Members of the GLOBE Community who attended the GLOBE Learning Expedition (GLE) in Cape Town in 2008 will remember Sam Naylor, an earnest and articulate young man who addressed the gathering as a student Keynote Speaker. Following his extraordinary experience in South Africa, Sam returned to finish his final year of secondary school at the American Community School in Beirut Lebanon, where he earned his IB diploma in June 2009.
Presenting his message at the GLE was a pivotal experience for Sam. His involvement with GLOBE began under the guidance of his GLOBE environmental science teacher, Renee Codsi, in Beirut. In South Africa, the values of the GLOBE program became apparent to Sam who was greatly encouraged by the presence of so many students who gave considerable effort towards environmental consciousness and action. Writes Sam, "Here at last was a living experience of environmental activism, providing many opportunities for participating students. Besides instruction on how to perform scientific tasks and procedures to discover more about the world they live in, the program embodied within each participant a living set of values and perspectives that can collectively be known as an educational character. Parts of this character include the respect for environmental truth rather than commercial spin, compassion for communities whose environments are under strain through poverty, war or exploitation, and a deep desire, a thirst for reconciliation between mankind and its mistreated world."
In the year ahead, Sam hopes to put this energy into motion once again. He has embarked on a gap-year, the year between graduation from secondary school and start of university years, which some students elect to spend outside the confines of school to widen their horizons. For Sam, "As my school days sink into memory I find myself challenged with the question: how do I transfer my GLOBE experiences into a new and independent scenario? Exploring this question brings a flood of tough challenges: What can I do? Who can I count on to help? How can I continue to serve? Where do I start? With the sound instruction of GLOBE still fresh in memory it seems right to keep as active as possible." After much consideration, Sam plans to embark on a five month long exploration of South America, traveling overland from one independent voluntary placement to the next in an attempt to learn and appreciate what he has to offer to the world of environmental issues and community development. With a specific eye for development of eco-community relations in Ecuador and Brazil, Sam will be relying on tight personal funds and active sponsorship from concerned groups and companies to achieve a variety of goals.
"In all this, I can confidently say I have faith. Faith that the challenges I face will bring about positive change, faith that I will be up to the task, and most of all faith that I will not be alone," writes Sam. We at GLOBE who know Sam, also have faith in this remarkable young man who shows such great determination to widen his understanding of the world and make his contribution.