Today’s parents worry about everything to do with their kids from the schools they attend to internet usage, to their friends. So preoccupied are we that sometimes that we may be the last to recognize our children’s abilities, talents and strength. And we can overlook, or worse, dismiss their ideas to help the world.
Yet, there are young leaders who have already fostered in us the desire to open the door to their passions and talents. That is at the root of our Kids Kouncil™. It grew organically out of Big Five’s continuing desire to learn from children where they want to go and how we can help them get there.
In these uneasy times, we can look to the kids who have ideas they want to peruse. Here are a few who did.
One of the most well-known child activists has to be Pakistan-born Malala Yousafzai, who was shot by the Taliban for her activism. She was just 15, yet this act of violence only spurred her on to become a prominent activist for the right to education.
Other stories are not quite so dramatic, but equally life-changing. Vela Orozco was in high school when she became aware of the homeless people she saw on the streets and under bridges of her hometown in California’s San Fernando Valley. The number of homeless increases every year in the valley as it does in the rest of the country. Daniela and her friends wanted to do something but they were from a lower income bracket so donating money was not a possibility. They persisted and over time came up with an idea… a solar-powered tent that folds up into a rollaway backpack. The girls and 10 others from their high school joined in to make this idea a reality. They hope that their tent will improve the lives of homeless people in their community.
Mary Grace Henry learned that young girls in other countries can become child brides and how in many cultures, women and girls have little value. At 18, Henry had already hand made and sold enough hair accessories to pay for 66 girls living in extreme poverty in Uganda and Kenya to go to four years of secondary school. She founded Reverse the Course, a nonprofit organization that donates all profits to combating gender inequality. Henry has received a two-year $35,000 grant from a World of Children Award, which she will use to fund educational workshops and programs for girls in impoverished areas in Africa.
There are many more stories such as this happening all around the globe. They helped ignite sparks behind the evolution of Precious Journeys®. These adventures allow our youngest travelers, from ages five to 11, to explore a wondrous world of exciting places filled with incredible animals, amazing landscapes and fun things to do. The next step was Precious Journeys® College Edition for older children and their families. Each journey is crafted to put the children at the center of the trip, not on the periphery, with activities and adventures tailored to ages and interests.
Our goal is to help inspire kids to discover the world’s grandeur as well as its challenges. They will encounter other cultures and meet other children as well as fascinating people working on real-world solutions. They will learn what the sustainability movement means from a global perspective and have opportunities to experience fields ranging from archaeology to conservation to organic farming.
All this led to the Kids Kouncil™ that takes us back to our continuing wish to encompass all aspects of family travel. Our newest Kids Kouncil program is Kids Kouncil Approved™ Peru Adventure. In Aguas Calientes Town, children have the unique and distinctly fun opportunity to teach and learn the language at simple booth set up in the plaza with a sign saying We Teach English Words In Exchange for Learning Spanish Words with priceless encounters and maybe even some new friends. Kids have fun as they try learn La Marinera, a northern Peruvian folk dance, from other kids as well as professional, national champions of La Marinera. They climb up the face of a mountain and zip line down, all the way securely harnessed so that even the young can participate. Then, like the early explorers, they discover dark rooms carved from giant stones and follow along in the footsteps of Incan Indians along narrow passageways at the 500-year-old fortress of Machu Picchu.