No Barriers Inspired me to Take Action Globally

One of my dreams was always to visit Machu Picchu, and I was very surprised how much the whole experience impacted my life!

My name is Isabela, and I am a junior attending an arts high school in Orange County, CA. In the summer of 2015, I attended the “Leadership in Andes: Peru” Girl Scout Destination. I have been a Girl Scout for 13 years and have always loved traveling, learning and interacting with people from other countries and cultures. Girl Scout Destinations is a program that offers trips nationally and internationally to older Girl Scouts. I was so happy that a trip to Peru was offered and very excited when I was accepted into the program. It truly was an amazing opportunity to be able to travel to Peru with 12 girls from across the United States with No Barriers.

During the trip, I was able to fully immerse myself into the Peruvian culture and learn more about not only the Incan culture, but also myself. Throughout the trip we fed llamas, salsa danced to Peruvian flute music, learned about hand weaving, and even ate traditional foods including guinea pig and llama. We spent four days trekking 23 miles through the Andes Mountains along the Lares Trek up to 15,600 feet and at the end of the trip we visited Machu Picchu; two things I never thought I could do at 15 years old!

No Barriers Youth, Peru, Girl Scouts

However, a visit to a small, all-girl orphanage called Santa Rosa de Llamay in the Sacred Valley is what really changed my whole perspective on the world. When I met the group of girls in the orphanage, their amazing stories and excitement for life inspired me in so many ways. I had never felt so happy as I did in those moments. They had so little, but at the same time, they had so much happiness and love to offer us! We spent hours playing and talking with the children.

After this experience, I saw how different the United States was from Peru. I learned that Peru, still very agrarian, is very far behind America in terms of technology and advancement. I saw a huge gap in the amount of opportunities available to children compared to those in our country, so I decided that I wanted to do something about it. No Barriers pushed me out of my comfort zone and showed me that I have the power to make a difference in other people`s lives, even in other countries.

No Barriers Youth, Peru, Machu Picchu, Girl Scouts

This summer, I have the exciting opportunity to travel to Costa Rica. Children from an elementary school in the remote village of BriBri do not have access to books, so I have decided to focus my Gold Award project on helping start a small library for the school’s village. No Barriers gave me the confidence to become a leader outside of my community, no matter my age. This is only the beginning and I want to seek more opportunities like this to continue helping others.