AORE Partner News Summer 2016 - Page 19

intentional planning: the secret to Global adventure education

(cuy, in the local language) under the bed, to be used later as food. We were grateful to the family for allowing us to intrude their space and ask questions about how they live.

When travelers visit developing countries, they often feel the need to help. We see poverty, kids struggling to get an education or even to survive in their harsh environments, and families who may not eat every day. But what we see may be different than how the communities we visit see it. Who are we to say what they need? And so it takes intentional planning to build sustainable communities; it takes communication and long-term relationship building to develop trust. G Adventures supports the nonprofit Planeterra in its efforts to really listen and work with communities who are struggling in order to find a solution together.

Our group visited several Planeterra projects. One was a weaving co-op, which has empowered the women of the community to learn traditional yarn spinning, dying, and weaving techniques in order to sell colorful and intricate textiles to tourists, including us. The community will use the funds to build a school. Connecting with the women, learning about their craft and the various patterns each community traditionally wears, and negotiating our purchases were some of my favorite experiences of the trip. Their connection to nature and the importance they place upon their environment, and have for thousands of years, helped me realize the respect and appreciation I have for this set of values.

In our programs, we often strive for outcomes such as group development, fitness, exploration, personal challenge, and communication. These and many more may be realized during global adventures, with careful intentional planning and relationship building with local educators. Together we can develop global ambassadors through adventure education.

Jen is Assistant Director of Outdoor Excursion Programs at University of California, Riverside