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.
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 10
The new GLA Utah Program staff were thrilled to welcome 18 students to their new outdoor playground today. After a morning of greeting new faces and playing some cards in the airport, the group set off to Moab in two vans to settle into the campground and learn all about GLA and the adventures awaiting them for the next 9 days. Two of the many campground highlights include a yurt in which 6 students are sleeping and a friendly neighborhood cat that gained a few names from the GLA crew including Sandy, Rocky, and Campground Cat.
After orientation, students watched the Canyonlands Field Institute (CFI) staff who are co-directing the program set up and cook dinner on the same camping equipment that the students will use to cook meals during the river portion of the trip. Students also learned how to clean dishes in the field by using a succession of water bins in order to minimize water use and ensure that we “leave no trace” while camping. With stomachs full from a dinner of hamburgers, pasta salad and fruit, students watched their first desert sunset while meeting in their mentor groups and learning more about each other.
After a good nights sleep, students will be refreshed and ready for their first day of service tomorrow helping put finishing touches on an affordable housing unit built by a local non-profit who use natural and sustainable resources to design homes for low-income folks in Moab.
*Masks were pulled down just for the photos
BLOG POST FOR JULY 11
We all woke up around 6:45 (give or take) and started to get ready for the day. I took a shower and was surprised at the warm water!
We were a bit tardy getting up and ready, but we got a pass because it was the first few days of the trip.
For breakfast we had croissant sandwiches with bacon, cheese, and fried egg. We packed up lunch of either quinoa salad or pb and j, and then prepped for the day.
We had some icebreaker games before leaving, and then drove a short drive to Moab, a (famous) nearby town. We met up with three people running the construction of affordable, environmentally efficient housing in the area. We talked about the goal of their organization, and each of the persons position or role.
After getting to know them we walked to the houses, toured the inside of one, and split into groups to work on different parts of different houses. My group sandpapered and painted a rainwater container, which from my understanding helped to improve the water quality.
In between we ate our lunch, moved rocks, and played with water guns to cool off and have some fun. After trying to keep cool all day we drove to nearby waterholes and waded in. We looked at some cool fungus (and a fat spider too!).
We dried off a bit and went into mentor groups where we talked about leadership and self goals. We drove back to the campsite and had an hour to spend until dinner, where I read and played cards. We were excited about dinner which had garlic bread and spaghetti from what we saw beforehand. We ate dinner, had seconds or thirds, and played a bit more cards.
Once everyone finished eating we washed dishes and got our journals before meeting again at the meal tables. We started a role play-debate sort of activity involving indigenous communities and environmental issues..
We talked and wrote down background knowledge and preliminary questions on the topic. After, we went over the schedule for the following day and then retired into our cabins and got ready for bed.
-Zachary & the GLA Team
BLOG POST FOR JULY 12
We are going on the river starting tomorrow and will not be able to post a blog post update until five days later (on Saturday night or Sunday). Please be aware not expect a blog post or to hear from us directly until then, per our lack of internet/data in the wilderness. As soon as we have another blog post, we’ll update you right away!
The day started at 6:45 as per usual. We got ready for the day and went to a hardy breakfast of eggs, English muffins, and oatmeal. Then, we prepared for a debate, but I will get to that later.
After a morning stretch circle, some camp games, and our daily health check-in, we were off to service. We met up with Joe from Community Rebuilds and he taught us about the plants Kochia and Russia Thistle, which die and turn to tumbleweeds, which we would pull up for two hours in preparation to soon build houses on the site. We then visited the Community Rebuilds headquarters and ate a much deserved sandwich lunch.
Next we split into two groups and my group shoveled gravel at the headquarters for a new office. We said our goodbyes to Joe and the rest of Community Rebuilds and drove off to a canyon for a short but elevated hike and a surreal view over the Colorado River. We also saw Paleographics, picture carvings into sandstone, that has been there for 800-1200 years. Standing in the same exact spot that the humans that inhabited these lands hundred and hundreds of years ago was an eye opening and special experience!
We restocked on snacks as we hit a gas station on the way back, then participated in an intelligent role-play debate about trying to find a balance between wood industries in Australia and the environment and indigenous rights. Dinner was burritos and salad with a variety of dressings, including ranch, which by the way is America’s favorite condiment ;).
After dinner was a river orientation, to make sure everyone knows what is coming up in the next few days on the river. Playing cards and having seemingly pointless debates, such as whether or not a hot dog is a sandwich, throughout our free time keeps us connected and always having fun with each other shows us how a break from the distraction of our modern technology is always needed.
Before we try to contain our excitement for the river to fall asleep, we shoutout to Ms. Jennifer Paisley, for we appreciate comments on the blog and encourage many more. Goodnight all!
BLOG POST FOR JULY 13
River Day 1: Written by Paris and Romina
Today we woke up at 6:30 (earlier than days before) and we finished packing up for the next six days in the river. We were provided two waterproof bags, one for our clothes and the other as a day pack for essential items needed through the day.
We left home base and took around an hour and a half drive to arrive at the river. During the ride we slept, talked about how excited we were for the next rafting days, and listened to our very varied song playlist created by everyone’s suggestion. We finally arrived at the river and received a very basic lesson on how to paddle properly and what to do if we fall off the boat.
We rafted 7 miles throughout the Colorado river and bumped into some rapids. We were able to get off the boat and swim for a while. Almost there, we came across REALLY strong wind that drifted us upstream 20 feet, but we still made it. Arriving at the camp site, we unpacked everything from the boats, such as the kitchen set up, tents, portable toilet (groover), and bags. After dinner we celebrated Alex’s, the head counselor, early birthday by decorating cup cakes. Finishing off the day, we went on a small hike up the mountain to see a good.
