Imagine a classroom setting where a student was free to explore, not only the world around them, but also within.
Last summer, through generous donations from friends, family, and community members, I was allowed to make that happen for 4 of our students.
For 47 days, four brave, young teens and I embarked on a 3,300 mile bike ride from St. Louis, MO to Seaside, OR. Pedaling along the historic Lewis and Clark Trail, we headed west where I saw my students' confidence grow with every crest of a mountain pass and witnessed their ingenuity and fortitude when weather or equipment failed to cooperate. Bike tan lines were still fresh when people began asking about the next adventure. Before long, plans were already being drawn up for a new journey. Four new students in our high-needs school in Oregon aimed high and set their sights on the Camino de Santiago, a 500 mile walk across northern Spain.
My students know they will be challenged this summer. We will walk for approximately 30 days, staying in hostels reserved for “pilgrims” along the way. In the evening we will share dorms with and get to know travelers from all over the world. By day we will simply walk, and with any luck, get to know ourselves. Students will blog daily about their cultural and personal experiences and share pictures and stories with friends and family back home. However, like many of the students in our district, raising funds for such a unique trip is often the most difficult part for the kids. While they struggle to raise the necessary funds with odd jobs and bake sales, I would like to surprise them with quality backpacks for their travel across some of the most beautiful country Spain has to offer.
Experiential travel can be transformative.
These backpacks will help the kids carry all of the necessary gear that will support them along their journey, but it is more than just that. Symbolically, these backpacks will represent the support and generosity of our community, and all of those who wish us a "Buen Camino." Thank you for making this adventure a possibility!
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