Last year, two Senior Girl Scouts from Virginia approached Judi for help earning their Gold Award, the highest achievement in Girl Scouting. The scouts, Adrienne and Sarah, were genuinely interested in giving back to a community, and facilitated by Judi’s instruction, they quickly learned that responsible tourism is much more complex than a one-day service project.
In a correspondence to Adrienne and Sarah, Judi wrote:
“I believe very strongly that as a group of people who care to share their resources, we need to be careful how we do it. I hope to challenge each of you so that you can determine the best avenue for your future ‘giving.’ This is about a life-long learning experience and will make you more responsible travelers and able to provide sustainable resources to anyone for the future.”
After a year of assignments evaluating sustainability, the mentorship led to a Thomson Safari where Adrienne and Sarah visited schools, development projects, an orphanage and a health clinic to gain further understanding of sustainability and on-site processes.
Following the trip Adrienne explained, “To create and establish a project you have to be able to understand the needs of communities. You want to make a difference, but you don’t want to impede upon the culture. You have to ask the right questions. It is not always what you think it is as an outsider.”