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The Trip of a Lifetime: Six girls from AFG’s Adventure Club return from Guatemala and share their experiences

Jul. 6 2016 | Tags: , ,

Thanks to the support of AFG’s generous donors, six girls from AFG’s Adventure Club took a trip to Guatemala this month! During their adventure, the group spent time volunteering at a local school. They also took a quick, deep dive into Guatemalan culture and history.

A Brand New Adventure

The trip lasted eight days and included two days of traveling. The group stayed at Cross-Cultural Solutions (CCS) home base in Tecpán, Guatemala. CCS runs volunteer programs all over the world and provides a safe home base for their volunteers. Stephanie, one of girls who went on the trip, loved staying at CCS, “You could play outside! It had a basketball court; you could play soccer, basketball, and volleyball.”

Each day, the girls volunteered at a local school. They taught English to 2nd-5th grade students and painted murals in the yard. “My favorite volunteer project was teaching English. It was fun showing them and seeing them trying to speak English and their reactions to the words, too,” Stephanie shared. Luzelena, who also went on the trip, enjoyed getting to know the students at the school, “The kids at the school were so loving and nice,” she shared.

A Whole New World

Besides volunteering, the girls were able to learn a lot about Guatemalan culture and history. Some activities they did were: a tour of a local coffee plantation, weaving, pottery, and ceramic lessons, swimming in Lake Atitlan, and much more! “I liked making the pottery,” Luzelena shared. “They got their own rocks and they showed us how to crush and wet it to make into clay. Then the lady made some and we got to make our own little cups!”

Throughout their adventure, each girl got a first-hand look at a culture different from their own, “Here [in the US] it’s so much easier. It’s been modified to make everything easier and there [in Guatemala] it’s harder and takes longer to do everything,” Luzelena remembers. Stephanie agrees, “The clothes were way different!”

One thing is sure; their trip to Guatemala has given them the confidence and desire to travel more in the future! “I would like to go where it is way different than here. I want to go to places that don’t use technology a lot or have big sky scrapers and buildings,” Luzelena dreams. “Like Africa!” Stephanie adds.

We’re Going to Guatemala: Six girls from AFG’s Adventure Club are taking a one week trip to Guatemala

Jun. 2 2016 | Tags: , , ,

Thanks to the support of AFG’s generous donors, including the Born and Raised Detroit Foundation, six girls from AFG’s Adventure Club are traveling to Guatemala this June! The Adventure Club allows young women in AFG’s Prevention programs to have experiences in nature, which aren’t typically available to them in their urban neighborhoods. In the past, Adventure Club trips have included rustic camping, skiing, and a trip to Costa Rica.

Preparing for the Trip of a Lifetime

The girls, all between the ages of 11-14, were chosen because of their improved or high GPAs. Four girls had 4.0 GPAs and two had improved their GPAs by 1.0 or more! “When I found out I was going on the trip, I was excited! I haven’t been to Guatemala and I’ll get to see new stuff that is different than in the US,” Stephanie, one of the girls taking the trip, shares.

This month, the girls and their parents started working with AFG staff to begin preparing for the trip. During their meetings, the group talked about travel vaccinations, etiquette abroad, their itinerary, and more. While on the trip, the young women will enjoy local cuisine, shop at nearby markets, visit Mayan ruins, engage in local volunteer projects, go hiking, swimming, and so much more! “I am looking forward to getting to know the different cultures and the landscapes,” Luzelena dreams.

A Whole New World

Through this experience the girls will experience many new things. Four of the young women have never been on an airplane before!  The goal of the trip is for them to return with a love for learning, a passion for giving, and the confidence needed to live outside of their comfort zones. To follow the girls on their journey, make sure to follow Alternatives For Girls on Facebook and Twitter and to sign up for our e-newsletter!

Adventure Club Helps Girls Overcome Fears and Practice Leadership Skills

Jun. 30 2015 | Tags: , , , ,

“The hardest part of the trip was overcoming my fear of heights. I was nervous before but once we got in the hot air balloon and started going up, I got the hang of it and thought ‘This is so cool!’,” Maribel shares as she remembers the recent hot air balloon ride she took with AFG’s Adventure Club. The club allows the young women in our Prevention Department to experience the joys of nature through adventurous outdoor experiences and is able to do so through a generous grant from the Born and Raised Detroit Foundation. In the past, Adventure Club trips have included rustic camping, skiing, and even a trip to Costa Rica!

This year, the Adventure Club has been busy, with trips such as archery, scuba diving, tubing, and even a hot air balloon ride! Maribel is just one of the members of Adventure Club, which serves middle and high school aged participants (between the ages of 11-18) who have excellent or improved grade point averages, exhibit positive behavior, and demonstrate leadership skills. “We try to include as many middle and high school aged participants as we can, especially those who have never experienced these types of activities before.,” Gabrielle Dowdell, Prevention Youth Leadership Coordinator who works closely with the club, explains. The trips are planned with input and ideas from the club members and research done by Prevention staff members.

Although there were as many favorite trips as there are Adventure Club members, one common thread that ran through all of the recent experiences was learning how to do something new. “On the hot air balloon ride the girls helped inflate and deflate the balloon, they learned how to properly roll up the balloon, disassemble the basket, and put it away, and they even learned how the gases and gauges work,” Gabrielle explains. Rosa, another Adventure Club member, described her experience during the archery trip, “I was excited to learn something new. They showed us how to aim, how to hold the bow and arrow so we wouldn’t hurt ourselves, and let us get a lot of practice.”

Another common thread was leadership. “Developing leadership skills is a core principal in the Prevention Department. Adventure Club gives youth an opportunity to practice those skills. Many of the girls lead by example.” Gabrielle explains. “Girls who start out nervous or afraid, receive an abundance of encouragement from their peers. It is a joy to witness our girls develop as leaders in almost an instant. They are each others greatest cheerleaders.” Anayeli, who attended the scuba diving trip, agreed that having the support from her friends helped her overcome her fears, “I was so scared of drowning! But once I saw the instructor and the other girls did it I was more excited. We had so much fun playing Frisbee and other underwater games that we stayed under until our oxygen ran out!”

By being pushed outside of their comfort zone during the trips, Maribel, Rosa, Anayeli, and the rest of the Adventure Club members were able to make life long memories that they will never forget. The next adventurous activity the girls want to try? “Sky diving!” they all exclaimed with excitement in their eyes.

AFG would like to thank the countless individuals who made these trips possible through their financial support along with the generous support from the Born & Raised Detroit Foundation. See all of the photos from the recent Adventure Club trips here!