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 JUNE 30
Today was our first official full day in Ecuador! We started off with an orientation and ice breakers in order to best acquaint ourselves with the program and one another. In the afternoon we traveled through the lush Ecuadorian landscape to visit the Intinan Museum next to the Mitidad del Mundo monument. At this unique, outdoor museum we learned a bit about the indigenous culture from their history of shrunken human heads (even saw a real one!) to the structure of their sturdy homes. We also explored the different physical properties of being exactly on the equator line or at 0 degrees Latitude. At one point we had one leg in the planet’s northern hemisphere and another in the southern hemisphere. We also tested the lighter gravitational pull and Coriolis effect that occurs on the equator and within different hemispheres. In addition to learning about indigenous culture and equatorial physics, we also enjoyed the unique and vibrant plant life (and hummingbirds) throughout the museum.
After Ininan, we returned to our hotel for dinner and to prepare for …the Galapagos! We’re so so excited!!
BLOG POST FOR JULY 1
Written by Daniela Cape and Maddy Shantz
This morning, we all woke to Maddy and Dani, the Leaders of the Day, banging on our doors.
(Politely). We rose for an early breakfast of fruit and French toast, before heading to the airport for a slightly delayed flight to the Galapagos islands. Thanks to the lovely airport café, we managed to hold over until a delicious lunch at homebase. To get to home base we took a bus to a ferry, a beautiful ferry ride to a bus, then one more bus ride in which we took time to bond with our peers and listen to music!
After a filling late lunch and time to find our rooms, we set out for the Charles Darwin Sanctuary. We got to learn about different species of Finches and turtles, tortoises, iguanas and more! We made our way back to home base to relax before dinner, and we currently look forward to seeing sharks and getting ice cream in town tonight.
BLOG POST FOR JULY 2
Written by Eytan and Andre
We woke up to the pleasant sound of banging doors as Eytan and Andre woke us up for breakfast bright and early. We indulged on freshly baked bread rolls. We then took a 30-minute bus ride to Primicias Ranch in the Highlands. A turtle greeted us in the middle of the dirt road as we arrived at the serene ranch. We were fitted into our boots and ate the best bananas ever. Our service goal for the day was to enlarge an existing pond and plant trees. In order to do this, we had different teams to complete the tasks. There were boulder collectors, dirt scoopers, bucket transporters, tree planters, orange pickers, and more. Work was as much labor intensive as it was enjoyable!
We took a break to have lemonade and a snack, then headed back to work. We later braked again for lunch which was either freshly cooked chicken, fish, or pasta. Later, we took a tour of the ranch and observed guavas, papayas, coffee plants, and two turtles mating. We stuck ourselves in turtle shells and some of us found our second home. We worked for a bit more and when we left, five turtles and some birds were already using the watering hole that we had worked on all day.
On our way back into town, we stopped at the los gemelos. Los gemelos are two ominous and
beautiful sinkholes. It looked straight out of a movie especially with the cloud forest background. We ate dinner and ventured into the town.
BLOG POST FOR JULY 3
Written by Jack and Stryder
Today, we were woken up to popping balloons and aggressive knocking. We bussed to Las
Grietas, a canyon filled with crystal blue water and giant fish. We swam around, got some ice-cream, and went to the beach. There, we saw some more fish and a small shark. We ate lunch and went to work with the tortoises. We finished the day by visiting a giant tunnel carved out by lava!
BLOG POST FOR JULY 4
Written by Eve Sanford and Izzie Watson
This morning, we woke up at 6:30am to Eve and Izzie playing extremely loud heavy metal. After breakfast, we headed off to continue our volunteer work at Rancho Primicias. With the help of our newly arrived GLA staff member, John, we were able to make a lot of progress. He introduced a new order to our operation. After 4 hours of labor-intensive work, in the rain, we headed back to home base for lunch. Directly after lunch, we dove straight into a leadership activity called Noles Quadrants, where we learned what type of leader we are, individually. Then, we participated in Socratic seminar type activity, relating to the Galapagos, called the Anchor Activity. We were split into five groups, and each group played a different role. The goal of this activity was to come to a common conclusion. The rest of the afternoon was free time. We walked around the shops in groups for a little while before returning to home base. We enjoyed dinner at 7pm and continued chatting until lights out at 10pm.
