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Top 9 (plus 1) Questions

7 Jan

After announcing the kick-off meeting, I’ve been getting some questions. These are also topics we discuss at the meeting. I thought I’d just share the questions and answers in case you are considering.

  1. Who can join the trip? Girls 15 – 18 with their parent or a chaperon as well as women 18 and up. You do not have to be a Saint Ed’s parishioner or Catholic. Catholic Sisters run the home. We study Bible stories. We go to Mass at least once during the week. You are welcome! You can be from any part of the country, although we’re based in Minnesota, we have had travelers from Massachusetts, Florida, Iowa, California, and Oregon.
  2. Exactly how much does it cost? The flight is the largest cost at around $800 (from MSP to SDQ). New, replacement or renewal of a passport book: $110 if age 16 and older;$80 if under the age of 16. The last major expense is a visit to the travel clinic. That is about $100-200 and is sometimes covered by insurance. Travel health insurance is about $15. Tipping the driver, other small expenses and shopping can range from $40 to $200. There are no overhead or administration fees. The total is close to $1,200. When you compare that to other mission trips (or Spanish immersion camps), you’ll find this to be a bargain. That is because everyone makes the trip happen. No one is a mere passenger, you’ll help plan and create the camp experience.
  3. How are you going to raise that money? Travelers pay their own way.
  4. How many people will we take? 8 is the ideal number of travelers per week, with 6 the minimum and 10 the maximum. We’re hoping for two weeks of travelers, so the range is from 6 to 20 travelers.
  5. What is the mix of return travelers to first-time travelers? It’s usually about half of each. Many travelers return at least once.
  6. Can youth participate? Yes, 14 and older, but they need to come with a chaperon. Several mother/daughter teams have told me that it was a wonderful experience to share.
  7. What are the sleeping arrangements? We sleep in the girls’ dorm. They clear out rooms for us, so we have beds, mosquito nets, towels, and closets. We use our own (travelers’) floor bath.
  8. What is a traveler gets sick or injured during the trip? We require travelers’ health insurance for this situation. We recommend for travel insurance.
  9. What other resources will we need? How will they be paid for? The Sisters provide transportation, room, and food. We really don’t go out on our own typically. Sometimes at the end of the trip we’ll go to a  restaurant in the capital.
  10. Other questions? See other posts here or contact me.



2016 Mission Trip Kick-Off Meeting Monday, January 25, 7-9 PM

6 Jan

Pope F Mercy 2Celebrate the Jubilee Year of Mercy by joining our Mission this year. Support a social justice organization – the Teresa Toda Home, a home for very poor girls in Azua, Dominican Republic with a summer camp in July 2016. This trip is for women over 18 and mother-daughter pairs for daughters over 15. We have openings from July 9 through July 17, and July 16 through July 24 for travelers interested in sharing a spiritual experience with young women and girls from another country. In a Vacation Bible School format, learn bible stories, play and dance to music, make crafts, perform skits, and other activities. We pray, exchange stories, share love, and spend time with the girls. Through the activities they learn English, enjoy crafts, and build self-esteem. Each trip is deeply touching and spiritual. Special gifts you may share are Spanish skills, crafting and beading talents, or your professional experience (esp. healthcare, tourism, retail, scientists, government, education, and other industries). If you want to follow the Pope’s lead on social justice, charity, adventure, spiritual experiences, fellowship, growth, and fun answer the call to travel with us this summer or help out from Minnesota. Look around this blog and please contact me with questions or to RSVP.  Here are the Top 8 (plus 1) Questions from this year so far. Please share!!

Negotiation: Retreat Idea

12 Oct

Last year we launched a special program, a “retreat”, for the older girls ages 12-18. The theme was intentional living. Each day had a different focus: Vision, Plan, Act, Overcome Obstacles. We had some explanation and exercises for each day. This was paired with visits to local employers.


Girls meeting with a dental hygienist from Azua who overcame a major obstacle – jaw cancer. So inspirational.

What if we had two weeks of camp? Doesn’t negotiation training sound like a great idea? I’m going to attempt a negotiation myself by contacting the professor, to find out if we can use their 5 day curriculum. Wish me luck!!

15 year old girls learn how to negotiate the Harvard way

Let’s watch this #15girls hashtag which so far is addressing issues our older girls are facing.

Please continue to share this blog, especially with potential travelers!



Update: The professor who developed this program, even while on sabbatical, responded! Her name is Professor Kathleen McGinn and Google her for some interesting studies. She said we can use the curriculum.

Latest Update: I got the link to the curriculum. It is excellent, very well laid out. I think the pace will be about right, too, for our girls. The next step is to look at the situations that were used as examples and exercises for the Zambian girls, and work to get situations that might be more like those our girls face. Then, I’d like some translation help. It’s going to be quite a lot of work I think. Whoever is interested in helping on this, they are going to benefit from really understanding the material in this course, which I think would help anyone. It’s based on the famous book “Win-Win” negotiations.

Another Update: One amiga has offered to translate. Meghan is doing it as project her Nursing/Spanish double major. She’ll have access college level Spanish professors. It fits the bill as a leadership/social justice volunteer project. She will do this project this semester and deliver it in July! We will submit the Spanish version back to Girls Arise! so it can be used with other Spanish speaker girls. Professor McGinn, who is learning Spanish, is very supportive and interested in seeing the progress.

Campamento Schedule Jan-Sept

20 Jan

Our yearly schedule goes roughly like this:

January and February: (2016: January 25, February 22 or 23 tbd)

  • Recruiting Travelers (in the past we’ve had about 50-50 new and returning travelers)

March – April:

  • Set the dates (usually the first full week after July 4 and the next one, two groups: each go for one week)
  • Select the Women of the Bible for the VBS program
  • Plan the standard activities like Bible study, Math, English, and Crafts.
  • Plan activities based on traveler’s interests and skills: yoga, dancing, science


  • Buy the plan tickets, get passports, make appointment with Travel Clinic and other items on the traveler prep post
  • Each traveler plans/practices her activity
  • Set the crafts


  • Cutting/Kitting Night (yes, it’s as fun as it sounds! Bring a friend.)
  • Go to Travel Clinic
  • Publicize Donation Requests


  • Packing night (each brings two suitcases: one large plus 1/2 checkable for donations/supplies and 1/2 of one small for your own things)


  • Campamento is typically the first full week following July 4 plus the following week.


  • Publicize Trip Report


Potential Theme Songs for 2016

21 Mar

Each year we have an uplifting pop theme song for camp.

Past Theme Songs

2015 “I’m Good” by The Mowgli’s

2014 “Happy” by Pharrell Williams 

2013 “Gold” by Britt Nicole
2012 “I believe I can Fly” R. Kelly (chorus only) and “Count on Me” by Bruno Mars (all)
2011 “Firework” Katie Perry
2010 “When I look at You” Myley Cyrus
2009 “The Climb” Myley Cyrus
2008 “Dream Big”
2007 “Beautiful” Christina Aguilara
2006 “Unwritten” by Natasha Bedingfield
2005 “Breakaway” Kelly Clarkson
2004 (we were just getting started… We didn’t have anything 😦 )
2002 Theme from the Titanic (this was an accidental success as was the whole first trip 🙂

Suggestions for far for this Year:

 Mary Mary – “Got Get It” “Shackles” “Get Up” “I Get Joy” (just discovered Mary Mary who sings Gospel for younger people”
Katy Perry – “By the Grace of God”
Angela Miller – “Set Me Free”
Mandisa – “Overcomer”