Troy area youth to take part in 'People to People'
TROY - Eleven-year-old Logan Signor knows all about killer whales.
He's seen them on TV's "Animal Planet" and at Sea World in Florida.
"I love orcas," he says.
"They're very social; they're sophisticated hunters."
So, it's easy to understand why he's so thrilled about an upcoming experience in which he will actually get to see the whales in the wild.
This summer in British Columbia, Canada, the Armenia Township youth will talk with a marine biologist, who will then take him on an excursion by boat to see the creatures.
For Signor, such an experience - and many more - lay ahead as he takes part in the "Wonders of the Canadian West" 12-day educational trip as a "People to People" Student Ambassador.
But he won't be alone.
The sixth grade student at Troy Intermediate School will go with a group of other students, including two from the Valley in Bradford County.
In addition to the whale-watching trip, Signor and the other "People to People" Student Ambassadors have a full agenda.
The First Nation's people will teach them about Canadian history and they will get to build and sleep in a tee-pee. They will also make arrowheads.
But that's not all.
They will also be able to visit the world's largest dinosaur museum, meet with an archeologist, and take part in a dig. There's also "tea time" with Parliament and a chance to learn about Canadian government.
If that weren't enough, Logan and the other Student Ambassadors get to hike one of the oldest and largest glaciers and swim in a hot spring. A visit to a wolf sanctuary is also on the itinerary.
Vancouver Island, Calgary, and the Canadian Rockies are included on the trip.
It all began last fall, when Logan was notified in a letter that he had been nominated for the "People to People" program.
His mother, Christi Horning Signor, said they still don't know how he was nominated, adding that a teacher could have nominated him or it could have been a result of his state test scores.
The program's mission is "to bridge cultural and political borders through education and exchange, creating global citizens and making the world a better place for future generations."
According to its website, People to People's Ambassador programs have provided educational travel for students across the globe for 50 years. Located in Spokane, Wash., it has more than 20,000 Ambassadors traveling annually. The website notes that "People to People" is "the leader in educational travel for students" as well as professionals.
"I know he thinks it will be awesome," said Christi. "He just can't wait for all that."
Logan tried to imagine his reaction to seeing Orcas in the ocean.
"I will probably just smile and go nuts," he said.
"That's going to be the highlight of his trip," his father, Bryan Signor, commented. "He's an animal lover and he's really excited to see those whales."
Logan said he is curious about learning from the First Nation's people, noting he has some Native American heritage.
And he's excited about sleeping in a tee-pee.
"I just hope I build my tee-pee right so I don't get rained on," he said.
In addition, he likes the idea of making arrowheads and touching what "they (the natives) used to touch."
Meanwhile, the thought of visiting the dinosaur museum has him almost "speechless."
"I've always been interested in dinosaur bones and dinosaurs," he commented.
He likes the size of the dinosaurs and their hunting methods.
"I'll be excited to go on the dig," he said. "A few years back, a kid from Maryland found a full skeleton of a new species of dinosaur."
Logan said he hopes that he can find something of significance at the dig, too.
Although the Parliament aspect of the visit arguably might not compare to seeing a killer whale in the wild or visiting a dinosaur dig, Logan thought he would have a really good time learning about the government nonetheless.
And he's looking forward to visiting the glacier.
"I have to bring a water bottle so we can get some water from a glacier," he said noting that it's the "purest water in the world."
"I want to see how that tastes."
He's been talking to his friends about his upcoming visit.
"I just tell them some of the things we are going to do there."
"I think it's an excellent opportunity, something he cannot pass him up," said Bryan.
"I'd like to go, it sounds like a great trip."
He thought it was a great chance for his son to "see different cultures and different parts of the world."
"You never know how many doors it's going to open for a young person like this."
His advice to his son is to "keep your eyes open and look at all the experiences, just try to take it all in."
The cost of the trip is $4,795 and Logan has been raising money to pay for the expense.
One of his most recent efforts was holding a bake sale at the 'TIS a Sweet Thing Craft Show at Troy Intermediate School.
He has also collected 5-cent deposit bottles and is in the process of selling candy bars.
Businesses and organizations have also stepped up to be sponsors, including Patrick's Water Hauling in Troy, Hoover's Hardware in Troy, and Morris Run American Legion in Tioga County, Pa. A couple others are pending.
To make a donation, call Logan's mother at (570) 404-1713.
She and Logan's father thanked everyone for their help, and she was grateful to a friend, Jen Page, for donating her earnings from a Lia Sophia show to the trip.
Christi thought the trip was a "wonderful opportunity" for her son.
She noted that "People to People" has required him to prepare for the experience.
For example, he had to study a little on Canada and must do a ten-minute presentation. She said her son has chosen an aquarium in British Columbia for his topic. Also, Logan had to provide references and letters of recommendation, and attend meetings. A little over 10 students are in Logan's group.
In addition, the Student Ambassadors will have to take part in a service project to collect cat supplies for a no-kill shelter in Lycoming County.
Christi thought the trip would be a "life experience" for her son and a chance to see someplace outside the Troy area, where he lives.
"I just told him to have a good time and have fun."
She added that it would be a "packed 12 days," and her son's group will be meeting up with two other groups, one from Scranton and another from New Jersey.
Christi plans on keeping in touch with her son through Facebook, where photos of the trip will be posted daily.
Eric Hrin can be reached at (570) 297-5251; email: email@example.com.