One random morning in January, I was getting ready for school and thinking about how happy I was to finally have a name for my company. I’ve always known I wanted to work with young women helping them figure out who they are and what they want in life, but I wasn’t exactly sure at that point, what the company would look like or how I would go about achieving my goal.
It’s funny how some of the best ideas just pop into your head at moments of random activities. While doing my hair, I was pondering on the company’s name “Girls Dreaming Big” and thinking about what has inspired me to dream big. It hit me out of no where that I wanted to take young women overseas to do a combination trip of service, sightseeing and nightly seminars.
For me, my life changed dramatically the summer after my senior year of college when on a whim, I decided to take a college course in Hawaii. Up until that point, the most interesting place I had been to was Florida. That summer I took golf through the University of Hawaii-Manoa and went totally by myself. I made amazing friends and it sparked my love for travel and adventure. Since then, I have traveled to over 20 different countries. At one point, I even traveled around Europe by myself-something I would’ve never predicted that I would do.
I feel so thankful for those opportunities-they’ve truly shaped who I am today. I want to provide the same kinds of experiences to countless young women. I truly believe traveling can change your life. It opens your eyes to different cultures and experiences. Young people have such a difficult time seeing beyond the here and now. By exposing and pushing them out of their comfort zones, they will grow so much as people.
So…on that fateful day in January, I decided I would try to plan a trip for the summer of 2014. I chose Bali because it was one of the places I’ve never been to and it’s suppose to be gorgeous. When I put the feelers out to the young women I have worked with for years, I got excited by the interest that was out there. I decided to dream big and try to put something together for this summer. I am proud to say, in a matter of two weeks, the trip was planned and booked for 6 amazing young women. We will be volunteering at the Robin Carlson Children’s Language Program, sightseeing, and having nightly seminars. I couldn’t ask for a better group of girls to kick off Girls Dreaming Big’s first Personal Growth and Development Trip. I can’t even believe we are leaving in three days. Below you can read more about the wonderful young women going on this trip and why they decided to be a part of it.
Sally Owens (Just finished her freshman year at Oklahoma State):
I wanted to go to Bali because it is a once in a lifetime opportunity. When else am I going to be able to travel to Indonesia? I’ve never heard of anyone I know going to Bali. I don’t think I know anything about Bali so it would be really cool to experience something completely different from my daily life in St. Louis. I also think it’s really cool how we will work at a school helping kids learn English.
Sloane Simmons (Just graduated Kirkwood High School):
When the idea first came up, I was just excited because I have never been in a completely different culture like that. I blindly said yes because who wouldn’t want to go on a trip, not thinking about if it was financially or even realistically possible. What I didn’t know is that even before the trip began, it became more to me than an exotic getaway. It was an escape, a time to reflect on myself, my life, and the future ahead of me. Though I’m really close with two people going on the trip, sometimes the presence of strangers can be comforting when sharing how I really feel about things. I’m looking at this trip as an outlet to get away from everyday stressors and reflect, and to grow as a person.
Kathryn Turek (Just graduated Kirkwood High School):
The main reason is for me to grow stronger as a person and develop a better understanding of different cultures and lifestyles. I thought it would be a great way to get away from Kirkwood for awhile and meet new people with the same interests as me.
Casey Norton (Just finished her junior year at Kirkwood High School):
I had always wanted to leave the country and go on an adventure. When Stacy Taubman asked me if I wanted to go on the Bali trip, I knew I wanted to go-especially after seeing the movie, Eat, Pray, Love. Since we will be helping out at a local school, that was an extra bonus for me because I love kids. As time gets closer to leave, I get more and more excited. I know I will come back a better person from the nightly seminars and the experiences I have while there.
Sisters: Carrie and Kelly Kruszewski
I want to go to Bali because it will be a great growing experience. It will be special to make a difference in the children’s lives and to not only teach them, but learn from them as well.
Kelly (Just finished her freshman year at University of Georgia):
I am so excited to go to Bali because being so far away from home is going to push me out of my comfort zone. It will be a challenge I’ll have to overcome. I’m also excited to be helping children and seeing what other cultures are like. I hope to make good friends with the other girls who are going and maybe help the graduating seniors prepare for college. I think it’ll be good for them to see what it’s like to be so far away from home for a while; I know if I had done something like this last summer, it would have made the transition from high school to college so much easier. I’m also just excited to see Bali. It’s so different from here and I probably never would have made my way there if it wasn’t for Stacy Taubman and this trip. This trip will also create a bond between all the girls going because we’ll be experiencing so much together. I think that’s cool, considering I haven’t met any of these girls yet, but I know well all be close after this trip.