Carlisle girl eyes trip to British Isles
Dec 12, 2012 (The Sentinel - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --
When Heather Kot was growing up, the members of family would fully immerse themselves in the culture of the country in which they were living.
They would visit historic sites, learn the language and sample the native food, music, arts and crafts.
"We immediately dove in," recalled Kot, whose father was an Army paratrooper. "We tried to be learners, not just visitors."
This enthusiasm to experience what the world has to offer was passed along to Chloe Kot, Kot's 10-year-old daughter who has been selected for the People to People Student Ambassador Program.
Established in 1956 by President Dwight Eisenhower, the program is designed to develop an understanding for other cultures and to encourage a sense of world community. A 5th-grader at Mooreland Elementary School, Chloe is eligible for a 19-day tour of England, Ireland, Wales and Scotland next summer.
"I want to learn about other cultures," Chloe said. "I want to see how different families react, how they live, what they do for a daily life and how different they are from us."
The tour includes a visit with a member of Britain's Parliament; a trip to Cork, Ireland, to kiss the Blarney Stone; and a ride on the world's largest Ferris wheel, the London Eye.
As a student ambassador, Chloe will work on a real sheep farm, live with host families, perform community service in Irish villages, join nature walks in Scotland and complete papers and quizzes about her experiences.
A great start
"Every parent wants to give their child the world," Heather Kot said. "This is a great way to start."
An Army brat growing up, Kot said she moved 10 to 12 times while her father went from one duty assignment to another. As a result, she traveled extensively across the United States, Canada, Europe and Central America.
"I just want Chloe to see both the similarities and differences with people from different places," Kot said. "I've known people who have gone on different trips with People to People. They have nothing but good things to say on it."
Student Ambassadors must be nominated to the program and then pass an application and interview process. Applicants are selected based on academic achievement, community service, volunteerism and personal character.
The nomination was anonymous, Kot said.
"We just got the letter on Oct. 2," she said. "I was really thrilled that someone thought to nominate her."
The letter invited Chloe to try out by forwarding three more recommendations and writing an essay on why she wanted to experience other cultures.
"I'm looking forward to London and seeing Big Ben," Chloe said. "I told a couple of my friends. They thought it would be really cool to journey to Europe."
But first Chloe has to raise about $8,000 in tuition and travel expenses. She has partnered with Phoneraiser, an online nonprofit organization that seeks to better the environment through the recycling of cell phones and ink cartridges for printers.
Chloe will collect these items now through May to raise funds for the tour. For information on collection sites, email her mother at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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