Sierra’s summer experiences with L&E made a tremendous impact on her self-esteem and sense of being. Meeting, mixing, and bonding with young people from all over the world helped her to establish a real sense of belonging and an understanding of the privilege and responsibility that comes with being a citizen of the world.
L&E creates a microcosm that consistently exemplifies what real community is. In this space, the young people are able flourish without judgement or ridicule or constraining social norms. Kind consideration for one another is the underlying vibe or mantra.
With this as a foundation for her summer experiences, Sierra has been able to fully explore what being the best version of self looks like, feels like, and sounds like. Her experiences with the extra activities (horse riding) helped her “find” her true passion. The encouragement from the instructors and the opportunities she had to bond with the horses simply sealed her destiny. Sierra will work with animals – full stop.
Before going to L&E World Camp she was being bullied and picked on at school. The decision to send her to L&E was purely predicated on the fact that we did not want her to grow up feeling like she needed to conform or “be like” just so she could “fit it”.
When we arrived day-1 of her first year; I was helping her unpack and group of girls popped around the corner asking her name and where she was from. Sierra froze and said nothing, so I did all the introductions. I remember thinking “come on Sie get out there” and then I just left the room. Within 5 minutes, she and the entire group came bouncing down the stairs and she was on her way.
As it turns out, her experiences with L&E World Camp have been gateway experiences. Every summer when she returned from camp, she was more confident and secure and capable with a very grounded sense of who she is and what she wants from life.
As a part of Teen Travel, her self-awareness expanded even more. Teen Travel is a truly unique experience because it deems them fully accountable for what happens next. It becomes a good experience only if they work to make if a good experience – as a team they plan, organise, budget, etc. The fact that they are responsible for every single aspect of the allows them to make very adult decisions being fully accountable for the outcome. The practical skills learned as a part of Teen Travel meant that we were more confident in her ability to navigate the international journey to camp every year.
The L&E experience has been a game changer for Sierra. She owns and rocks her self-confidence with ease and grace. That confidence is no longer predicated on the “if they like me”; it is now firmly rooted in the “I will be fine if they don’t”. Her view of the world and its infinite possibility is tremendously expansive. She clearly understands that living life is about the journey, as the destination is just a marker at a point in time and ever changing.
I can never in 1,000 years thank the L&E team enough.
Denise BB (Sierra's Grandmother, USA)