In February 2018, a group of Goldfish team members from all over the country and a few helpful hands from Projx Construction Group had the opportunity to go to Gales Point, Belize for a service trip. This was the fourth year that members of our team have dedicated their time to their trip and we asked some of the team to tell us about their experience. Here’s what they said…
Arriving in Belize City with our group and more bags of books and supplies than we could fit on our boat (thanks to our members and the teams at Goldfish locations across North America!), we weren’t really sure what to expect. We were told to prepare for the bugs, the sun and some hard work, but nothing could ever truly prepare us for the experience we had. The beauty of the village of Gales Point combined with the spirit of its residents will not soon be forgotten.
Our three main goals for the trip were painting the first floor of the library and building a staircase to the second floor, helping repair a house and, our favorite part (of course!), teaching swim lessons to the local children! The friendships we were able to make and the amazing memories we were able to take away with us are icing on the cake.
After days of mixing cement, painting and layering cinderblocks, we were able to make great progress on the library and computer lab. Through the generous donations from our Goldfish members collected leading up to the trip, we were also able to commit to funding the installation and first 5 months of internet service! This will provide even more educational resources to the teachers and students of Gales Point. In a place where cell service is nonexistent (can you even imagine?!) and the internet is not affordable to a majority of residents, this is a big deal and we have high hopes that access to these resources will provide opportunities that have previously been out of reach.
Each day concluded with our favorite activity – teaching swim lessons! The kids of Gales Point followed us down the village road, held our hands and told us stories the whole way. The water was a bit colder (definitely not 90 degrees!) and the bottom a little softer than our pools at Goldfish, but the excitement on the little ones’ faces as they leapt off the dock was very familiar to us! The daily lives of the children in Gales Point may be quite different than the lives of our Goldfish swimmers back home, but the fun had in the learn-to-swim experience is the same for all of us. Learning to swimming teaches confidence, coordination, safety and having fun! One of the best parts of teaching a child to swim is teaching them to believe in themselves and the biggest reward is having them push out of your arms, take their first independent strokes and look back at you like they have conquered the world. Water, like education, is a great equalizer.
We are already looking forward to the 2019 Goldfish Swim School Belize trip and can’t wait to come back and continue to make a positive impact on the community!
We are so proud of our team and eternally grateful for their commitment, the support of our members and the expert help from our friends at Projx Construction Group. We know their efforts are creating a lasting impact on the residents of the small village of Gales Point – just as they do in all of their local communities each and every day.