Costa Rica Trip Archives - Alternatives For Girls

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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!

Prevention Department Travels to Costa Rica!

Apr. 24 2014 | Tags: , ,

This week, our Prevention Department took eight young women to Costa Rica for four days! Through private donations and support from the Born and Raised Detroit Foundation, the Prevention Department organized the trip with the goal of giving girls the opportunity to travel and experience a different culture.

The trip was open to middle and high school aged participants in the Prevention Department’s Afterschool Program through a Grade Point Average (GPA) challenge. The girls with the two highest GPA’s in the high school group and in the middle school group were selected to go. Additionally, two girls from each age group who had the largest improvement in GPA over one term were also selected to go on the trip.

Over the past several months staff members have worked hard to help the young women and their parents prepare for the trip.  They have held bi-weekly meetings with the high school and middle school girls, where they covered a range of topics including: safety, necessary immunizations, facts about Costa Rica, information about the culture change, appropriate etiquette, and much more! Since this was the first time any of the participants have ridden an airplane, they also gave the girls information about the airport and traveling by plane. Although four of the young women going on the trip are bilingual in English and Spanish, the preparation meetings have also included some basic Spanish lessons so all of the youth will know some key phrases and words they can use while in Costa Rica.

“A trip abroad has been known to boost self-confidence and self-worth and we are hoping that the young ladies participating will take advantage of other opportunities available to them and not see any barriers to reaching their full potential,” said Valorie Evans, Prevention Department Director, and visionary for this trip. Valorie recognized how international travel had influenced her own life, and she wanted to bring that experience to the youth in Alternatives For Girls’ programs. She hopes this opportunity will give these young women the chance to “be exposed to a new environment and help them be confident to travel on their own in the future.”

Once the youth return from their trip, we’ll share their experiences with you in our printed spring newsletter. Please watch for that story in your mailbox in the coming month!