Submitted by Molly M., 2017 “Look Wider” International Travel Scholarship winner
Northern & Northeastern CO
Traveling around the world has always been a dream of mine since a very young age. When I came to a realization that I am growing up, and becoming more independent, traveling became a priority. For my parent’s honeymoon, they traveled all around the world for a whole year! I just finished my senior year of high school, and I will be heading off to Fort Lewis College next year. It was decided that it was time for me to have my own experience unique to myself. I decided to join the “Greece Sea Kayaking” Girl Scouts Destination Trip.
Greece has been a place my parents have spoken highly of, and I thought the trip in itself looked incredible. I was able to use most of the money I have saved up in my Girl Scout account from selling more than 600 packages of Girl Scout Cookies for the past seven years, and I also worked on saving money from my job, working as a shift lead in a local ice cream store. The “Look Wider” International Travel Scholarship has helped so that I didn’t have to dig into my college savings that I also worked hard to earn.
We arrived in Kefalonia, Greece after a long day of traveling on June 22, 2017. We started our kayaking adventure bright and early the next morning. We kayaked for six-days straight, covering about 100 km around the coast of Kefalonia and crossing over to Ithaca. We camped three of those nights, and stayed in nice hotels the other two nights. For me, this trip wasn’t far out of my comfort zone because I have gone on many multi-day rafting/camping trips in Colorado. However, for other girls it was different. Some girls on the trip had never camped before. This allowed a leadership position for me. I was there to help with efficiently packing camping gear for other girls, warding off bugs, and helping with cooking and cleaning more. Each girl had their own unique skills, and personality to add to the group, which made us work well as a team.
Between all the girls, we have all agreed to stay in touch after this trip. Each girl had hugely different personalities, which came together perfectly. We got to partner up with somebody new in the kayaks and tents every night, so I was able to form personal connections with each and every girl. It was interesting to see how different each girl was. Some had huge personalities. They would tell you exactly what they were thinking all the time. While some girls were more shy, go with the flow kind of people. Some were super positive, and some were more negative, especially when it came to trying new foods. Each girl was completely different, but when we were put in this group, we all got along so well. We had this vibe in the group that I have never experienced before. A few of the girls with big personalities would crack some hilarious jokes, and we would all add to them and laugh about them. We formed many inside jokes between all of us. There was never any time in which any girl felt left out, or there was any drama between the girls. We all recognized how equal we were in this group, and respected and admired each girl’s differences. We would often split up into groups of three or four girls, and we had girls that we hung out with more than others, but it never interfered with the group dynamic, there were no cliques that formed. We worked together as a team, encouraging girls who got tired from kayaking, helping keep the negative ones to stay positive, and giving us some humor when we needed it the most. Our group had a unique style, that I greatly miss, but is apart of my incredible memory from this trip! I would never had met this incredible group of girls if it wasn’t for our similar love and curiosity of adventure and traveling.
The guides were also beyond helpful and supportive, and it was exciting getting to meet them and know them better! The two ATS leaders, Christine and Gavin, were really great at introducing us in the culture of Greece, giving us enough freedom to roam around towns, but still kept an eye on us, and were always there if anything wrong happened. Our tour guides for the kayaking adventure were some of the coolest people I have ever met. Their names were George and Vanilla. George was a Greece local, and was able to teach us about authentic Greek culture, while Vanilla was a fantastic kayaker from Sweden always coming up with games for us to play that included everyone and made everyone feel very important.
The last part of our trip was a day of exploring in 100-degree weather in Athens. We shopped for hours and then visited the Acropolis. The exposure to the different culture in the huge city was eye opening and exciting!
Eating the delicious Greek cuisine, discovering the clear blue water, and exploring the unique little towns of Greece are memories I will forever cherish! It was hard saying goodbye to the friends I made, but I will never forget them. I’m so glad that this was my first adventure out of the country without my family, because I now feel more confident about traveling independently in the future. For I know, there will be many more adventures to come!
The “Look Wider” International Travel Scholarships are made possible by the Rae Ann and Richard Dougherty Look Wider International Travel Fund Endowment at Rose Community Foundation. Thanks to this generous commitment, Girl Scouts of Colorado will award scholarships to girls every year.
Learn more about Girl Scout destinations and other international travel at forgirls.girlscouts.org/travel. Applications for destinations travel are due before Thanksgiving each fall. The application for the “Look Wider” International Travel Scholarship is available from November through February and is meant for individual girl travel. Read more about Global Girl Scouting and how to get involved at girlscoutsofcolorado.org/global-girl-scouting.