Coming soon! Check back here for program blog updates.
ARGENTINA – Land of Discovery – July 2 – July 15, 2017
¡Hola! ¡Bienvenidos a Argentina!
We’re so happy to have all of our students here in Tigre, a tranquil town in the north suburb of Buenos Aires.
After we settled into the hotel Villa Victoria, we enjoyed the sunshine and played a few “rompehielos” (ice breakers) to get to know all 22 students, 3 US staff, and the local Argentine team. Following snack time (and tea time) we looked over the schedule of the fun filled two weeks in Argentina, and completed orientation.
A delicious pasta dinner with Neapolitan ice cream followed and early to bed, ready for a full day tomorrow of kayaking and an introduction to our service project!
Andrea, Kumbi, and Lexi
July 3, 2017
Hello we had a fantastic first full day in Argentina! The people here are amazing, y fantastico. The way of life is fascinating and captivating. Today, we starting off the bright and beautiful day with a breakfast in the Hotel Villa Victoria de Tigre. Afterwards Andrea and her friend Pablo from our service site at the CAEC school. They came to show us what our service site would be like and what we would be doing. For the afternoon we met with Diego and Patricio to kayak down some of the waterways in Tigre. As we stopped for a drink we interviewed Diego and asked him a couple questions about Argentine culture, surprisingly most of his answers dealt with kayaking! We’ve had an awesome first day in Argentina and can’t wait to see and do more!
Your First Leaders of the Day,
Andrew M. and Parker J.
July 4, 2017
¡Hola y bienvenidos a nuestra aventura en Argentina! Today we all began our first day of service through Chacras at Buenos Aires. We were all super excited to get our hands dirty and start working. At CAEC, our service site, the students and volunteer faculty surprised us by taking us to the beach of Rio Tigre,which was just a short walk from the school. We are going to be building a small structure for CAEC out of adobe and eco-ladrillos, giving the school more space to provide for the special needs students. As leaders of the day, we had conducted an interview with one of the faculty members at CAEC named Fabian. He told us that he believes working with special needs children was his calling and that he will continue it for as long as he can. We asked him what the most important thing he had learned from the children was and he said, “Before we can talk about and confront issues surrounding diversity, we must first discuss inclusion and opportunities within society.” Fabian is a judo instructor for disabled children and is also a track and field coach for the deaf and blind. He mentioned how he uses different methods of judo for different disabilities as well, and for those who can’t move as easily as others, he’s taught them how to fall in a way that would hurt less. When we went back to home base, we all enjoyed trying Argentine food, such as empanadas for lunch and blood sausage for dinner! We’ve been loving our time here in Argentina! Don’t miss us too much because we’re having a baller time. ¡Ciao!
~Aritri and Hannah
July 5, 2017
After breakfast we began the day by playing telephone and a fun icebreaker called name tag. We then made our way to our service site to begin our second day of work. We braved the rain and sticky mud, making good progress on our construction project. We dug many holes. After returning from service and having a nice snack, we met Giselle and Georgia- our tango instructors. For the next hour, they taught us the art of Argentine tango! After tango we had dinner and then split into our mentor groups with Kumbi and Lexi. We discussed cultural stereotypes and where they come from, along with T Hall’s Iceberg Culture Theory. We also did rose, bud, and thorn from the day. Finally, we went back to our rooms to get some rest after a long, busy day!
-Alex and Isabel
July 6, 2017
After breakfast at 8 am, the GLA students participated in an intense game of capture the flag, in which one of the participants, Aritri, ended up jumping into the pool to help her team win the game. Afterwards, we started working on constructing “ecoladrillos”, or ecobricks, that we would later use in our work site. While constructing these bricks, we watched a documentary called “Plasitc Ocean”, in order to learn more about the effects of plastic on our environment, and how to actively get involved in the prevention of plastic ending up in our oceans. We learned different methods to cut plastic out of our lives, and help save many aquatic animals and most importantly, protect our future health. For lunch, we had lentil stew along with Argentinian bread cake. In the afternoon, we headed out to the city to explore el Museo de Arte de Tigre, or art museum of Tigre, where we saw paintings by multiple Argentinian artists including Quinquela Martin. We later continued walking around the heart of the city, buying some local foods on our way. When we got home, we did an activity where we watched a ted talk video about “big talk”, or the opposite of “small talk”, where we would skip small talk, and directly have a personal conversation in order to know them better. To continue getting to know the students, we played “speed-friending”, where we spent 2 minutes explaining something personal about ourselves to different people. For dinner, we enjoyed incredible lasagna and ice cream for dessert. Our night time activity was watching a movie called “inside out”, about people’s different emotions. After an activity packed day, we ended our evening in our beds!!
