One week. Three adventures. Thirty seven scholars.
When you think about having time off from your normally hectic life, you might envision yourself kicking back and relaxing at home, binge-watching the latest Netflix hit, chilling with friends, or visiting family. That all sounds like the perfect vacation to unwind and re-energize, but 37 scholars decided to do something a little different with their time off.
This year, Democracy Prep’s Global Citizens program offered our high school scholars three unique experiences for their February break. Our first group of brave scholars tackled a rugged winter environment with a team of expert instructors to travel across frozen lakes and the snow-drenched wilderness of the Boundary Waters, Minnesota, via dog-sledding and cross-country skiing. With their fellow students and hard-working sled dogs as companions, our scholars experienced how much teamwork, discipline, and determination it takes to survive unfamiliar living conditions.
And survive, our scholars did! Whether it was wearing snowsuits 24/7, having their boots freeze overnight, going into the forest to collect firewood, or sprinting up a hill to keep warm, they did it all with grace and grit. No matter the challenge, they faced it head-on!
Our scholars built strong connections and cultivated a collaborative environment to work through the subzero temperatures and daily tasks. Working together also enabled scholars to understand their own strengths and weaknesses, how to best contribute, and to push themselves and each other to keep moving forward. Ultimately, the greatest lesson our scholars received was learning that they are stronger than they think.
If you don’t believe us, hear it directly from them!
“No matter what these course instructors throw at you, just do it and excel at it. Not even you can stop yourself, so giving up shouldn’t be in your vocabulary. Just know at the end of the day, it is more than just going out in the cold and pit fires; instead, it strengthens you and builds things like your mindset and capabilities.”
~ Kelvin Owusu-Ansa, Bronx Prep High School
“I was skeptical coming into this course; I was nervous and did not know what to expect. As the days went by I realized and learned how capable I am. During the trip, I did things I never imagined I would, like sleeping in weather below zero degrees. Waking up in this weather and pushing through the day was challenging but I showed myself that I am capable of anything I put my mind to.”
~ Danna Cruz, Democracy Prep Harlem High School
“All of these experiences are absolutely wonderful, and I wish I had enough space to share them all. I’d say that this experience is teaching me to leave behind my fears, leave behind my introverted side, leave behind the lazy and undependable me, and with that, I leave with a happier, louder, [more] tenacious and kind soul who wishes to help all who need help.”
~ Daniel Hernandez, Democracy Prep Endurance High School
This certainly won’t be the last you hear from our Global Citizens program. We’ve still got two more February Break trips to share with you, like camping and kayaking in the Channel Islands of California AND backpacking in Big Bend National Park in Texas. Stick around and see what we’ve got in store for you in the coming weeks!