GLA Travel Update on Coronavirus (COVID-19)
Posted: August 10, 2020 at 2:11pm PT
A LETTER FROM OUR EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR TO PROSPECTIVE GLA STUDENTS, FAMILIES AND ALUMNI
Dear GLA Families and Community,
Today we find ourselves more than mid-way through the summer season, a season when normally we would have hundreds of students all around the world, traveling and engaging in our service-learning programs. However, these are far from normal days. Most of us are still home as the pandemic continues to sweep the globe and in the United States, where Global Leadership Adventures’ headquarters is located. This leaves us all with continued uncertainty for the near future.
This situation we all find ourselves in, as difficult as it has been, has allowed those of us at GLA the gift of precious time. This time has allowed us the distance and space from everyday priorities. To pause. To look inward. And to contemplate how we can best continue to bring the GLA experience and mission to life in our new reality.
I personally have two young sons, and learn each day with them about the world they face. By seeing the weight of the current pandemic, protests, and politics on the next generation, both myself and the team at GLA feel more of an urgency now than ever before, as well as more assurance based on our shared mission and values, that these types of programs hold value and are critical for the development of the next generation.
When we reflect deeply on our mission — to inspire the next generation to realize their potential to transform the world and their role in it — a few things have become clear:
- Until the world reopens, borders can be freely passed, and we can safely endeavor to resume travel, our traditional work must be paused.
- In order to continue on our mission in this new world landscape, we must pivot and meet the next generation where they are — at home and online — and so are proud to be currently operating our inaugural virtual programs. In June, we launched the Online Leadership Academy, a 5-day journey, with hundreds of teens joining from around the world. Earlier this month, we launched our 6-week part-time Global Impact Virtual Internship in partnership with our non-profit service partners on the ground in South Africa. The response was so tremendous, with the first internship session filling completely, that we have added fall internship dates with new global partners that are available now. There are also new virtual programs coming soon!
- Because of the new world we find ourselves in, we know that many families may wish to stay closer to home in the future or not be able to venture as far as they may have once been able to. Over the past several months we’re proud to have developed 12 new programs in the United States for travel in 2021, exclusively for teens. These are in GLA’s home country and where many of our students who join us originate. We’ve long wanted to bring our work “closer to home” and this new world has allowed us to finally do so. These purposeful programs in our backyard allow us to journey to some of the greatest locales in this diverse country of ours, while diving into our learning themes, giving back to communities, and discovering our penchant for leadership. We are so excited to introduce these programs to you and your family.
- Given the social movements we have seen in so far in 2020, we’re also looking forward to offering crucial learning around new themes such as social justice and global seminar. For social justice, we invite students to come together with like-minded teens to address challenges through community engagement and solution-oriented initiatives. And for global seminar, we invite participants to facilitate discussions on relevant topics with their peers, and engage in friendly debates on critical issues of the day.
Here I would like to share with you our new digital 2020/2021 GLA program catalog with options available to you now. We have our Global Impact Virtual Internship with 5 focus areas available now open for registration for Fall 2020. This 6-week part-time internship facilitates students learning. It supports local non-profits organizations in our partner countries and with the NPOs we join arms with when on travel programs. This is not only an incredible educational and development opportunity for teens, it directly supports, and in many cases allows for, the viability of these global non-profits to survive during these incredibly harsh economic times.
We will be adding new virtual programs for 2021 in the coming months, but couldn’t wait to share now, as the world struggles to determine what educational options will be available for our teens this fall.
We are grateful for the connectedness we feel with our global community. We hope you will continue to join us, either virtually or in person in the future, and do the mission critical work together, to create a better world for each and everyone one of us.
Jessica Rose Miller
GLA Executive Director
Posted: April 20, 2020 at 2:18pm PT
A MESSAGE TO PROSPECTIVE AND ENROLLED GLA STUDENTS AND THEIR FAMILIES
Global Leadership Adventures has been diligently monitoring the circulation of – and global pandemic response to – the COVID-19 disease, commonly known as the Coronavirus. The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic is currently being felt in every area of our lives and affects everyone around the world.
It has become clear that GLA cannot proceed with our summer plans while living our mission for our students or for the communities we serve. It is with great sadness that we announce that GLA will be postponing all summer 2020 programs as a result of the global impact caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. This decision is heartbreaking for our team, for our students and families, and for the community members we work with around the world. It is clear that:
- We cannot put the health and safety of our students, teachers, staff or international community partners and their communities in jeopardy. GLA exists to build leaders in service of local communities. Many of the communities we serve have fragile health systems, and we would never want our students or staff, many of whom come from the US and other areas with high COVID caseloads, to serve as an unwitting vector of virus transmission into these communities.
- Shelter-in-place’ and lockdown restrictions across the world have made planning and preparing for this summer’s programs difficult to impossible. Many of the individuals involved in the preparation and execution of our programs have been severely impacted and are unable to operate at this time; this includes non-profit service organizations, supply providers, home bases, and adventure operators; all with unknown time frames of when operations could resume.
- Changing travel bans create massive uncertainty for planning overseas programs. It is unclear when these bans will be lifted or what new bans might come into effect.
- Perhaps most importantly, we know that GLA programs are about a kind of community that is at odds with the best practices of social distancing – practices that our mission requires us to follow at this time. It is through pats on the back, dancing with locals, and animated mealtime conversations that we discover ourselves. We are people who do things together. This is one of our greatest strengths — but it makes our coming together in person this summer unwise.
We have rescheduled dates for many of our program dates for late 2020 and spring and summer 2021. Please note that in addition to summer 2021, we have special program dates in November and December 2020 and spring 2021, in addition to new domestic USA programs. We will have exclusive offerings for students ages 18-24, as well as special GLA for Families programs.
This pandemic has shown how truly connected our world is and the need for young people to build the skills to lead with confidence through dynamic global challenges is clearer than ever. We hope that this time of fear and isolation will only strengthen our commitment to unity and connection. We are hopeful that together our global community we will not only make it through this crisis, but develop an even greater commitment to our mission to build empathy, agency and global perspective.
All 2020 enrolled students and families have been directly contacted for next steps.
For further questions or support please contact GLA by email: travel@experienceGLA.com or phone: +1.858.771.0645