-Afsaneh and Danny
July 9, 2017
We woke up to a chilly, foggy morning at the estancia today. We were served a filling breakfast of eggs, bacon, toast, cereal, breads, and lots of fruit! The first group set out for horseback riding and got rained on… A LOT. Luckily it stopped raining for the second group to ride horses, but because the saddles were wet, we ended up looking as if we all peed our pants! After drying off we had another super filling meal: asado lunch. There were empanadas, salads, french fries, and a very LARGE assortment of meats. After lunch it was time to say goodbye to the dogs, horses, gauchos, and estancia. :'((
After our trip to the Estancia, we took the bus to a small town, San Antonio de Areco, with historical sites. We spent 10 minutes there in the rain and then left for the Puerto de Frutos. The Puerto de Frutos market had a variety of Argentine souvenirs. Unfortunately, we went as the stores began to close and had to pick another location. We decided to go to Chinatown and found small stores to shop at. There were super unique souvenirs and weird foods to try. After a long day of horseback riding and shopping, we went back to home base and ended the night with a delicious meal of shepherds pie.
Overall, today was a lovely adventure that we enjoyed leading the group through 🙂
Alaina and Sonia (the best leaders of the day)
July 10th, 2017
I’m guessing I should start this blog with an introduction of myself. My name is Amanda Harvey, and I’m from Lubbock, Texas. When you ask your child/ relative/ friend that is on this trip about me, they’ll probably describe me as the dog girl (I have 3 dogs who I talk about nonstop). I was the leader of the day on July 10th. On this day, we got the honor of speaking to a lady about her experience during the Argentina Revolution. Lucía described an unforgettable story about getting taken away from her mother, and her grandfather’s quest to find her. Most importantly, she came to our home base with the intention of spreading a message of love. Lucía stated, “I don’t like war, I like peace.” I think this stuck with us all for the following days to come. In addition to speaking with Lucía, we also made an immense amount of progress on our building. We began constructing our first wall and put up our four poles that would outline the structure. All in all, this was a fairly productive and important day. I’d like to end my blog with a shout out to my mother, Emma Coronado (she insisted I wrote about her in my blog, so here I am). Thank you, mom, for always being so amazing and supporting me on this mission trip!
July 11, 2017
¡Hola! Today was another great day in Argentina! For the majority of our day we worked at CAEC. Today was highly progressive for building because the sky was clear and we did not have to deal with the rainy, cold conditions of the past week. Using the adobe mud and ecoladrillas we made in previous days, we began to build the first wall of the building. As leaders, we were allowed the opportunity to interview young workers at the school. These interviews offered a unique, interesting perspective about the school that differed from the people who founded it. They described their passion for the kids at CAEC and how they love helping them discover their different abilities. After service, we were allowed to use wifi for a couple of hours. Most of us contacted family and friends during the rare opportunity to talk to people outside of Argentina. After dinner, we discussed strategies to share our experiences when we return home. The day ended in a big jam session with everyone singing along. It was another great day in Argentina and we all look forward to the last few days of the journey and the future opportunities to bond with the CAEC students, locals, and each other.
-CATIE AND MARIE
GLA Blog: July 13th, 2017
Today we went to the capital, Buenos Aires! After taking an hour train ride to the city, we walked a couple blocks down to an small, authentic Argentine store, Arandu. Here, there were many leather products (i.e. wallets, boots, bracelets, etc.), gaucho hats, and “alparagatas” (shoes that resemble ‘Toms’) which Argentina is very well known for.
After, we continued to walk the busy streets and were surrounded by exquisite architecture influenced by the French. We walked aside the widest streets in South America; it consisted of 5 lanes on both sides.
