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 3
We are so stoked to welcome another session of GLA students to their new home for the next ten days here on Maui!
The weather is absolutely perfect today, breezy, cool, and clear. The mango trees are dropping ripe fruit, the surf has calmed after a few days of wind, and I’ve even spotted more brightly colored Red-Crested Cardinals than usual around camp.
Everyone is off to a quick start bonding and getting to know each other. Some took a walk down to the beach, played a few rounds of card games, or sat out in the grass at our beautiful Camp Olowalu, as fellow students arrived throughout the day. And Chef Jake treated us to an awesome spread of tacos for our first dinner together.
At the time of the photo, we were still eagerly awaiting Maggie, Theo, and Jules to join us later yesterday evening and today, but so far off to an exciting start to this Hawaiian adventure!
BLOG POST FOR JULY 5
Written by Hanna and Franny
Today we visited Kipuka Olowalu which is an area in the valley which is about 74 acres of land dedicated to restoring native Hawaiian plants. We arrived at around 9am ready to work, we were greeted by Karin and Lizzy who showed us how enter the valley respectfully and performed a traditional chant.
Once we were on the property we immediately got to work. Our three main tools were loppers, puller bears, and hand saws. After we helped clear the land of invasive plants to make room for the native plants.
Then we listened to Teje tell us about how plants got here and the traditional uses of a few indigenous plants. Teje also showed us her compost bin with worms. After that Lizzy showed us how to paint with native flowers. Later Ua talked to us about Hawaiian culture, ways of life, and traditions.
We went to a river to eat lunch. We ended up taking a dip in the refreshing river, followed by a tour of the rest of the finished acres that are filled with Hawaiian plants.
Then we left and came back to Camp Olowalu for an hour and a half of free time, which most campers used to swim at the local beach. Then we had a team building game, followed by a delicious nourishing lasagna feast. Once we ate dinner, we chased the sunset at Olowalu beach. Lastly, we joined our mentor groups for a peaceful reflection.
BLOG POST FOR JULY 6
Written by Reagan and Isabella
Today we had an early morning and started the day at 6:30. We had breakfast full of pancakes, eggs, and fruit then loaded into the vans and made our way towards Lahaina. In Lahaina, we went to Hang Loose Surf Club and took surfing lessons with Abner and other surfers. We hit the waves from 8-9:45 before making our way back to camp.
Soon after we arrived, we had to prepare for the adventure that awaited at Haleakala, the drive took about an hour and a half to reach the top of the volcano at over 10,000ft. The moment we arrived we ate sandwiches, salad, and fruit accompanied by a beautiful view in front of us. Then we traveled to the highest point of the volcano to experience the view of the crater.
Next, we started the journey to another location to begin our hike on the volcano. The hike was about 3 miles long on a rocky path with a beautiful scenic view. It took us 45 minutes to arrive at our final location on the hike where we had a moment of silence as it is proven to be one of the quietest places on Earth. After making our way back to the parking lot we began our descent back to home base. Since we arrived hours late, we got right to dinner and celebrated Sally’s 15th birthday with cake and cupcakes. For dinner we had delicious pulled pork, salad, roast veggies, tofu, mashed potatoes, and Hawaiian rolls.
We had amazing conversations during dinner and talked about the adventures that will follow the next day at the Maui Ocean Center.
BLOG POST FOR JULY 7
Written by Kira, Sally, and Will
Hello, beautiful people! Today was a great day, we had a nice morning, and ate a traditional Hawaiian breakfast made by Chef Jake, who is the best chef in the world.
Then we head out to the Maui Ocean Center Marine Institute or MOCMI. First, we learned about the different types of sea turtles in Hawaii and around the world. We also learned about the threats to the turtles and the ways that the people at MOCMI help to rescue the sea turtles. After the presentation, we played trivia about what we learned where we battled for the prize! Then we got to watch a 3D film about Humpback whales with footage of whales off the coast of Maui, the film was very realistic. We got to experience a mock sea turtle rescue and the process that the people at MOCMI would do to remove a fishing line and hook from the turtle.
