We’re Going Global! Pilot International Program Takes Off This Week
After a year of hard work and determination, our BRIDGES: Thailand program is about to take off--literally!
Camp Fire Central Oregon staff and our partners from Workshops with Purpose conceived of this new program last November and have made enormous efforts to pilot it this year. We are thrilled to see those efforts manifest into a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for 12 program participants.
This Friday, our group of 7 teens, 5 adults, and 3 staff will take off to Thailand for a 12 day travel experience. Over the past 6 months, our group has been working tirelessly to prepare for the journey. Participants spent their summers holding car washes, selling raffle tickets, seeking corporate sponsorships, hosting a bingo night and silent auction, collecting returnable bottles and cans...all in the name of personal growth and raising awareness of global issues. All told, we raised over $46,000(!), covering all the hard costs of the trip.
We've also spent the past months meeting regularly to learn about human trafficking, one of the largest criminal enterprises in the world, and practice our storytelling skills through photography, videography and creative writing workshops. Now it is time to reap the benefits of all that work!
While in Thailand this month, the group will of course be exploring the beauty of the country and its culture, but also visiting with 4 different organizations working to prevent human trafficking. They will learn about this issue, so pressing not only in Thailand, but also here in the US and Oregon, and share that knowledge with our Bend community upon their return.
We will be hosting an event coinciding with Nation Human Trafficking Awareness Day this coming January where participants of the BRIDGES: Thailand program will share their experiences abroad and speak to the global issue of human trafficking through photos. videos and creative writing.
With our departure in sight, here is what a few of our participants are most looking forward to:
Having never travelled out of the west coast, I am most excited to see and know how others live. To be completely submerged in a way of life I have never experienced, as well as, solely focused on creating a story from the experiences and things that I learn.
I am looking forward to eating delicious food, meeting interesting people, learning about a new culture, and most importantly, learning about a cause that is important to me - human trafficking prevention. I’m also excited to travel since I’ve never been out of the United States.
I am looking forward to new experiences and relationships. I am honored to meet, work with and be inspired by the agencies we are meeting with in Thailand, the survivors and the children. I am also excited to dive into the Thai culture. To see it, smell it, eat it, breathe it, live it and share it with this impressive group of humans who have come together to make a difference and advocate change.
We would like to extend a heartfelt "THANK YOU" to all of the businesses that have supported this program so far and have made this experience possible:
- White House Custom Color
- In Our Backyard
- The Guardian Group
- Craft Kitchen & Brewery
- Five Talent
- The Broomsmen
- The Source
- Dancin' Woofs
- Wabi Sabi
It's not too late! If you would like to support us and help make this valuable program sustainable for years to come, please click here.
Follow us on Facebook to track our journey and stay informed about our culminating event in January!