BLOG POST FOR JULY 5
Written by Olivia Reeder and Kate Wosepka
Today was our final day on Santa Cruz Island, including our last day of service at Las Primicias Ranch. We started off our morning to the peaceful knocking of Kate and Olivia. Following breakfast, we hopped on the bus which then brought us to the entrance of the Tortuga Bay Trail, which was about 2.6 km. It took us around 30 minutes to get to the white sand beach where we viewed pelicans eating baby iguanas and black tipped sharks swimming in the shallows. As we continued walking, we arrived at a small bay where we could safely swim and snorkel. We zipped into our wet suits and then headed into the water where we swam directly above huge white tip sharks reaching up to eight feet in size, and large turtles feeding on the algae at the bottom of the ocean. It was an adrenaline filling experience to see the animals that close. After two hours of adventuring, we stopped at a panaderia to fuel up and recharge.
As we arrived back at home base, we were greeted with lunch, and then geared up for our final hours of working next to the giant tortoises. We arrived at Las Primicias and had a fun last effort in preserving the tortoises´ habitat. After service, we packed our bags and scrubbed our boots in preparation for our journey to San Cristobal Island. We are sad to leave Santa Cruz, but thrilled for the next island´s adventures.
BLOG POST FOR JULY 6
Written by Lola Mainland and Kate Wiedmann
This morning we woke up at 6:45am to Lola and Kate abruptly knocking on our doors. After our last breakfast in Santa Cruz, we loaded onto the bus for our 2 hour boat ride to San Cristobal. Following the nauseating, salty and sleepy boat ride, we walked a few blocks to our hostel. We got our rooms and walked a few more blocks to lunch. Following lunch, we were greeted by many sea lions at the beach. We enjoyed the view from the terrace with hammocks, then scrimmaged each other in soccer in preparation for our game against the ecuadorian soccer team tomorrow. Later, we went to dinner and hung out on the terrace until lights out.
BLOG POST FOR JULY 7
Our day started after a long, well-deserved sleep after our boat ride to San Cristobal Island. After a very fulfilling breakfast, we headed to Galapagos Information Center, where we learned a lot about the history of these islands and how important they are for the world as ecosystem. Afterwards, we headed to Las Tijeretas beach, where we all jumped into the water and had so much fun snorkeling with the turtles! After the walk back, lunch was ready. In the afternoon, we went to a very interesting recycling project, were we learned about the different uses we can give to articles, and the importance of reduce our waste footprint! Lastly, we had some great fun playing soccer with a local team and our diner included a karaoke night.
We’ve added photos from July 6th and 7th!
BLOG POST FOR JULY 11
Yesterday was our last full day of adventure and fun in Ecuador. We had a jam-packed day starting off with salsa lessons in the park! Our teacher showed us some basic salsa moves to impress our friends when we return home. At first, it was slightly awkward, but we got the hang of things and had loads of fun trying to follow along. After our salsa lessons, we headed to a local chocolate shop where we learned the long, intense, and interesting process of how they make the world’s finest chocolate from local Ecuadorian cacao. We listened, sampled and of course bought loads of chocolate.
With chocolate in hand, we toured Old Town and the Fundacion Iglesia de la Compania – also known as the Golden Church – in the center of Quito. This church is a historical and architectural masterpiece with the inside almost completely covered in real gold leaf. The chapels were intricate and laced with religious significance and stories, it was stunning to witness.
After our morning activities, we headed to Crepes & Waffles for some familiar foods and sweets. Full of food and tasty treats we headed back to our hotel for a bit of rest before our nighttime activity – our very own party bus! To celebrate the last night of our program and Dani’s birthday our local director, Patricia, ordered us a bus with music, lights, and so SO much dancing! This was an absolute blast as we toured the town and danced the night away. Our last and final day of the program was an absolute blast!
Today, however, was full of tearful goodbyes. We have made some incredible relationships and hope to continue to foster these friendships through time. Overall, we’ll certainly miss the Galapagos, Ecuador, and one another.