About a month ago, we organised a special bicycle tour in Kampot for a group of students and teachers from the International School of Siem Reap. Together, we biked through local villages, met friendly folks along the way, and introduced our new friends to the community. The students and teachers were excited to immerse themselves in a completely local experience, while we were more than happy to introduce them to the beauty and diversity of Kampot.
At a deeper level, this trip got us thinking about local advocacy; in particular, the way in which the young are engaged within and to communities. How do we at Butterfly Tours, as a company made up of young Cambodian leaders and aspiring entrepreneurs, begin speaking about the importance of participationwithin communities? More specifically, how do we inspire the young—especially young Cambodians—to actively engage in issues and events that will affect their worldviews, their respective communities, and their country?
A possible answer can be found within the tour we took with the students in Kampot. On that trip, the students—who came from a variety of backgrounds—were given opportunities to engage with the local community; they stopped to greet friendly villagers, learned about the local culture and economy within specific areas of Kampot, and conversed openly with our Butterfly team members. We realised these interactions are precisely what is needed to engage the young. Besides effective leadership, it is also vital to foster a sense of community—of camaraderie—with the young. And school-going students are perfect recipients for this, because their curiosity about the world around them can be intensified when they are equally motivated and inspired to learn from the community they live and interact with.
Besides running our usual bicycle tours for visitors, we at Butterfly Tours are now actively developing a set of tours specifically catered to young students. It is a challenging task. After all, the logistics involved in attempting to organise tours like these are always more complex than our usual, everyday tours. However, we prepared to commit ourselves to this because we value community engagement with the young. Over this year and next, Butterfly Tours will be seeking to collaborate with more schools and educators—both locally and internationally—providing them with a range of tour options that will enable young students to take their first steps into engagement, advocacy, and young leadership.
If you are an educator looking to share such an experience with your students, please do not hesitate to contact us—we would love to hear from you! Drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org