Blog: December 2012
Each year, the Camden UrbanTrekkers head south on I-95 to the nation's capitol for our Christmas break trip. An interesting and sometimes unexpected highlight from our Washington, D.C. expedition is our stay at the International Youth Hostel (IYH). The hostel, located at 11th and K Streets in downtown D.C; only minutes walking distance from the Mall, offers a rich cultural experience for the Trekkers.
The IYH hosts young people from around the world. These savvy world travelers come to see the U.S. capitol's treasures and explore United States’ culture at an affordable price. The dorm- like provisions have us sharing common spaces beyond our bunk rooms. The large dining area, TV, and game rooms provide plenty of opportunity for the Trekkers to meet and talk with this vibrant international community.
On our last night, exhausted from walking more miles over four days than we do on some backpacking trips, we decided to order pizza and eat in the community dining room. Not being able to find space where the 23 of us could sit together, the students sat at many different tables and mingled with other guests.
From one table over I watched as Julio, an overly energetic & incredibly curious freshman, sat with a couple from Germany and a young woman from Australia. Julio later shared with me they had so many questions for him about the group he was with and asked him a ton of questions about Camden and UrbanTrekkers. He told me he's never met anyone from another country other than his native Mexico.
Sitting next to me during this dinner is Miss Julia, my Trekker assistant. She is chatting away with Jenniffer, a bright and very shy freshman. I hear Jennifer tell Julia how much she wants to travel and visit France and Spain. She tells Julia how UrbanTrekkers has gotten her out of her shell and how she is now closer to many of her classmates. This once shy and reticent young lady is beaming with excitement.
Later that evening I see a group of my Trekkers gathered in the lounge around the map of the world trying to locate the countries of the people they've been meeting. For many of our students it was their first time to visit Washington, D.C. The Capitol, the Smithsonian Air & Space Museum, the Holocaust Memorial Museum, the National Cathedral, memorials, and so much more. With all of these amazing places, I'd still put the International Youth Hostel right up there with the most memorable places we saw. Thank you for your support and keep on trekking,