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Volume 3 Issue 3 Highlights

 
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VolunTourism 'Under 25'

Greg Tehven (on the left in the photo above) is a Co-Founder of Students Today Leaders Forever (STLF). He, along with Cody J. Nelson of Bmidji State University and Karinda Washington of BOTS Entertainment, participated in a recent episode of The VolunTourist Webcast.

Greg offered some marvelous insights as to the role that young people, under the age of 25, will play in the continuing unfoldment of the VolunTourism industry. He shared some of his personal experiences that have made him a "Leader Forever." His answers will certainly allay any concerns you may have about what the future holds for this world, and what the Millennials may deliver in their quest to serve and alter the status quo.


1) What was the impetus behind Students Today Leaders Forever?

When I was in high school, I grew up in Fargo, North Dakota, a rural community; I grew up on a farm. After high school graduation I had this opportunity to go to Australia, so my first opportunity to travel and it was a VolunTourism experience. It was to be a camp counselor at the National Leadership Camp in Australia.

Photo Courtesy Of STLF All Rights Reserved

And so for me I learned about this concept the 'Pay It Forward Tour' in Australia that they were doing along the Gold Coast. And the man that founded the group to do that challenged me; he said: 'Greg, when you go back to the United States you should really start this up with your friends in college.' And being eighteen years old and pretty naive I kinda said, 'Yeah, sure, no problem,' and didn't think anything of it.

But I went to the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, Minnesota, where I met some amazing friends in college; and ten days into our college career we started dreaming: What would it look like to do a service trip across the country and make a difference and be able to see the United States during our Spring Break, but have a meaningful experience - one that we could remember and be proud of.

[Listen To This Quote]

2) Why do you think service is so important to this group 'Under 25,' Greg?

I think a lot of people 'Under 25,' we feel very under-appreciated. A lot of us have lived with controlling parents who think we have to do things a certain way. But a lot of us have found through service, we can do things that we never imagined.

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I can remember, I was with a high school program, a high school tour, and we were in Ames, Iowa and there was this 17-year-old girl that was with us. That day, our project was to de-roof this old cabin, take the shingles off of this cabin at a 4-H camp. And so, I didn't know anything else, but I encouraged her to go up and be part of it. And that night during a reflection activity, she shared that her father had never let her go up on the roof of their house to help put up the Christmas tree lights; it was always her younger brother who got to go up on the roof. But on this experience she got to serve and contribute and show herself that she could do something.

And I think when we serve we realize so much about ourselves, the power that we have, the opportunity we have to contribute. And I believe that, you know, the ‘Under 25’ group when we get a taste of it it’s something that we continue to do and want to be more and more a part of - it’s very addicting!

[Listen To This Quote]

3) Is that what you're seeing with students when they go through these experiences, are these destinations all of a sudden becoming memories and stories that are then shared with others?

It's becoming more than that. They're becoming college essays; they're becoming scholarship application stories that students are using to present themselves.

On my most recent high school tour, we went to Roslyn, South Dakota, a town that hosts the International Vinegar Museum. And I hear students talking about Roslyn, South Dakota, all the time. They're wearing the t-shirts that they bought at the museum; they're telling their friends about how much they love vinegar. Now, before we went to the vinegar museum, I'm not sure they even knew what vinegar was.

But high school and college students are getting excited about learning about communities that have such simple treasures. And, I really believe that every community in our Country (United States) has a story. And so when high school and college students get to go to these smaller communities we learn so much.

And I think sometimes the smaller communities that don't have, maybe the big museums or the big tourist destinations, but they have small niches, can really reach out to VolunTourism travel as an opportunity to engage people in their community, to share with them what the community is proud of and special and how it makes a difference. And then how we as tourists can be part of that and celebrate their strengths.

[Listen To This Quote]


Photo Courtesy Of STLF All Rights Reserved

Greg Tehven is a Co-Founder of Students Today Leaders Forever. His personal life statement is simple: He believes in inspiring, challenging, and encouraging others to live their life to their highest potential. As a recent graduate of the University of Minnesota's Carlson School of Management, he has utilized his study of business and filtered in his own brand of entrepreneurial spirt and life experience to craft "Pay It Forward Tours." These VolunTourism trips engage young people from Middle School, through High School and ultimately College and/or University studies to actively serve and travel throughout the United States.

If you want to learn more about Greg and his work, you will likely find him huddled amidst a mass of students - instructing, serving, or challenging them - in a city or community near you in the months and years ahead - Yeah Buddy!

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