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
Hola a todos!
We have successfully made it to the Galapagos and settled into our home base on Santa Cruz where we will spending the next five nights before going to San Cristobal for the second half of our Galapagos adventure. Everyone is here, and the group is great. Today we met up with International Director John who will be accompanying us for the rest of the trip.
It’s stunning here. After landing on Baltra island, we took a quick boat ride across the channel to Santa Cruz then bussed across the island to the town of Puerto Ayora. We passed through a number of micro-climates and were blown away by the variety of ecosystems. The natural beautify of the island is more than we’d ever hoped for. After spending the afternoon at the Charles Darwin Center and the National Park Breeding Center, we can’t wait to get to the highlands tomorrow to start service where we will be helping endemic tortoise and bird populations.
Wi-Fi is very limited (not available at Home Base), and some of our phone plans aren’t working. If you don’t hear from us every day, it is ok. We will try to find Wi-Fi in town to communicate back home every couple of days and will try to use friends’ phones as well. John told us that WhatsApp, a free messaging app that uses your phone number, is probably the best way to communicate when Wi-Fi is limited.
Please expect blog posts every 2-3 days, but we will do our best to send out a few extra just to keep everyone updated about all the wonderful things we are doing. We miss you and can’t wait to tell you about all the adventures we’ve had when we get back home.
Galapagos A3 (our group name)
BLOG POST FOR JULY 18
Before we started a laborious day of work, our group had to embark on a journey called karaoke. 8:30 in the morning and we were already up and at ‘‘em with fun tunes including Kanye, Fergie, and Big Sean. After arriving at our work site, we became informed on our duties for the day and got straight to work. We worked numerous hours to flatten out this massive gravel mound to make it easier for the tortoises to reach a pond. We shoveled gravel out of a pond to give them more space to drink and removed invasive plant species as well. It was so fun getting after it while shoveling and wheeling the gravel around. The restaurant at the complex had AMAZING food. Not only did we try empanadas during one of our breaks, but we also had amazing fish/chicken at lunch, topped off by either a passion fruit or coffee mousse. We were also able to explore the grounds, see the tortoises moving about, and were even able to crawl inside empty tortoise shells to become one with the tortoises.
Following our long day of service we stopped by two different sinkholes called Los Gemelos before returning back to our hotel. It was super misty and foggy so it totally gave an eery feel. We were a little tired after service so having free time in our rooms to shower and relax before dinner was much appreciated. Dinner, as always, was scrumptious, later followed by a nice stroll to a great ice cream place. While walking back to our hotel, we all found matching Galapagos themed hats and had a photo shoot.
Although we have only been here about three days (and some of us even less), today really seemed to bring us all together. Something about profusely sweating in the mist while shoveling gravel really created a great bonding situation. Overall today was amazing and we are so excited for what is to come.
BLOG POST FOR JULY 19
Today we woke up and had bananas, papaya, and a traditional Ecuadorian corn pastry. We got ready for our first excursion. We started hiking through the city and then took a two mile path to Tortuga Bay. Then we walked along the beach and saw many marine iguanas and seals. We set our stuff down and took our swimming test which everyone passed and swam and enjoyed the very little sun exposure. We all got a great tan. Some students went with John to snorkel with little white tip reef sharks. The others chose to take it easy and lay along the beach. We packed up and got ready for the long hike back. We took a bus though the city and arrived at the hotel in time for lunch. We had veggie soup, fresh salad, white rice, and a delightful fresh fish. We got ourselves prepared for service and headed to the tortoise ranch. We planted 20 trees then had empanadas. After our break we put our muddy boots back in and got back to work. We continued digging up gravel and used it to make a road. After another hour and a half of hard work, we rinsed our boots off and headed back to the hotel. We had a 30 minute shower break and then ate dinner. Which included beef and rice. We treated ourselves to crepes and ice cream at our go to spot. We walked back and headed to bed.
