Puerto Rico

December 05, 2012  •  Leave a Comment

Last week I had the pleasure of accompanying a 'Culture Links' student travel group on a trip to Vieques Island, PR. I was there to document the activities and day to day life of 8 highschool students selected to participate in the program. Designed and lead by Richard Becker, the trips focus on  service, learning, local culture, and development of leadership skills. 

The students ranged in age from 13 to 18. A few had travelled a little bit, but for most it was the first time on a plane and definitely a first time out of the continental US. 

It was a "trains, planes, and automobiles" type of experience to get out to the island but once we were there the scene was set for an amazing week.

Throughout the week the chaperones relinquished more and more of the house responsibilities and the students picked up the slack. By the end of the week they were working as a team, making decisions, cooking meals, and cleaning up. 

The service projects throughout the week included beach clean-ups, cleaning up the archives at a local historical site, and a day spent at a farm in the jungle, working alongside the 80 year old owners, their children, and their grand child. It was an amazing experience.

The group also had some beach time at one of the more amazingly gorgeous beached on the island. They met and interacted with other local teenagers, learned to kayak, hosted a BBQ lunch and later in the week Thanksgiving dinner. The students stepped outside of their comfort zones at Bio Bay, kayaking out to the middle of the bay in the darkness and without hesitation jumping into the inky back water to watch Nature's own incredible light show unfold in the depths beneath them.

By Friday all were exhausted (including me) but it was an amazing experience; one that will not soon be forgotten.


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