Shannon Woods was born in California, but has lived in Alamogordo for over 30 years. She has always loved living here, and travel throughout the United States when she was young sparked her desire to travel even farther. She has worked for the Alamogordo Public School system for seven years, and in September of 2015, she met an English teacher who helped her turn a travel hobby into something much more.
The teacher, Kim Rhodes, had started a small, private club, The World Travel Club. Her first tour was in 2016, and Shannon jumped right on board! “We shared the same views and interest for traveling…so I assisted her on her first tour to Europe.” After that initial tour, Ms. Rhodes transferred to Santa Fe, and Shannon took over the club. That first trip visited Schonbrunn Palace in Vienna, Saltzburg – where Mozart was born, Nazi concentration camp Dachau, the Neuschwanstein Castle that inspired Disney, and much more. The next year they traveled to Edinburgh, Dublin, Belfast, and even saw Loch Ness! (She didn’t reveal whether or not they had glimpsed the Loch Ness Monster).
This program does more than just subdue the travel bug Shannon has always had; it provides an amazing opportunity for the young adults of Alamogordo to see the world and learn about different cultures and ways of life. “This is an amazing opportunity for our students…we have some of the quietest students going on these tours and a year later they are still talking about it. Some of our past travelers had never even been out of the state.”
Studies have shown that the chance to travel and grow by seeing new places has a lasting positive impact on young people. It can impact their future careers, how they set and achieve goals, and can even boost their confidence. This program does even more than that – the students who attend these trips can earn high school or college credit while on the tour! Shannon and her club do fundraising to support these trips, receive support from local businesses, and offer affordable payment plans for students looking to join.
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Shannon says that The World Travel Club will be visiting Costa Rica next. In 2020, students will spend 10 days there, and will go on a coffee tour, whitewater rafting and kayaking trips, zip lining, planting a tree and visiting Paos Volcano and La Furtuna Waterfall! “These are just a few of the things that we will be doing.”
Shannon has always thought that Alamogordo was a great place to grow up; and she’s doing her part to make it even better for today’s kids by providing opportunities to see and explore many parts of the world that they might otherwise never visit. And Shannon wouldn’t want to do all this travel alone. “The students bring a lot of life and fun on our tours. I’m very proud and blessed to have this opportunity to offer this to our youth.”