Youth group trip to Cuba will be a first in 60 years

High-school kids can learn about Cuba while doing community service work there through a two-week program being offered this summer by Adventures Cross-Country (ARCC). With travel restrictions to the country being lifted, this will mark the first time in nearly 60 years that a U.S. youth group will travel there and be able to help out on a daily basis. Among the activities are helping to improve the English skills of residents ranging from 5 to 60 years old, light labor such as painting, cleaning and carpentry at a community center and assisting with a community garden project that supplies vegetables for day-care centers and local residents. There’s also time for exploring Havana, and a two-day stay in a beach community.

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Cuba programs open niche travel markets

As travel restrictions lift, travel options expand to Cuba with new programs for diverse groups of travelers.

One such program is offered by ARCC Programs(Adventures Cross-Country), a California-based operator, who will conduct two 14-day trips for high school students this summer that combine culture with community service.

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Sarong, Steri-Pen, Headlamp Among Must-Pack Items for Trip Leaders Traveling with Adventures Cross-Country

A travel company that journeys with teens compiles a list of travel “must haves” and pashmina doesn’t make the cut.

“Our trip staff has traveled extensively all around the world, both personally and professionally. We asked them to share with us their favorite travel items.” says Scott von Eschen, President of Adventures Cross-Country that since 1983 has provided domestic and international cultural experiences that combine community service, adventure and language immersion for students ages 13 to 19.

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Gap Semesters: Hitting ‘Pause’ Before College

Emily O’Kelly of St. Helena, California experienced life in Southeast Asia last year through what is called a Gap Semester.

O’Kelly made the decision to defer college for a year while jumping 14,000 feet out of a plane.

“After registering the fact that I just skydived for the first time, I immediately felt a surge of panic as I realized the path I was taking wasn’t the one I necessarily wanted to. As soon as I got home, I ran to my mom and asked, ‘Is it too late to take a Gap Semester with Adventures Cross-Country?’”

Underscoring that deciding on a gap program “turned out to be the best decision I have yet made,” she is now in Ghana working for a social fashion company called Global Mamas.

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