Plainfield sixth-grader a travel ambassador

By Denise Coffey - Staff Writer
Plainfield - posted Fri., Nov. 22, 2013
Julian Miner is preparing for his trip to Alaska. Photo by D. Coffey.
Julian Miner is preparing for his trip to Alaska. Photo by D. Coffey.

Julian Miner is already preparing for his summer vacation. He’ll be traveling to Alaska for 11 days as a People to People ambassador.

When the Plainfield sixth-grader applied and interviewed for the educational travel opportunity, he was hopeful of being chosen. Now that he’s been selected, he has to do his homework: learning about the places he’ll go and raising money to help get him there.

People to People grew out of efforts by then-President Dwight Eisenhower to spread peace and goodwill after WWII. The first traveling delegation was in 1960. Since then, 500,000 “ambassadors” have traveled with the program. Educational trips have taken students in grades five to 12, and also college students to seven continents. The trips last from four to 23 days. Their purpose: to increase awareness and appreciation of different cultures.

Miner is looking forward to all of it. He’ll arrive in Anchorage by float plane. He’ll travel to Denali National Park, where rangers will shepherd his group through a portion of the park. He’ll visit Potter Marsh, one of the best bird-watching sites in the state. He’ll tour a hatchery, pan for gold and hike a glacier. He’ll learn about the state’s agriculture, geology and marine treasures. He’ll cruise the Kenai Fjords National Park where whales, sea lions and walruses live. He’ll help prepare traditional Alaskan foods. And he’ll get to meet sled dogs at an Iditarod training kennel.

Miner will attend monthly sessions with other students who will join him on the trip. They’ll learn about Alaska under the tutelage of a group leader who will help prepare them.

He can’t wait to go to a place where the summer sun never sets. He’s looking forward to eating king crab and keeping a travel journal. But he is not looking forward to meeting any grizzlies, or having to tell his sister he couldn’t bring a sled dog pup home when he returns.

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