BLOG POST FOR JULY 20
Hey it’s Stella and Molly,
Today we woke up bright and early for breakfast at 7:40! Then we went straight to service to continue making the lagoon wider so the water can expand and make more space for the tortoises. We continued to make new paths with the gravel that we dug up from the lagoon. There’s so many new tortoises checking out their new hangout spot! Then of course we had our daily queso (cheese), pollo (chicken) or carne (beef) empanadas. SO GOOD. The milkshakes were even better!
After service we had an hour of downtime to shower and take a nap before lunch. Today for lunch we had a traditional Ecuadorian dish where tuna and vegetables were cooked inside a dough made of potatoes. many students really enjoyed this new meal! Then we had a little more time to shower and relax before we got AÇAÍ BOWLS!!!
We got to pick what fruit and toppings we wanted and let us tell you it was AMAZING! Then we walked around town and said hello to the sea lions and pelicans.
Once we got back it was time to do out first debate! We were conversing about animal rights in Galapagos. John created 4 groups and told each group what their role was. The 4 groups were local islanders, Galapagos park, pita, and animal balance. We all had different opinions on the subject and had a civil debate. Then we had steak or grilled veggies with rice for dinner! After that, John took us around town and we went to our favorite ice cream shop!
BLOG POST FOR JULY 21
Hi! It’s Luce and Coop.
We’re todays leaders of the day! This morning we had our usual breakfast at 7:40 AM and ate a bread pastry along with some tea, coffee, and juice. We headed out to our service spot at 8:00 AM to continue digging out a ramp for the tortoises to have access to the lagoon. We finished service, headed to get empanadas at the restaurant by the service site, and then made our way to a lava tunnel nearby. We went down a steep flight of stairs into a hollowed out tunnel filled with stalactites. After our short excursion, we loaded back onto the bus to travel to Las Grietas; a canyon filled with salt water for swimming. After swimming around in the refreshing water for an hour, we headed back to our home base for lunch, which consisted of soup, rice, and fish.
A little while later, we walked from our hotel to a nearby coffee shop to get açaí bowls and bond as a group. For dinner, we ate a traditional American meal of spaghetti, garlic bread, and Coca Cola. Our night continued with a group activity called Roses and Thorns where we all shared our highs and lows of the day. The group was very excited because we had a laundry day and everyone was able to get clean clothes! After receiving all of our laundry, we headed back to our rooms to pack for the ferry tomorrow to the next island San Cristobal.
BLOG POST FOR JULY 22
This morning we had plantains and fruit for breakfast. Many of us also took Dramamine for the upcoming boat ride. After breakfast, we went to the dock. We put our bags through machine that made sure we weren’t transporting any dirt, seeds, or animals to the next island. Then we boarded the big. Almost everyone slept on the boat ride. Two and a half hours later, we arrived in San Cristobal. The first thing we did was head to our hotel.
After about forty minutes of rest, we got lunch. There were many food options such as garlic soup, rice mix, ceviche mix, and beef stew from lunch, we went to the place where Charles Darwin first landed on the Galapagos. There, we went snorkeling. The group spotted many playful sea lines and saw a couple sea turtles and water iguanas. After that we went back to the hotel where we got to rest for two hours. Then we went to get dinner. We are at the same place we had lunch. Once we were all finished, we headed back to the hotel and went to sleep.
BLOG POST FOR JULY 23
Our first full day on San Cristobal had a slow start by enjoying the beach at Playa Mann. Before, we had a nice, refreshing breakfast at Rancho Manabita. We enjoyed some freshly squeezed juice and fruit with granola. At the beach, we got to relax with sea lions and drink some piña coladas. After, we went back to home base where we relaxed before our next adventure and talked with some of our hotel neighbors. We then went to lunch where some of us experienced having chicken feet in chicken soup. Then we walked to Blue Kraft, where we learned how to reduce, reuse, and recycle in an artsy way. We made some shark keychains out of old denim and recycled materials. We had a lot of fun meeting Katty, the owner of Blue Kraft, and learning about her recycling journey. We then returned to the hotel to get ready for soccer at the local park. We played on the playground as a warm up, then began to play as practice for our tournament on Monday against the locals. We headed to dinner around 7, and ended the night with some karaoke at the restaurant.
