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Local Teen Brings Home Lessons Learned From Educational Travel trip in the Grand Canyon

Sept. 17, 2013

Brookfield, WI (September 11, 2013) — Local high school student, Ellen Kosmatka, recently returned from a Leading the Way program in the Grand Canyon designed to develop leadership skills and to embrace adversity amongst youth with disabilities across the U.S. Now, Kosmatka, is bringing home the lessons she learned while traveling by engaging in what the program refers to as a follow-up Global Citizen Project.

Leading the Way is a special program that focuses on children who are blind or visually impaired, run by the nonprofit company Global Explorers. With help from world-renowned blind mountaineer and Global Explorers Board Member, Erik Weihenmayer, Leading the Way unites students of mixed abilities on incredible adventures around the world. Participants gain unparalleled skills as leaders who focus on building a shared vision, encouraging independence and teamwork, and learning from mistakes, questioning assumptions, promoting trust and embracing adversity.

The main goal of Leading the Way is to teach participants one simple message: What’s Within You is Stronger than What’s In Your Way.

Kosmatka was chosen from a group of candidates nationwide to travel to the Grand Canyon to raft the upper half canyon on the Colorado River. Only ten students are chosen to participate in this amazing week- long adventure. The Grand Canyon Expedition brings visually impaired and sighted children together on a river trip to learn to embrace diversity and to break down any barriers they have in their life. The students overcame fears and obstacles as they went from floating on the serene stretches of the river to navigating the class IV rapids. They had access to certain hikes and slot canyons only seen by the brave souls who ride the rapids to reach them. Every night, the students camped under the stars at a different riverside beach site, and participated in teamwork and leadership development activities.

***Reporter may contact student for quote about the experience and about the student’s follow-up activities here***

Like all Global Explorers programs, the Leading the Way program goes far beyond a typical student educational travel experience. The program challenges participants to think critically about our world and their role in it, and feel the empowerment that comes with an authentic, adventurous and educational cultural experience. The program follows a 3-phase model: 1. Preparatory Learning, 2. Domestic Expedition, and 3. Follow-up Leadership Action. The nonprofit organization strives to inspire curiosity and reflection, and ultimately encourage students to use the experience as a way to enhance their own lives and the lives of those around them.

About Global Explorers
Global Explorers is a nonprofit organization based in Fort Collins, CO whose mission is to inspire responsible global citizenship by providing life-changing travel experiences for students and educators of all abilities and backgrounds. Our unique educational model equips students to explore science and culture for a deeper understanding of the world, to discover their personal interests and to tackle community issues with passion and wisdom.

Global Explorers
Jordy Oleson, American Youth Leadership Program Coordinator
877.627.1425 /

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