Later, we walked out to the shore and went sea turtle spotting, where we did see a few seas turtles swimming around and sticking their heads up from the water. We got to eat a lunch on the beach by the sea which followed by going shopping at the gift shop at MOCMI.
After we got back to the home base, we had time to rest where some of us went swimming in the ocean. We also spent time with our friends, additionally we got to pick fruit from the trees around the camp; dragonfruits and mangos were our favorite. Then we had an activity where we learned what type of leader we are. We learned that we were similar types of leaders to the people we are closest to here at camp.
Next, we ate an amazing dinner of Korean beef and spring rolls made by Chef Jake. We then split off into our mentor groups where we reflected on our day and shared out overall feelings and thoughts.
Bye bye, talk to you tomorrow!
BLOG POST FOR JULY 8
Written by Haley and Theo, Sea Turtle photos by Paris
We started off the morning with a delicious breakfast by Chef Jake which included classic French toast and eggs. After that we spent our second day at Maui Ocean Center marine Institute or, MOCMI. This time we went to the beach and were split into two groups, one group started off snorkeling with the ocean wildlife and cataloging sea turtle behavior. We saw about 7-10 sea turtles behaving in different ways, some of which were sleeping, swimming, at the surface getting air, and being cleaned off at the ‘sea turtle cleaning station,’ a place where sea turtles congregate to get the algae eaten off their shell by algae eating fish! The second group did a beach cleanup which turned into a competition to win locally made reef-safe sunscreen from MOCMI. These groups were able to fill a whole bucket of trash. These groups then switched so that everyone got a chance to do everything.
We got back to camp and then had free time, some people spent their free time going to the General Store and others spent it relaxing in their tentalows or playing card games. After that well deserved free time, we did team building leadership activities in our mentor groups to learn to build and lead stronger teams. These activities included finding a hidden path on a grid, trying to cross a big area only being able to step on pieces of paper, working together to lower a hula hoop, and a pirate-themed game using different ways of communication to give directions to blind-folded teammates.
After our fun activities we had a movie-style dinner which consisted of pizza, popcorn, salad, and ice cream. After dinner we spent some time in our mentor groups and debriefed on the amazing day we had.
BLOG POST FOR JULY 9
Written by Cameron, Paris, and Molly
Today was our last day working and learning with MOCMI (Maui Ocean Center Marine Institute)! We ended it by traveling to Waihee Beach to do a beach clean-up and learn more about our relationship to ocean ecosystems. We picked up over 700 pieces of trash, we documented and catalogued our data to help scientific research with MOCMI, and help make the beach a cleaner place. Picking up macro and micro plastics saves our environment and the animals in the ocean. Plastic never breaks down; it only breaks down from macro plastics into micro plastics. Micro plastics enter our ocean, and plankton and algae build around the micro plastics and confuse the animals in the ocean into thinking the micro plastics are their food. We finished off the afternoon with a game of turtle jeopardy with the MOCMI staff to win more prizes.
We then ate lunch and rewarded ourselves with a trip to Starbucks after our hard beach work. Afterwards we went to Baldwin Beach Park where we enjoyed the waves and an intense sand blasting from the wind. After the beach we drove back to camp where we enjoyed down time. Back at camp we ate dinner consisting of alfredo pasta, salad, bread, and our favorite, “POG,” passion-orange-guava juice. Afterwards everyone sat in a reflection circle for peace of mind. We finished off day 8 by sitting by the fire as a group together toasting s’mores.
BLOG POST FOR JULY 10
Written by Katie, Emma, and Zakariya
We had a later start then normal with breakfast at 8:00am. Today was our big sail day with Sail Maui, where we spent the entire day on a beautiful catamaran. We were given a one cup challenge on board to reduce plastic waste.
