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
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BLOG POST FOR JUNE 21
Greetings from Quito,
The program is officially underway. We all made it to our Home Base in Quito where we will be staying until we fly to the Galapagos tomorrow. Quito is beautiful! From the colorful murals to the colonial architecture, the city is full of wonders. It is surrounded by the towering mountains of Ecuador. We are so happy and excited to be here.
We’ve spent our time learning everyone’s names, making friends, and getting an overview of what our time at GLA will look like. It’s going to be a great two weeks. Some of the things we are most looking forward to are learning about conservation and the history of the Galapagos, the wildlife, working on our Spanish, being immersed in the Ecuadorian culture, doing service, and making friends. The GLA staff are super nice and funny, we can’t wait to get to know them better. The WIFI here can be a little spotty but expect to read more about our adventures the day after tomorrow. We hope you like our group picture.
BLOG POST FOR JUNE 23
Our group arrived for service fully prepared for the day at 11am. We were greeted with massive tortoises and smiling staff who debriefed us on the tasks for the day. After an inclusive game with John, our nerves were settled and we felt prepared to dive in to work with our groups.
Serious companionship, along with social connection shortly followed our beginning tasks. Working fervishly, one group started and organized the remains of the fallen tree. This protected endemic species while also keeping the paths of the tortoises clear. The second group ambitiously shoveled gravel from an important water source into the main road to be later repurposed on site. Previously this combination of mud and rocks hindered the tortoises from clean lagoon water.
After a few hours of intense work, we regrouped at the local restaurant for lunch. The four delicious lunch dishes served as fuel for the rest of the work day; but not until we observed massive tortoises and learned about their anatomy. Shortly after, we returned to our worksites and continued laboriously. Before long, 5pm sprang up and we were ready to head out. The highlight of the day occurred when we collectively walked through the lava coves. We all agreed that our first day of service was successful and invigorating.
BLOG POST FOR JUNE 24
We woke up early for an expedition to las Grietas, a swimming spot that’s a hole in the volcanic rock. Filled with salt water, the swim hole is home to fish and was absolutely beautiful. It took an early start and a walk to the boat docks plus a trip on a speed boat to get there, but it was definitely worth it! The water was crystal blue and the cliffs on the two sides of the crack were very impressive. On the way back to home base we got ice cream. Back at base we did the NOLS Leadership Quadrant activity where we learned about four different leadership types and which type best describes us. After a hearty lunch, we went back to service where we continued to clear invasive plant species and remove gravel from one the lagoons the tortoises drink from—hard but very rewarding. We spent the evening singing and dancing, then went into town for a night walk.
BLOG POST FOR JUNE 26
Today we woke up at 7:00 (thanks for letting us sleep in an extra thirty minutes) to enjoy a delicious breakfast. After eating, we took a bus to Tortuga Bay where we walked on the beautiful trail down to the beach. After around forty five minutes of walking, we made it to the sand. The water was crystal clear, and we went in where it was nice and calm. We brought our snorkeling stuff and even got to see some little sharks. They were so cute! The water was cold, but it was definitely worth it. After swimming, Isa led us through meditation on the beach. Can I get an ommmmmm? On the way back to the hotel, we went through town and stopped for snacks and drinks.
After lunch we did our last day of service at Las Primicias. Instead of our usual routine of clearing the gravel and cutting down invasive trees, today we got to plant endemic plants for the tortoises to eat. It was hard work but very fun. We pushed on through the rain and the fire ants to plant a total of fifteen trees! Afterward, John took us on a walk down to a lagoon to see the tortoises relaxing in the water. After that, we headed back to the hotel. It was a lovely day, and while we are tired from service and a hike, we still had a great time going into town to get ice cream after a wonderful dinner. While we are sad to be leaving Santa Cruz, we can’t wait to get to the next island tomorrow. We are all having so much fun, this really has been a great trip!
BLOG POST FOR JUNE 29
Today we woke up early and had scrambled eggs and plantains for breakfast. We hiked, and on the way we went to the Las Tejeras museum and we learned about the history Galapagos archipelago and the significant figures in its discovery.
We then continued our hike to go snorkeling. in the water, we swam with sea lions and schools of fish. Our favorite animal we saw was a sea turtle that stayed with us and swam alongside us. we also saw an infamous Galapagos blue footed booby standing majestically on a boulder.
Afterwards, we walked around the town, and shopped for souvenirs for our families and ice cream to cool us down after so much adventure.
At around 4pm, we all gathered together for a presentation on recycling and the Galapagos. After an educational slideshow on the importance of recycling and the impact of our pollution, the presenter showed us how to repurpose old glass bottles into cute cups for home, which we all made and decorated. She pre cut the glass bottles for us and we used sand paper to soften the edges.
After dinner at the end of the day, the students and leaders gathered together and bonded at night over Brazilian music while we sang along. After such a long day, we all went to sleep to rest and get ready for the next adventure.
BLOG POST FOR JUNE 30
Today is the 30th of June and it was a very fun day. In the morning we woke up at around 8:00 and went to breakfast and had toast. It was very good. Straight from breakfast we went to snorkel on this beach that wasn’t very far away. We took a bus from breakfeast to the beach that didn’t take very long and then a short walk. The snorkeling was amazing. There were fish, sea turtles and sea lions like right next to us. One of the best experiences of my life and the coolest thing i’ve seen. We stayed there for about an hour and a half until driving back to lunch.
After lunch we did like a final activity called OMG and talked about our goals for the trip and what we would like to take away from it. It was very helpful to hear the perspectives of the students around me and what they took away from the trip also. We also have been on many snaps runs to grab some snacks. One of our personal favorite snacks that the entire group likes is oreos. We have been to many stores to find them and have bought out the entire oreo section at one store. After lunch and a snack run, we went to the beach and relaxed. We watched the sunset from the beach with all the sea lions around us. It was a very cool and pretty experience.
At dinner, we ate pork and then had to go on our nightly ice cream run. We have tried out two places here and found one very very good ice cream shop. After that we went to the hotel to wind down for bed and hear about what we are going to do the next day. This day was an incredible day with fantastic swimming and adventures that will last a lifetime.
BLOG POST FOR JULY 3
And just like that, it’s over. Can you believe it? So much has happened since our first days in Quito. The last two weeks have been a whirlwind of fun and adventure. We laughed, we loved, and we cried. We got far closer as a group than we’d ever hoped we would. We (Isa and John) hope all of you students had even half as much fun as we did. If so, you are going home more than happy. If we had a chance to do it all over again, we would do it in a heartbeat.
As we return home, we want to challenge you to remember all of the things we have learned over the last two weeks and to continue to incorporate them into our lives. Remember the goals you set during the OMG activity (or what some of you called the BAT—Big Amazing Takeaway). Live in the moment, be kind to others, appreciate what you have, and value your friends. Enjoy your time back home. We are sure you all have many more exciting adventures in your future.
We will always remember snorkeling with the sea turtles and sea lions at La Loberia, hiking to Darwin Bay, planting trees as the tortoises walked past in Santa Cruz, playing games in Quito, and enjoying exploring town together, but most of all, we will always remember you for being you. You were an unforgettable group. You should all be very proud of yourselves. Good job stepping out of your comfort zone, looking out for one another, doing amazing work at service, and always putting a smile on our faces. Remember to be courageous, to live your values, to connect and influence, to voice your opinions, and as always, to have fun. Leaders aren’t born—they’re made.
John and Isa