Everyone deserves the chance to travel. Yet, all too often, seeing the world is a privilege reserved for the global elite. At Elevate Destinations, we bridge the divide. Our goal is to connect local youths to their own environments, as travelers and as stewards.
Through our innovative Buy a Trip, Give a Trip model, your trip purchase creates fun new travel opportunities for local kids. For the first time, they experience nearby natural and cultural wonders. They see the sites, have fun, and make the kind of travel memories that we take for granted. Here’s just one example of Buy a Trip, Give a Trip in action:
The Travelers: 95 students from Phnom Penh. They were chosen through Elevate’s partners at Cambodian Children’s Fund as part of its ‘Junior Leaders’ program.
The Excursion: In October of 2016, the student group was treated to a trip to the Phnom Da temple ruins in the Takeo Province for a taste of national history and culture.
The Details: Cambodia is known for its decadent temple ruins. Locals and tourists alike often name Angkor Wat as the crown jewel of Southeast Asian temple architecture – and rightly so. But hundreds of other worthy sites sprinkle the country’s landscape, each with its own revelations about the country’s past and present.
Phnom Da is one of these lesser-known but greatly rewarding temple sites. The Phnom Da temple sits majestically on the top of a hill. It was built in the 6th century, predating the famous Angkor Wat by a number of centuries.
This made a great day trip for the Junior Leaders. At three hour’s drive from Phnom Penh, many of the students were venturing farther than they’d ever been from home. They got a chance to explore the Takeo province, comparing all the similarities and differences from their own.
For many, the biggest accomplishment of the day was to practice the leadership skills that the Junior Leaders program imparts. By dividing groups up and assigning an organizer, many got a chance to be in charge and take responsibility. It was an empowering and rewarding experience for all.
- Climbing up a winding staircase up the hill to reach the ancient Phnom Da Temple
- Looking around the inside of the Phnom Da Temple, where a professional guide brought the culture and history to life
- Posing for pictures as a proud group of peers and friends traveling together just for fun
- Practicing leadership and responsibility as part of a large group divided into smaller groups
Quotes from the Road:
“I really enjoyed the junior trip with my friends, especially learning the history how to be a highly responsible person.”
~ Sor Srey Pich, female, age 15
“I am so happy to join that trip! I am proud of myself because I could lead my team members. I seem to be an old-minded girl now.”
~ Chhoun Socheat, female, age 14
“I am glad to join the junior trip because I could learn new environments and get real practice with my team.”
~ Phou Srey Mai, female, age 13
“Even though it is a bit tiring and long way, I really enjoyed the junior trip because I could learn some new history and bring up my self-esteem when I manage to climb up the mountain even though it was hard.”
~ Koiy Vannak, male, age 13
“I am really excited to join the junior trip because I could learn Khmer history. I am really confident for myself that I could lead all junior leaders because I have advisors who guide me.”
~ Chorn Mey Rithy, male, age 16
Partner Organization: Cambodian Children’s Fund (CFF)
The families that come to CCF for support live in conditions that the World Bank defines as “absolute poverty”. The CCF Community Outreach Program supports communities in need and brings new hope to destitute children and families. The organization believes that if children are to prosper, their families must be supported.
CFF delivers education, family support and community development programs into the heart of Cambodia’s most impoverished communities. Through intensive, long-term investments in children, CCF is helping students build the skills, confidence and integrity they need to become the progressive spokespeople and leaders of change in their communities.
Through a range of programs that focus on six core areas – Education, Leadership, Community Outreach, Healthcare, Childcare and Vocational Training – CFF takes a holistic, on-the-ground approach to developing integrated solutions to the complex issues of poverty.
CCF’s Junior Leadership Program encourages CCF kids to become tomorrow’s leaders. Currently, there are fewer than 100 carefully selected kids from different communities around Steong Meanchey who are enrolled in this program.
Suy Savady’s Junior Leadership Story
One of the Top Junior leaders, Suy Savady is a great role model for other junior leadership team because she is very helpful, friendly, and kind. Savady likes to share with the people around her. Before the trip, Savady worked with the team to plan and organize the activities, responsibilities, and materials needed.
While leading the trip, she took the role as the team leader to facilitate her group, which consist of 13 students. She was in charge of planning energizing games and fun activities, facilitating a group discussion on history, helping guide the exploration of the Phnom Da temple, and giving a presentation to all the participants.
“I am so lucky to be the Top Junior Leadership member,” Savaday, gushed. “I am really proud of myself as I can do what I never did before. I’ve learned the technique of leading people to achieve our goal. I would love to say thank you to Cambodian Children’s Fund and Elevate Destinations for supporting this trip.”