Next, we headed to La Boca by bus. All of us sat on the second floor of the double decker bus and got to see the city in a different point of view. We passed the Pink House, Obelisk, and many other local landmarks. As we got closer, there were many colorful buildings and murals.
For lunch, we left La Boca and headed toward Buenos Aires again. We ate at an all you can eat buffet that included an asado (Argentine barbecue).
Towards the end of the tour, we walked all the way back to the train station, allowing us to see even more of the bustling city!
Leaders of the Day,
Paige and Bella
Teen Volunteer Opportunities: From Close to Home to Far Away
There are plenty of ways to volunteer and there’s most likely one that fits your liking. Whether you’re looking for something close to home, at your college, or abroad – there’s a way to get involved and spend your time. We’ve compiled a quick list to make things easy!
If you’re in your hometown:
- Tutor. Maybe it’s your friends little brother that could use some help with math or someone at school. It could be a person you know or a complete stranger. Take a look at local organizations like Boys & Girls Clubs of America and your local library to see what’s out there. And if school isn’t your jam, you could always help by coaching a sport!
- Write. This could be anything from a letter to a congressman about an issue your passionate about to writing a letter to troops who are far away. Check out Operation Gratitude, Soldiers Angels, or do a quick Google search to find other organizations that can send your letter to stationed military. It’s like being a pen pal but for a good cause!
- Donate. Give your time to a neighbor who might need help with yard work, or gather your friends together and bring your old clothes to a Goodwill. Donating and hanging out, talk about a score! You can also spend some time at a retirement home and play chess, checkers, or hear about someone else’s life stories. The opportunities are endless.
If you’re a part of the summer springboard at Berkeley or Yale:
- Community Service Project. Whether you’re at Berkeley or Yale, both have a project that gives back to the local community. After spending some time in the area, you’ll have learned a lot and the skills you’ve acquired will be used in community service. Plus you’ll get a certificate for 8 hours worth.
- Academic Trips. While not really a form of volunteering, you’ll definitely be learning. Depending on what you’re studying – medicine and public health, law and government, and many others – you will visit a professional environment in that field. Make sure to make connections to those working because who knows, the opportunity may arise for you to volunteer at that organization!
- Explore. When part of springboard you’ll have plenty of opportunities to venture into the city, to dive into the subject you chose to focus on, and to meet new people. Take all of it in and let that inspire you in a different way. Maybe it will confirm what you want to do academically in college or give you a new idea on how to get involved in that field, or perhaps try something different altogether.
If you’re a part of the GLA volunteer programs overseas:
- Teach. There are many opportunities for you to help teach English or literacy to kids who are struggling with it. A great country to look at is the program in Africa like Tanzania. And if science is more your thing, then look into the GLA program in Bali, where you’ll be sharing about modern day medicine.
- Work. Regardless of what GLA program you decide to partake in you will end up working in that environment. It could look like anything from building a house to restoring traditional temples. Talk about trying new things! Be sure to check out the different countries that GLA has to offer and see which one you would want to spend the most time in!
- Give Back. Without even realizing it, you’ll be giving back to the community that you are in. From helping with the specific destination needs to becoming friends with the locals, you’ll have made an impact in the country.
Which of these wonderful volunteer opportunities for teens would you choose? Let us know in the comments!
Contributed by Samantha Watkins
An Education on Sustainable Development: 4 Examples of Sustainable Building Projects in Action
While anyone who engages in US and world politics might try to tell you that green energy and sustainability are taking a huge beating, it couldn’t be further from the truth. Even though green projects still don’t have mainstream or widespread government backing in most of the world, that hasn’t stopped some serious forward thinking individuals and governmental bodies from undertaking some truly amazing sustainable building projects. Here are some of the most amazing projects undertaken in recent years.
1. Eco City – Hamburg, Germany
The Eco City is a project being undertaken in Hamburg on the shores of once-forgotten Harburg Harbor. Germany has always been a country taking leaps forward in sustainability, and this initiative takes it even further.
The goal of the project is to create a 100% self-sustainable community with 100 percent fully sustainable power sources and its own office buildings, warehouses, and production facilities. It will also include plenty of tourist facilities like hotels, restaurants, and retail spaces. All of that powered by sustainable energy is truly a great example to show the rest of the world it can be done. Let’s hope they finish it up soon.
