Travel offers education benefits

This past weekend, I was discussing the value of travel in young peoples’ education with parents from Kenora and Dryden.
It is interesting to note that the current generation of young people are more informed, more mobile, and more adventurous than previous ones.
When I was growing up, the big trip I remember was travelling west to Saskatchewan to visit relatives of both my mother and father.
After that, the only experience I had was travelling with the Muskies to the Centennial tournament in Sudbury back in 1967.
Our family focused our vacations in the district.
My children, however, began their travel to cities and events when they were both only months old. They became accustomed to very early-morning car departures, with lots of stops during the day to release energy.
I remember them clamouring over rocks east of Thunder Bay at the amethyst mine, where we filled a small box with crystals they had found.
At Drumheller, Alta., we scoured the badlands looking for dinosaur bones and took in the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontolgy.
My parents then began taking their grandchildren to newspaper conventions in cities across Canada. Their granddaughter visited Montreal with gramma and grampa while their grandsons saw both Quebec City and Winnipeg.
Later, as I attended those same conventions, my children took in ones in Saskatoon, Charlottetown, and Halifax.
They were lucky to meet other youths their same age who attended those conventions with their parents. And they learned about the diversity of Canada from the Atlantic to the Pacific.
There were lots of long road trips and our sons saw every province except for Newfoundland. They played on the beaches of two oceans and several beaches of the Great Lakes.
For a long time we dragged them through museums and art galleries, and later an appreciation for museums and galleries flourished.
They also took advantage of high school trips and travelled across Canada and to foreign countries.
Eventually, they discovered the world and have travelled extensively learning about cultures and countries. It has broadened their understanding of the world and the diversity of peoples.
I must give credit to Dexter Fichuk, who has spearheaded an initiative to provide a scholarship for a Fort High student to travel on a “Me to We” trip to a developing country to see the importance of education, clean water, and agriculture projects.
It is a bold undertaking and one I hope will continue beyond this year.
Several students from Dryden, under the leadership of Matt and Leanne Taylor, have just returned from two weeks in India, where they worked at an orphanage, painting walls and ceilings, cleaning kitchens and bathrooms and playgrounds, and playing with and helping orphans.
Their tasks were not easy. Many of the orphans had AIDS, which in India is not even talked about. Those children were shunned and the Indian youth in the orphanage have very few opportunities.
Coming back to Canada, everyone who had travelled to that remote part of India now really understood, and are aware of, how fortunate they are to live in Canada.
Two told me that they would like to return to that part of India again to help at the orphanage.
Their world has expanded. They have learned much that could never really be understood by reading a book or listening and watching videos. Travel has shown them new opportunities.
The educational benefits of travel cannot be measured.

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