All of us learned how to sail by pulling ropes to set the sail of the ship. The music was a vibe, there were so many songs to dance to. When we got to the first island which is called Lanai, we jumped in the water with our snorkel gear. The swell was big because of strong winds, but the snorkeling was still enjoyable with many fish to look at. Emma sadly befell sea sickness but was saved by the GLA mentors with sunscreen and water and she was soon back on her feet after a short nap. Zakariya’s hat befell to the wind powers, and it was set adrift in the ocean behind our ship, but after a daring rescue mission, the soggy hat was returned to Zak’s head.
After sailing we went shopping at downtown Lahaina. Some of us got Henna, some people went shopping for new clothes, and a lot of people enjoyed the ice cream and snow cones. Zakariya got a snow cone and henna. Katie got a stuffed animal monkey with a lei and named him Stu.
After the long day, we had a dinner of fresh sushi, salad, and dumplings. We said a big thank you to Chef Jake for all his efforts and giving us very enjoyable meals every day. We collected into our mentor groups and ended the day with reflecting on the trip and setting goals to follow after based on what we’ve learned on this trip.
BLOG POST FOR JULY 12
On our final day here in beautiful Maui, we were up and out early on our last adventure—the Road to Hana! Known as one of the most beautiful roads in the world, the Road to Hana is an epic ride of 574 twists and turns through bamboo forests and jungle canopy, past waterfalls and fruit farms, along steep cliffs with sweeping views of the ocean below.
We ended our journey at Kahuna Garden, a national tropical botanical garden. It is an ethnobotanical garden, meaning they focus on the relationship between man and the environment, growing plants that are important to traditional Hawai’ian life, including ones used for building and staple foods like the breadfruit, of which they had over 150 varieties! It’s also an important cultural landmark, with several Hawai’ian chiefdoms and princes having lived and held ceremonies on the grounds. On the way home, we stopped at a waterfall and a place that served coconut ice cream with local flavors like lilikoi and lemongrass ginger.
Then, it was time for our long-awaited Luau! We dressed up in our best outfits and headed out to the Old Lahaina Luau, to enjoy a five-course meal of delicious local specialties and follow the history of the Polynesian and Hawai’ian people through Hula, the traditional art of storytelling by dance. It was a bittersweet end to this incredible trip, but we still had one last way to say goodbye.
Upon returning home, we jumped into comfy clothes and got together in a circle in the grass under the moonlight and talked about our time together. I always tell our students that even though this trip on paper is one of surfing, sailing, snorkeling, service, sea turtles, and so much more, a month, a year, or even ten years from now, the most memorable part will always be the people you shared this experience with. Traveling the world, sharing adventures, and doing so with a small group of like-hearted but different people is the history of humankind, and there is no truer human expression than to come together, learn, and work toward a common goal, and with that, the closeness they share is something only a trip like this can offer. We often don’t take the time we should to appreciate the people in our lives, to tell them what we meant to us, or that little thing that made our day, so we held an appreciation circle where the students could have the space to do just that. At the end of all the tears and group hugs, we called it a night.
Today, we’ll be headed back to our families. Whether this time felt like it went by in two days, or two months, I am certain the growth our students experienced will be one that lasts a lifetime. Maybe it will be something our families notice right away, a little more confidence in our voice when we meet someone new, or the way we rejected that plastic straw when out at dinner, or years from now when we choose a college major, join a local beach clean-up, or seek out deeper experiences and local perspectives when we travel.
We might not even have the words yet to describe our experience here on Maui when we get into your cars at the airport, but the one thing we all are leaving with is One Meaningful Goal. A personal goal each of us developed in our mentor groups based on everything we learned here. If we are at a loss for words, ask us about our One Meaningful Goal, ask how you can support us in keeping it, ask how we can ‘Be The Change.’
Or, at the very least, ask us what the heck “wordle” meant.
— James Townsend (International Director)