2. World’s largest wind farm – Shepherds Flat, Oregon
Wind power is becoming quite trendy lately, even in the United Sates. In fact, the US has the world’s largest wind farm in Shepherds Flat, Oregon.
Funded by a generous loan from the US Department of Energy a few years back, the wind farm is said to generate 845 megawatts of power over 30 square miles of land. That’s enough power to run 235,000 average households and may prevent up to 1.5 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions per year.
3. Bud Clark Commons – Portland, Oregon
OK, I think it’s becoming more obvious that Oregon is a very forward-thinking state in the United States, and this next example is further proof. The Bud Clark Commons is the result of Portland’s 10-year plan to end homelessness. The building serves as a temporary home to homeless people transitioning into more permanent living arrangements.
The building offers a day center, public courtyard, and easy access to transportation. There is a 90-bed temporary shelter area and 130 separate permanent studio apartments that the homeless can transition into. All of this is fully sustainable and certified by Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED).
The facility has features like graywater recycling, zero stormwater runoff, solar hot water, and a high-performance envelope. The estimated energy savings per year versus fossil fuels is $60,000.
4. Solar energy-collecting bike paths – Netherlands
In the Netherlands, a few companies are joining forces to launch an innovative new idea, bike paths that can harvest solar energy. The project could be a game changer for the world if it works out, proving that much of the world’s sidewalks could be replaced with panels to harvest energy into the grid, potentially saving tons of greenhouse gas emissions and money.
The idea is a simple bike path that’s made of concrete topped with glass. Beneath the surface, silicon solar cells capture energy at an estimated 50 kWh per square mile per year. That sounds pretty small admittedly, but when you scale it up to the size of an average city the savings could be massive.
The path, called the SolaRoad, has already been rolled out in a small test section. It has exceeded expectations so far, which is great news for the future of green roads.
What other sustainable development examples in the real world have you excited for the future? Tell us in the comments!
Contributed by Nicholas Bartholomew
Short Term Mission Trips for Teens and Young Adults
No matter your age or background, participating in a mission trip is a life-changing experience. There are few other more impactful opportunities to broaden your perspective while also safely challenging your personal comfort zones. The sense of togetherness and empowerment achieved from your work will forever remain a part of you and the way you observe the world. The thought of traveling abroad with people you don’t know for any extended period of time can, however, seem difficult and intimidating. Don’t be fooled. This is one experience you absolutely don’t want to miss out on. Here are five great reasons you should jump at the opportunity to participate in a short term mission trip, no matter how old you are or where you live.
1. Knowledge That You Made a Difference in the World
Whether you’re helping children learn to read, digging wells, or rebuilding homes after a natural disaster, the work you do on your mission trip will impact the lives of other people. The knowledge that you have made a difference, even for just a single person, will be something you can be proud of for years to come.
2. Ability to Easily Manage Your Trip around School or Work
While long term mission trips offer participants the opportunity to make change on a bigger scale, taking off from school or work for an indeterminate amount of time simply isn’t possible for everyone. Short term service trips, on the other hand, often span only 10 to 14 days and can be scheduled over holiday breaks or by using paid vacation time.
3. Opportunity to Use What You Learn Abroad When You Get Home
You will likely return from your mission trip with knowledge of and proficiency in many new things, regardless of the duration of your service. This new understanding, as well as any acquired skills, can often be put to great use at home, in your church, and within your community.
4. Chance to Explore without Long-Term Commitment to a Single Place
Traveling abroad can be scary, especially if you’ve never done it before. Opting to participate in a short term mission trip allows for a sampling of the experience and the location without making a long term commitment. Participating in several short term service trips to different places can often help you better determine what you’re meant to be doing and where you’re called most to do it.
5. Expansion and/or Revitalization of Your Faith in People
One thing is certain; joining together on mission trips for young adults and other like-minded people giving selflessly to achieve a common goal is good for the soul. Whether you’ve been feeling unfulfilled and disconnected or are simply seeking to expand upon and express your faith in other people a new way, a short term mission trip may be exactly what you need.
Contributed by Amanda Vosloh Bowyer
- Next Page »