BLOG POST FOR JULY 24
We woke up to the sound of the nearby church bells and choir ringing in our ears. After a breakfast of fluffy eggs, fruit, and toast we headed back to the hotel to relax and prepare for our fun filled afternoon. We attended our director John’s presentation on his nonprofit organization “Full Belly Brasil” .
In the early afternoon, we took a quick 40 minute boat ride to isa lobos or island of the wolves to observe the blue-footed boobies and sea lions. On the hike we saw both chicks and eggs due to it being mating season. We also saw iguanas and sea lions lying on the rocky shore.After our hike we got into the water and snorkeled in the beautiful blue-green ocean. We saw sea turtles, stingrays, and lots of fish.
We headed back to shower and prepare for soccer. We got one more practice session in to get ready for our game tomorrow with the locals.
For dinner, we had beef and fish burgers along with a quick ice cream run. We headed back to the hotel to hang out with to our neighbors from Britain, and then went off to bed.
BLOG POST FOR JULY 25 & 26
The last two days have been big ones. Yesterday was our last full day in the Galapagos. We spent the morning at La Loberia, a long sandy beach with a famous surf break where we laid out in the sun and snorkeled with sea turtles. The water was cold, but it was definitely worth getting in to see the hawksbill and the Pacific green turtles. We also got to see two alpha male sea lions chase each other across the beach and through the water as they vied for dominance. Before we went back into town, John lead us through a leadership activity called Rings of Saturn where we learned the importance of using each other to help achieve our personal goals.
After La Loberia we spent our day enjoy our final hours in San Cristóbal. We played volley ball, walked along the malecón, and watched a beautiful sunset. We also played a soccer game against one of the local teams. They were really good! Soccer was followed by dinner where we celebrated Chloe’s birthday with two ice cream cakes and a fancy sea food dinner. It was a day to remember.
Today we got an early start and flew back to mainland Ecuador, stopping in Guayaquil to refuel the plane before arriving in Quito. It feels great to be back. So much has happened since we were last here. After a delicious dinner, John and Patricia lead us through a goal setting activity called OMG. We also reflected on what we have learned and accomplished during the program. Tomorrow we will be doing salsa lessons, visiting a chocolate factory, and touring down town Quito. We can’t wait. We’ve had so much fun the last two weeks we are sad the trip is coming to a close, but we are also excited to get back to our friends and our loved ones to share all of our stories about the Galapos. See you soon!
BLOG POST FOR JULY 30
I hope you all made it home safe. I’ve been in Quito wrapping things up. It’s a lot more boring without you. Take a couple of days to rest and get your lives organized. I’m sure you’re tired. I definitely was when the program ended, and I didn’t have to fly home. As you rest and rejoin life where you’re from, start to implement the things we learned over the program. You all shared with me that you want to get better and scheduling to help you be more productive. This is a great time to start. Take the time now before life gets fast again. Begin your good habits now, so by the time the school year starts, they are already in place.
Can you believe the program is already over? It went by in a flash for me. One second I was meeting you at the airport in Baltra and trying to learn your names, and the next second I was dropping you at the airport in Quito and saying good-bye. We did so much. There was never a dull moment. I hope all of you remember what it was like to snorkel with sea lions and sea turtles, hike through the forest of cacti on the way to Tortuga Bay, and walk past the Blue Footed Boobies and frigate birds on Isla Lobos. We completed the summer’s service project, providing tortoises and endemic birds with a watering hole, building paths through the ranch, and planting trees that will grow to feed local species. Be proud. And we grew as leaders, learning what kind of leader we are, learning the importance of relying on one another to accomplish your goals, and learning to take action and be the change. It’s time to show the world what you can do.
We all learned a lot on the program, me included, and as a group, we worked to overcome hardship and adversity. I hope as life continues on, we can all look back on the past two weeks fondly. From watching sea lions chase each other around to seeing Blue Footed Boobies dive bomb the ocean as they fished, there was never a dull moment. Remember to advocate for yourselves, and to go out and get things done.