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My Trip to the Jane Goodall Global Youth Summit

“One of my fondest memories of the Jane Goodall Global Youth Summit is sitting in my hotel room talking to my roommate and friend from Tanzania. We talked about our family, our projects and our dreams till one in the morning. Although we came from different parts of the world, spoke different languages and lived different lifestyles we still talked like old friends.”

“It was thrilling to meet everyone the first day. All of us (at least the majority of us) participated in a group building activities to understand the people in our group better. My group was Flo, which consisted of twelve of us from the US, UK, Singapore, Kyrgyzstan, Tanzania, China, Australia and Canada. The same night about twenty of us were able to speak with Dr. Goodall. I was honored and humbled to be in her presence, we all sat in a circle with flickering candlelight asking her about her wonderful experiences and stories. I remembered my father quoting an Indian saying which goes something as follows: ‘A great teacher is like a lamp, no matter how many lamps it lights, it’s own glow never diminishes.’ We were enlightened by a great teacher. Dame Goodall’s face and her smile in the candle light will remain etched in my mind forever.”

“The next day we participated in a beautiful Native American blessing followed by a keynote address by Dr. Jane Goodall and various workshops. A really eye-opening workshop was about conflicts. Youth from around the world who were my age were talking about death, murder and starvation. I was shocked and mortified. I also enjoyed a workshop entitled, ‘Discovering your Leadership Compass.’ It truly helped me understand how I can be a better leader whilst also listening to others around me. The next day we were inspired by a Holocaust survivor on the importance of forgiveness. We also heard many of our peers speak of the horrors occurring in their own country. It was an emotional day. We ended the day with line-dancing (my Tanzanian roommate taught me to line dance!), a BBQ and a fun fireside chat with Dr. Jane Goodall on the beach. I found her convictions, vision and the power of persuasion as extraordinary. Unfortunately, it was the last day we got to spend time with her.”

“The next day we went to Animal Kingdom at 6:30 in the morning to participate in their 10th anniversary celebration. We went behind the scenes to discover how Disney was playing a part in biodiversity education. Many of us went on our first roller coasters ever, including me! The expressions of shock and happiness were priceless for those who had never seen a rollercoaster. We continued with incredible workshops. I went to one presented by Dr. Supraja Dharini entitled, ‘How Can a Young Person Become an Ambassador for Nature?’ This workshop was extremely beneficial to me, because I am interested in starting a Roots and Shoots group in a tribal community in Southern India. I was able to get information on how I can be accepted into the community and work with them well.”

“The next day some of us hiked in the Nature Conservancy’s Disney Wilderness Preserve. Here we got to see some of Florida’s beautiful everglades and local wildlife (including the American Alligator). We all later had the opportunity to make Public Service Announcements (PSA’s). My group made a PSA about poverty and overcoming it through ignoring the bad influences of drugs, sex and violence. After a long day, we all went to Disney’s Hollywood studios to unwind and relax.”

“The last day was full and was hard for us all. We all perfected our various PSA’s with high tech video editing and attended workshops about future action planning within our groups. Later we had lunch and a very interesting speaker about Lifestraws, we were all in awe of this simple technology that could revolutionize third world countries. We all later watched the various PSA’s, they were all moving and powerful. We all had tears in our eyes.”

“For the closing celebration, we all went to Epcot for a lovely dinner and a beautiful display of fireworks. Many of the group had never seen fireworks! When we headed back for our last night at the hotel we all stayed around the beach and pools hugging each other and telling stories of what a wonderful time we all had.”

“I have made life long friendships and carry fond memories with youth from over 28 countries around the world. I write this with a heavy heart, and tearful eyes, remembering all the people I met and the inspiring stories I heard. I miss them all.”

“I have written only a part of my amazing experiences I had on this sheet. In reality, the entire conference has only deepened my love and understanding for the body of work Dr. Jane Goodall has accomplished. She continues to inspire countless people like me in this world with the fond hope that we carry her dreams and hopes forward for the welfare of this world…and WE WILL!”

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