Stepping out into the world, the globetrotting Traveling Tigers Student Travel Club is experiencing life throughout the planet Earth firsthand.
“We’re not just frolicking on vacation,” group founder Nichole Le Sage said.
Traveling Tigers allows Lincoln County School District students to become global learners, ambassadors and diplomats as they experience a variety of cultures by involving themselves in destinations across the map.
“Being surrounded by the language helps students solve real-world problems and creates independent thinkers,” Le Sage said. “This is connecting their learning.”
The educational excursions allow them an opportunity to pursue academic excellence as they problem-solve their way through new challenges and experiences in each country and state they visit, Le Sage said.
“Immersion learning” — where students in the four-year-old organization acquire knowledge on the customs, dances and language of the country they are visiting — has a lifelong impact.
The Traveling Tigers have been to Japan, Ireland, London, Paris and Costa Rica.
Club members recently touched melted glass and rubble from the 1945 atomic bomb detonation in Hiroshima that brought an end to World War II.
“To touch those bricks and feel the history is not something you are going to get in a classroom,” Le Sage said.
This summer, sixth- and eighth-graders are going on an East Coast trip to Boston, Philadelphia, New York City and Washington D.C. The older kids will visit Italy and Greece. Future trips include Australia, New Zealand and Fiji.
Le Sage, Taft High 7-12 social studies teacher, chaperones the students. She points out the educational trips in every sense of the word.
“Language immersion” is learning how to navigate and problem solve, she said.
Traveling Tigers also do special things for the communities they visit — from bringing school supplies to students in impoverished areas to bringing small gifts that represent Lincoln City.
Club members also learn how to cook traditional dishes.
The kids do several fundraisers throughout the year, including gift wrapping at the Lincoln City Outlets for the holidays, car washes, plant sales and doughnut sales, to name a few.
The club will wash cars and sell Krispy Kreme Doughnuts at McKay’s Market from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday, March 9, to raise money for their travels.
“This fundraiser is for all future trips,” Le Sage said. “The car wash is one of the last community events of the year where kids can raise money to fund their educational trips.”
A Designer Bag Bingo event is scheduled from 5-8 p.m., Saturday, March 16, at Eden Hall in Gleneden Beach.
To stay up to date and vote on where to visit on future trips, Like the Traveling Tigers on Facebook.