This summer, I was fortunate to be able to participate in the Girl Guides of Canada Sea of Cortez trip. The trip description promised an exciting week aboard a ship in the Sea of Cortez with a patrol of Mexican Girl Scouts. Together we would be learning about marine life and even conducting our own conservation research on sea turtles or whale sharks alongside marine biologists.
I have been fascinated by science since I was little. So, I was very interested in the scientific opportunities the Sea of Cortez trip offered and I was eager to be able to conduct research and to learn more about sea turtles and whale sharks, as well as other marine species, in a hands-on way. I was also interested in the cultural exchange portion of the trip; however, I was mainly looking forward to conducting research.
While aboard the ship, the focus shifted away from the science aspect towards developing new friendships. (*Blog note: Due to an unusually high number of whale sharks, the government closed access to the area to researchers and tourists in order to protect the sharks.) We were unfortunately unable to conduct any conservation research on sea turtles or whale sharks, but we observed fascinating marine life, such as common dolphins, California sea lions, and many different species of fish, coral and birds. We also visited communities to whom we donated food packages and hygiene supplies.
What sticks out the most for me from this trip is not the activities that I participated in, or the marine life that I encountered, but the friendships that I made. We were very different girls, but we connected because we were all Girl Guides and Girl Scouts. Friendship is a very powerful and rewarding bond that is much more valuable than a few species’ names. When I applied for this trip I never imagined becoming such good friends with the other girls and leaders on the trip, but this trip has reminded me of one of the core elements of Girl Guides: making friends and connecting with girls from around the world. I will continue to treasure the amazing friends that I made on this adventure for many, many years.
Travelling with Girl Guides teaches you a lot about the land and culture of different regions in Canada and the world, to be independent, and to make a difference in our world, but it also leaves you with great friends away from your home that you will cherish for years to come. It is an exciting and life changing opportunity that I hope every Girl Guide will have the chance to experience, and so I encourage you to apply for a Girl Guides of Canada trip this fall. It’s definitely worthwhile to try.
By guest blogger Ronja Kothe, a member of the 522 Lethbridge Unit in Alberta.
Applications are now open for our 2015 travel opportunities!
- North Vancouver Island
- Ottawa/Montreal/Quebec City
- Sangam World Centre
- El Salvador
- Sea of Cortez
- Australian International Jamboree
Trip applications close November 9.