Turning Winds organizes international service trips abroad for clients twice a year. They are part and parcel of the therapeutic experience for our teenagers since the focus is on helping other people.
Traveling to foreign countries to be immersed in other cultures and help people less fortunate than ourselves is an exciting opportunity to gain new perspectives and boost self-confidence—especially in young people.
“We’ve had international service trips for about half a decade now,” says Turning Winds CEO Owen Baisden. “I had experiences abroad when I was a kid and they were powerful because life in the United States can be quite different from what the rest of the world experiences.”
Initially, the Turning Winds team took students on trips to Washington, DC, and Hawaii but felt they were too much like vacations in the US. “Then we thought, ‘Let’s get something with a little more meat on the bone, a more meaningful experience for the kids,’” remembers Baisden.
The result: trips to Costa Rica, Peru, Ghana, Thailand, Greece, and last year to Panama and Guatemala. “Now we’re getting ready to head to Morocco in April,” says Baisden and there’s a lot of excitement already. “Morocco is interesting in several ways. It’s a really nice mixture of Africa, Europe, and the Middle East. All these cultures kind of colliding makes it a very fascinating country to visit.”
For the service trip to Guatemala, Turning Winds deliberately picked a remote Mayan mountain village. “They got to experience a lot of Guatemalan culture,” recalls chief operations officer Carl Baisden who supervised the trip to Central America. “We were in people’s huts learning how to make pottery and we got to make coffee and chocolate from scratch. In addition to the service aspect they got that culture immersion that is so hard to come by.”
It will be a similar immersion in North Africa, only this time, it will be a much more urban environment. “For this trip, we are going to be in the capital Rabat which is a little bit different because usually our trips are headed for more rural areas. We will be working out of a school run by the government,” explains Owen Baisden who checked out the locations personally ahead of the service trip to avoid any surprises. “We’ll be participating in a construction project, getting involved in teaching English, and other activities.“
Turning Winds recently celebrated its 20th anniversary. It all began with the simple desire to help young lives see a new path. In two decades, the program has matured into a sophisticated program that blends the benefits of a wilderness program, a residential treatment center, and a boarding school.
Our mission is to rescue teens from crisis situations, renew their belief in their own potential, reunite them with their families, and put them on a sustainable path to success. Contact us online for more information, or call us at 800-845-1380. If your call isn’t answered personally, one of us will get back to you as soon as possible.