Thanks for help with trip of lifetime

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, June 23, 2010

I was recently accepted to the People to People Student Ambassador Program, an educational travel program funded by President Dwight D. Eisenhower.

As you read this, I am on a wonderful trip exploring England, France, Belgium and the Netherlands for 14 days as a member of the Alexandria, La., delegation. I left June 18 and will return July 1.

By participating in the Experience Europe itinerary, I can earn academic credit while getting to know the people, culture and history of the places I visited. I will take part in a variety of activities, including traveling back in time at Warwick Castle, re-enacting a historic battle, attending the theatre in London, climbing the Eiffel Tower, exploring the artistic Montmartre District of Paris and cruising the canals of Amsterdam.

I will also meet a member of the British Parliament, study World War II history and more.

I am honored to have been accepted into the student ambassador program. I was invited to enroll and then submitted letters of recommendation and successfully completed an interview process.

Before departing on the trip, I attended several orientation meetings with program leaders and fellow delegates to learn about the destinations and prepare for the journey.

Three Louisiana teachers are traveling with us.

President Eisenhower founded People to People during his presidency in 1956 with citizen leaders including entertainer Bob Hope, Olympic champion Jesse Owens, amusement entrepreneur Walt Disney and Hallmark Cards founder Joyce Hall.

Having served as a military commanders, Eisenhower believed that ordinary citizens of different nations could make a difference where governments could not.

The program is based in Spokane, Wash., and has been coordinating educational travel for more than 50 years.

Many local churches, businesses, clubs, organizations and individuals helped make this trip a reality for me. To them, I would like to say “thank you.”

Jasmine Winding is a 12-year-old Robert Lewis Middle School student.