A joint program of Workshops With Purpose and Camp Fire Central Oregon
Open to anyone 15+ years old, BRIDGES provides participants with an educational travel experience that serves to expose them to new cultures, push them out of their comfort zones, and open their eyes and hearts to our shared global community.
The program is built on three key tenets:
On a 12 day international journey, BRIDGES participants are afforded the rare, life-changing opportunity of immersing themselves in another way of life. They face challenges that inspire immense personal growth--many leaving the country for the first time, traveling without their families, battling jet lag, language barriers, and unfamiliarity. They return home with new perspectives, skills, and confidence. Studies show that, in particular, youth who travel benefit through a 56% increase in self-esteem, 55% increase in intellectual curiosity, 52% increase in tolerance, 49% better adaptability, and 43% better cooperation with others.(1)
BRIDGES inspires participants to become not just tourists, but critical observers and compassionate global citizens. During their travel and throughout 6 months of wrap-around programming, the group participates in workshops about social justice issues relevant to both their international destination and local community. Participants are inspired into action, becoming vocal advocates for change and increasing awareness of pressing global issues.
Throughout the program, BRIDGES participants practice ethical storytelling skills and document their experiences through creative writing, photography and videography. Experience is one thing, but research shows that real change, both on an individual and community level, happens when we take time to reflect, to digest, and to share what we’ve experienced with others.(2) Post-travel programming leads participants through the process of putting on an exhibit of their creative works to share the impact of the program with our local community. But beyond the exhibit, and beyond the program even, every single time a BRIDGES participant shares their stories, they inspire others to become more compassionate global citizens.
In November 2018, our BRIDGES program traveled to Thailand for an incredible 12-day journey. Along with soaking up Thai culture, exploring beautiful temples, getting up close and personal with elephants, and eating plenty of delicious food, the group also spent their time studying the global issue of human trafficking.
The group spent 6 months leading up to the trip fundraising tirelessly to make it happen and meeting weekly to study human trafficking, practice their storytelling skills, and prepare for travel.
They also spent 2 months after they returned from Thailand preparing an exhibit of their photos, videos and writing in order to share with the Central Oregon community all that they took away from their program experience, including how traveling to Thailand impacted them and what they learned about human trafficking.
The exhibit was presented to the public in February 2019. Here are the participants' exhibit pieces:
Young people want to shape the world.
Camp Fire provides the opportunity to find their spark, lift their voice, and discover who they are.
In Camp Fire, it begins now.