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Screenshot 2015-06-11 10.09.55Our Youth Global Leaders have embarked on a service-learning trip from June 7th to 26th. They will explore the themes related to social and environmental justice – including sustainable agriculture, renewable energy, resilient communities, the oppression of native peoples and immigration policy – as they journey from Taos, NM, to the Navajo Nation, AZ, and and onward to the US/Mexico border of El Paso, TX. This is the first installment of YGL notes from the field!

Today marks the fourth day of our journey throughout the Southwestern US. After spending one amazing day climbing the Great Sand Dunes, we made our way to Taos, New Mexico where we have been learning about the Pueblo community. We are currently staying at an activist retreat center, Casa Taos, with Daniel and Betty Escalante. In the last few days, we have been exploring themes of identity and self expression.

Here are some journal entries from YGLers:

“My favorite part of the trip so far has been the sand dunes. It’s such a fascinating land form and exploring them was as beautiful as it was difficult. The sand was very, very steamy and some of the dunes were remarkably steep. When we reached the summit, I felt very accomplished and satisfied. Probably the best part of the hike, however, was the journey down. We were able to run/fall/roll down the steepest of dunes, and were then rewarded with the cold rushing water of the river surrounding the bottom of the dunes. It took plenty of collective effort not to lay down in it for the rest of the day, but we made it back to the campsite in one piece.” -Sydney Sessions

“Last night we talked about timidity and fear. We talked about comfort zones and why we draw the boundaries we do for ourselves. It made me question my own boundaries and whether they are necessary or not. I realized that the majority of my comfort zone has nothing to do with physical safety. I believe our gauge of safety and innate craving of survival as living creatures provides adequate boundaries without too much secondary thought. When taking a closer look at my own comfort zone I realized it consists of some innate qualities as a social creature, but mostly insecurities and societal norms we are expected to conform to. Recognizing that difference for me is a big step closer to my truest self; stepping out of conformity and stepping out of fear. This so-called ‘comfort zone’ is holding me back from my true self, and holding me back from living a fulfilling life.” – Lindsay Lavington

“These past four days on the road have been extremely enlightening for me. It seems like we have been traveling for weeks because of everything we are learning and experiencing. I already feel a deeper connection to myself and to Mother Earth, as we are learning how very much we owe to her. I am inexplicably grateful for these experiences and this opportunity to see new perspectives that we can’t witness in Boulder.” -Emma FitzGerrell

Stay tuned for more updates from the YGLers each week on their adventures in the Southwest!