA Program Mentor)
BLOG POST FOR JULY 17
Hello family and friends!
Today we started with orientation after breakfast and had the privilege of meeting Fran, an elder of the Tlingit community, which is the land we are on. She officially welcomed us to their community and shared stories of the history of her tribe and this land. We also had the opportunity to go out on Auke Lake in a traditional canoe! The students learned more about GLA, our staff, and our coming service and adventures. Starting tomorrow, we will have a Leader of the Day, so future blog posts will be written directly by the students!
We are looking forward to a tram ride tomorrow with a view of the city, a short hike, and some time to explore downtown Juneau!
– GLA staff
BLOG POST FOR JULY 20
Hi everyone! Today was an eventful day. We met a kind lady named Colleen and her husband Lyle who are from the Taku and Klingit tribes. They shared some knowledge about their ancestry and heritage as well as a demonstration on Devil’s club salve, which smelled earthy. Colleen explained to all of us that the name “Devil’s Club” came from colonists and that the name was misleading, as it is the main ingredient in many tribal medicines. Lyle and Colleen then led us in a medicinal plant workshop. We walked along the road and she pointed out many different plants and their medicinal properties as well as how to prepare them.
Before this workshop, we didn’t know that these plants existed and didn’t know how helpful they were. For example, there is a plant called Skunk Cabbage, which if eaten raw, secretes chemicals to make you feel like you’re chewing on fiberglass. However if food is wrapped up in it and cooked, the chemicals will neutralize and the flavor of the food will be enhanced. We were able to harvest the stems of the Devil’s Club (Sah’t is it’s Tlingit name). We said thank you to the earth in Tlingit after harvesting the plant and we left the leaves behind to decompose and continue the cycle in the forest. We were taught to prepare it to make salve and tea. Then we all went to a bog/ clearing area to harvest another plant for tea. In this small workshop, we learned that sometimes the most helpful item is right next to us.
We then went to a Catholic shrine. Everyone is allowed to visit the shrine if they are respectful and open. People were walking in a stone labyrinth and placing items on a rock in the center to show they had made it through. The area overlooked the snowy mountains and the channels. The flowers planted there were beautiful too. There were red lilies and purple Columbine and white peonies. I heard that the cathedral’s interior was beautiful. We saw a raven sitting on a rock eating elderberries.
After seeing the shrine, we got in the vans and drove to an inside gym, where we would play some traditional Tlingit games that were both training for hunting and survival. We practiced hopping as if we were hopping across ice drifts, seal hunting and a high kick that was used by hunters to alert townspeople and other hunters that they had caught an animal. Then, the Tlingit leaders of the activity showed us the ‘seal hop’. Hunters would dress as seals and move like them to get closer to them so they could hunt effectively. That was all the activities we did today, all of which were fun. We are excited to do community service tomorrow for the first time!
BLOG POST FOR JULY 22
Written by Will and Kyle (Leaders of the Day)
Today was a service day, so we woke up at 6:30am and hit the ground running. We got to the trailhead at 9am. We also learned trail etiquette, how to use the tools, and how to respect the land. We hiked up to this beautiful trail for 45 minutes until we reached the work sites. From there, we split off and dug new ditches, put in culverts and erosion countermeasures. From there, we dug through mud, water, and rain. At around 2pm, we packed up and descended. We then drove 30 minutes to a beach and had s’mores and took in the ocean view. We then wrapped up the day with dinner and an awareness activity with Rudy.
BLOG POST FOR JULY 23
Hello again everyone. Today was an early day like many others to come. We woke up and left home base by 7:30 this morning to make it to the boat which would take us to Tracy Arm Fjord and eventually float us over to Sawyer Glacier. The fjord was beautiful to drive through, we found ourselves passing waterfalls and cliffs that would go straight up thousands of feet. We learned that the fjord was formed by glaciers thousands of years ago during the ice age. We were also able to experience some of the wildlife the waters around Juneau have to offer. On our trip through the fjord we were able to spot orcas, humpback whales, and sea lions along with a variety of birds. Apparently it is very rare to see orcas and the tour guides told us it was the 3rd time this season seeing them.