BLOG POST FOR JULY 14
River Day 2: Written by Will
Second river day started off with waking up at 6:30 with everyone else. To pass the time up until breakfast we took down the camp from the night prior and packing up our own belongings. After all of that was done, we went to go have a lovely breakfast of bagels and fruit. We continued on with our morning with a game of Rocky Handy, where Brennen (A councilor) proudly showed off his skills at the game.
Followed by safety tips for the day, we then launched off and took on some gnarly rapids right from the start. Bowling alley was the best rapid in my opinion because we hit a lot of giant waves. The rapids we rafted were class 3 and 4s in West Water Canyon which people come from all over the world to raft.
After the first 4 miles of our trip we didn’t hit any big rapids, but we continued with the remaining 12 miles in high spirits with lunch 1’s lots of floating down the river. We arrived at our campsite a few minutes late but set up. We had a very good dinner of Italian sausage and polenta cooked by our chosen chefs of the day. We then went into mentor groups, which is where I am now writing this. In short though, today was a great day.
BLOG POST FOR JULY 15
River Day 3: Written by Chloe and Emmie
Today our campers woke up bright and early at 6:45 by the counselors, who had been up early preparing a delicious breakfast along with the kitchen crew. They had created a breakfast burrito station with fruit on the side, which the campers thoroughly enjoyed.
When it was time to do dishes, we were pleased to see that there were no tiny fish in the dish water (gathered from the river), as there had been the night before, an incident that elicited several screams. Next, we gathered in mentor groups, in which we all covered some deep topics and opened up. Some of the words that campers used to describe their GLA experience included “comfortable”, “happy”, “peaceful”, and “satisfied”.
After that, it was time to load our gear into the boats, using a line of people. We secured the stuff to the boat, ensured that we had everything, and then took off down the river. Today, there were no rapids; it was calm waters all the way. We rafted 11 miles, and almost every camper got to direct their raft, as well as learn how to row with big oars in a different raft containing all the stuff.
We had a relaxing, peaceful day, and got some of the worst tan lines of our lives. There was a lot of bonding that occurred between campers and campers and mentors, which was amazing. Once we got to camp, we set everything up and then prepared for dinner, dishes, and mentor groups. All the campers went to bed feeling weary, but incredibly happy and prepared for the next day.
BLOG POST FOR JULY 16
River Day 4: Written by Andrew
Today we woke up at 6:45 to a heaping breakfast of m&m pancakes, eggs, and bacon, topped with some soothing sweet organic maple syrup and apple sauce. Additionally, these foods were accompanied by some lovely cereal and lactaid for those who cannot tolerate dairy. Soon after breakfast, we packed up our heap of luggage to carry on for the rest of the day.
After packing up, we learned skills to help those in danger if they were ever to fall off the boat and be minor inconvenienced. This little tactic we learned is known as the “swimmer rope”. We then parted off for a pretty traditional day of paddling and those who did not use the ore paddle gadget took part in learning how to stern assist today. Afterwards, we arrived at the campsite and began campsite restoration and invasive species removal. Overall, a solid and productive day of service.
BLOG POST FOR JULY 17
River Day 5: Written by Lexi
Campers woke up to breakfast kindly made by the counselors to commence our last day on the river. We stocked the rafts up with our packed tents and bags and set off for a long day of eleven miles down the river. Many people had opportunities to row on the guide’s boats and take on the role of the paddle captain, leading their peers. We rafted through rapids and flat water, with time to swim and relax on our way to the takeout zone. When we arrived to the lot to load the boats onto trucks, we said goodbye to the river with heavy hearts.
We drove back to our original campground and said a sorrowful goodbye to our great river guides throughout the last five days. After finding out the news that we would all be sleeping in the yurt together, we were all open and flexible to the new change. We finished out the night with a nutritious dinner of pork chops, broccoli salad, potatoes, and apple sauce. We met with our mentor groups for some meditation and pondering our future paths once we leave this trip. We talked as a whole group in preparation for our hike in Arches National Park the next day.
BLOG POST FOR JULY 18
(written by Director Austyn)
For our last full day in Utah, the students were woken up with a special breakfast of french toast and fresh fruit. We set out early to Arches National Park where the students hiked 4 miles up and back to one of the most famous arches in the park, Delicate arch. Local Director Alex was able to share a wealth of geology knowledge with the students throughout the hike, pointing out different types of rock formations and explaining how the elements of wind and water worked over millions of years to create the unique arches and rock formations found in the park.
After visiting Delicate arch, the students were guided into a slot canyon where they ate lunch in the shade and then explored the various canyon mazes and rock scrambles. The visit to Arches National Park ended with a stop to the souvenir store to purchase items to remember the special trip by. Returning to the camp buzzing with energy on the final day, the students had the afternoon to spend time with each other and pack bags before enjoying taco night for dinner. The evening concluded with a final mentor group focused on using knowledge gained from the trip as power to make meaningful change back at home, then a large group wrap up where the students set a mutual set of goals to hold each other accountable to after departing from the program.
As we gear up for an early morning and our final trip to the airport to say goodbye, the GLA Utah Program staff want to thank you all for sharing your wonderful children with us, and for encouraging them to grow and explore through travel and service. We learned so much from them over the past 10 days, and we were honored to have them as our first group of students for the GLA Utah program.