Work hard. Go to college. Change the world!
That’s our motto at Democracy Prep and we believe that in order to change the world, you have to see the world. Global travel is an incredible opportunity for our scholars to examine issues that matter to them, their families, and their communities, and develop a curiosity about and responsibility towards the wider global society. The goal of our Global Citizens Program is to ensure that our scholars are able to do exactly that: travel the world, experience different ways of life, learn from different cultures, and view the world through new lenses.
But with the global pandemic placing the world at a standstill, global travel became a relic of the past as we adjusted to our new normal. Though COVID-19 suspended all international travel, it gave us an opportunity to reflect and evaluate the impact of our Global Citizens Program. As a result, we explored the countless once-in-a-lifetime travel opportunities that we can offer to our scholars, right here in the USA!
For the first time ever, we were able to offer our scholars an immersive wilderness trip to the beautiful Rocky Mountains of Colorado. We teamed up with the Colorado Outward Bound School, which offers students the unique experience of teaching skills for life through outdoor expeditions. With an educational approach of helping people “discover a strength of character, an aptitude for leadership and desire to serve,” to have “a positive impact on their lives and the lives of those around them,” we knew that we were leaving our scholars in great hands. With the facilitators from Colorado Outward Bound as their guides, a group of 9 high school scholars and one of our teachers set off on this phenomenal journey back in July of 2021.
Another unique part of this trip is that for the first time, scholars from different schools and regions traveled together. Whether they were from Las Vegas or New York, our scholars forged strong connections, challenged each other, and leaned on each other for support. With the wilderness as their classroom, they discovered new ways to build their self-confidence by sharpening their leadership, communication, and teamwork skills.
Hear directly from our scholars and chaperone about their time hiking through all of the beautiful landscapes that Colorado has to offer!
“We were all constantly together and talked about what we felt or what we did because we had to take care of each other in order to survive. We became very close by the end of the trip because of all the talking we did about our personal lives and feelings before and during the trip. I was able to listen to others’ experiences and find out how strong I am.”
~ Evelyn Tenesaca, Democracy Prep Endurance High School
“This experience aligned with the values of my school. At my school, we don’t give up when something hard hits us and if we fall, we get back up again. If you feel like you can’t get back up, then you have people around you that will help you rise up and overcome your hardships.”
~ Alana Dolphin, Democracy Prep at the Agassi Campus
“This trip was DREAM BIG personified. It took so much discipline to handle the moments of challenge and conflict. We all needed to show respect for one another and for the incredible natural environment around us by ensuring we didn’t leave any trace behind. Every activity required enthusiasm and gusto for new experiences. We also needed to show accountability through taking responsibility for errors and working to improve without judgment. It takes maturity to even choose to attend a trip like this, to willingly give up the comforts of home for a lasting experience! And finally, this trip really took grit: every time students wanted to give up, they pulled one another along, motivating each other and supporting each other to reach our team goals.”
~ Jess Wall, Director of PACE at Democracy Prep Harlem High School
Our partnership with the Colorado Outward Bound School is only the beginning! In February alone, the Global Citizens Program has three amazing trips in the works for our scholars:
• Camping and kayaking in the Channel Islands, California
• Dog sledding in Boundary Waters, Minnesota
• Backpacking in Big Bend, Texas
We’re definitely going to have plenty of fun stories to share in the future. Stay tuned for more Global Citizens updates!