We eventually arrived at the glacier which was massive and unusually blue. We learned that the blue color in the glacier is caused by the lack of oxygen and other air molecules in the ice which made it so that, much like the color of the sky, only the blue wavelengths of light were able to reflect off. Overall it was a very worthwhile day and I think everyone really enjoyed the scenery and the slower paced day compared to the prior two consecutive days of service. On another note we are preparing for a 2 night trip to Hanes tomorrow which we all are excited about and wondering about what other amazing experiences we will get to have.
BLOG POST FOR JULY 24
Written by Kate and Charlie
Hello Everyone!! Today was a long day. We had an early wake up call and were on a ferry by 5:30am. We took the 5 hour ferry to Haines, Alaska where we’ll stay for two nights. When we arrived in Haines we stopped at Mountain Market to pick up lunch and snacks. We then went to the motel and settled in. After getting settled in, we went to Kroschel’s Wildlife Park. We were able to meet many different animals such as wolves, lynx, porcupine, moose, a grizzly bear and more. Most of the animals were orphaned then taken in and raised by Steve Kroschel, who owns the park. They were all tame and we were able to pet many of them.
BLOG POST FOR JULY 25
Written by Ashley
Today was our first night in Haines, after a long day yesterday we were able to sleep in. After breakfast in the motel, we walked around the town for an hour then met up and went to the museum and gallery to learn about the Chilkat culture. Then we got lunch at a market and went rafting down the river. After rafting, we ate our lunch then got back in the vans and went back to the motel.
BLOG POST FOR JULY 27
Written by Alex and Gabe
Today was a great day back in Juneau. We were welcomed back with amazing sun and a warm day. We started off with a tour of Glacier Gardens where we saw beautiful Alaskan greenery and upside down trees. We took a ride to the top of the mountain where we could see the city of Juneau, planes taking off, and amazing scenery. Then we met back up with trail mix for a great day of service. We hiked up, ate lunch on the trail, and continued our projects conserving the trail. We cleared paths to let water off the trail, collected rocks to prevent creek erosion, and secured the culverts. We got back to the dorms and ate dinner as a group before we finished our day with a leadership activity.
BLOG POST FOR JULY 28
Written by Sophia
Today we woke up ready for a full fun day of service! We had our favorite breakfast- biscuits- a campers favorite. We then headed over to the Perseverance Trail. There we met up with our Trail Mix friends: Carolyn, Sam, Ambrose, Megan, and Laib. We hiked up the trail and the group split up, some people doing Colvert work and others doing tread work. The weather was rainy but everyone loves trail work and made the best of it. After hours of work, we drove home from the trail and most campers chilled in their dorms, relaxing after the long day. We played some group games including a huge dorm hide and go seek game, and then it was dinner time. For dinner we had yummy spaghetti and meatballs with salad on the side. Campers then sadly started packing and cleaning our rooms since we won’t have much time tomorrow. To close our night off, we did a group activity about goal setting and set our own personal goals to take home to our communities. We talked about how to apply all that we have learned on this trip where we live.
BLOG POST FOR JULY 30
Hello everyone! Today was bittersweet as all students were dropped off at Juneau International Airport ending our epic two week adventure. Most students left bright and early around 5am while the last student departed in the afternoon. The hardest part about dropping off students is reflecting on everything we did as a group. From community service, to watching orca whales, to eating salmon, to diving into leadership curriculum on behalf of the Juneau staff, we will miss you!
Thank you for the wonderful memories and we hope that you reach your final destination safely. Remember to conserve the memories you created here and to always keep in touch. GLA staff is super grateful for the opportunity to continue working with such dedicated high school students. Until next time!