Nevada grad to lead Belize trip

Ronna LawlessStaff Writer
Nevada grad to lead Belize trip

A Nevada alumna is offering NHS students and members of the community an opportunity to travel to Belize next year for spring break, March 10-18. The trip will be an adventure, but it will also be a chance for service and learning.

The first time Kelli Soll left the country and witnessed poverty first-hand, she felt compelled to do something about it. The result is an organization she’s founded that puts people on trips to Belize for “fun and dynamic experiences that are also meaningful, sustainable service,” she said.

Soll said participants will be introduced to the culture, history and beauty of Belize and will also have an opportunity for service and cultural exchange.

Through Global Service Partnerships, an organization Soll co-founded, travelers to Belize connect with school children through arts, music, sports and classroom time. Participants also learn about the culture of Belize through “immersion and excursions.”

At a cost of $1,950 plus air fare, Soll offers payment plans to help participants deal with the cost. There is an online application at globalservicepartnerships.org.

Soll plans to have a meeting with students, parents and community members in September. A meeting with students on April 27 indicated a strong amount of interest in the trip, Soll said.

She explained that, although English is the official language of Belize, it is not necessarily the first language children learn. “But it is crucial that they learn English to advance in school,” Soll said.

Soll spoke to the school board about the service trip on April 25. Although the trip will not be a school-sponsored event, the board members indicated they were supportive of Soll communicating with students and faculty about the opportunity.

Soll, who lives in Boise, Idaho, has led about 15 groups to Belize since founding the organization. “This is a trip that provides perspective,” she said. “I always see a different person on Day 7 than I did on Day 1. That’s when I know my job has been done.”

The trip is open to high school students, but also to families, professionals and retirees. For NHS students, the service hours will apply to their Silver Cord requirements.

“Travel like this really adds to the 21st Century skills that employers and colleges are looking for,” Soll said.

Aside from the service aspect of the trip, participants will also have a chance to enjoy historical and cultural excursions, such as guided tours of Mayan ruins and caves, cave tubing, a tour of the Belize Zoo, a trip to the Saturday market in San Ignacio, snorkeling and zip-lining.

“I’m a 2007 Nevada grad,” Soll said. Her parents are Ken and Dana Soll of Nevada. “I know how travel like this has impacted me. Now I want to make the opportunity for Nevada’s students — and other members of the community — to feel that same impact.”

Being from Nevada, Soll feels a sense of having come full circle. “It’s gratifying for me to offer this trip to Nevadans. I lived 18 years of my life here. This community has given so much; it’s wonderful to be able to share this experience now.”

“Leave your bubble,” Soll said. “Change your life. Change someone else’s life.”