Written by Sophia Gardner
Culture Nights are the vehicle for global, environmental, and social justice curriculum to be delivered to program participants in preparation for travel to Guatemala. Since beginning the program a month ago, participants have already attended three Culture Nights.
Culture Nights are run by the Leaders In Training, a branch of Youth Board that facilitates and leads students through the First Year Leadership Program. The first Culture Night is designed as an introduction into the philosophy of Global Visionaries and the logistical components behind the program. Students and parents meet fellow participants and begin their journey with GV towards a more just and sustainable future.
At the second Culture Night, participants learn about how fundraising is integrated into the GV experience. In Global Visionaries, every student raises funds for the Project Fund. The Project Fund finances the projects that participants complete in Guatemala. Through fundraising, participants have the opportunity to educate people on their personal leadership development and also invite them to be a part of the global shift GV is committed to build.
Environmental justice is the focus of the third Culture Night. Participants participate in a simulation called the Red Green Game that examines human society and social patterns and developing into a conversation about the Ecological Footprint that people leave on the planet. Participants make commitments to reduce water usage through various conservation methods to reduce the environmental impact they make on the planet. Reducing shower length, capturing and using greywater to water plants and flush toilets, and washing only full loads of clothing in cold water were some of the commitments made at the Culture Night.
The transformation that begins in each participant’s journey to develop leadership and examine global issues is profound. Participants are delving into social issues to gain experience and understanding to better articulate and elaborate on their experiences in the local and global community. Before the trip to Guatemala, participants have several more Culture Nights to expand their knowledge and prepare for their voyage.