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Two local boys planning summer trips with People to People program

With so much news focusing on the negative, two young men from this area are eager to share their stories, as they expand their world knowledge in preparation for the opportunity of a lifetime.
The boys will be traveling around the country and around the world this summer if everything goes according to plan.
Tyler Gill and Simon Wilson will participate in the People to People program allowing them to travel and learn about other areas and other cultures.
Tyler, who has traveled with the group before, is preparing to spend 20 days in Europe visiting Paris, Versailles and Chartres, France; Florence, Pisa, Assisi, Rome and Naples, Italy and finally Peloponnese and Athens, Greece.
While Simon’s trip isn’t quite as far, it promises to be just as exciting. He will participate in the 14-day Yosemite Adventure, traveling to San Francisco; Bodie; Yosemite National Park; Mono Lake; Kirkwood and Lake Tahoe, California.
Both boys need to raise enough funds before they’re able to make their journey. Veteran traveler Tyler and his family have been through this all before, having participated in an Australia trip two years ago.
This year, Tyler needs to raise a total of $6,599 in order to make the journey while Simon’s total cost is $3,998.
While it might seem expensive at first, the total cost includes all meals, flights, accommodations – everything needed – with the exception of spending money.
The total price even includes insurance which covers expenses to fly in parents should a traveler become sick or unable to return home.
The boys’ mothers, Carol and Kim both said they are planning many fundraisers to help pay for the expenses. Previously, Tyler has sold cookie dough and ice cream, held car washes and sent letters out asking for donations. He plans to continue some of the same fundraisers this year and is also selling ham and cheese sandwiches and Current Magazine items.
His mother, Carol, said they will also be taking homemade fudge orders in November and December.
“Last year several area businesses donated and that really helped out,” she said.
Simon’s family is also busy planning fundraisers such as dances at the Legion, hoagie sales and car washes. Simon has also been collecting aluminum cans to help out.
For anyone interested in helping the boys out, donations can be sent directly to the family. The money will be sent to People to People and donators will receive a receipt.
Donations for Tyler Gill can be sent to 2144 Ridge Rd., Tyrone, Pa. 16686.
Donations for Simon Wilson can be sent to 1501 Logan Ave., Tyrone, Pa. 16686.
Payments are made in installments and while the exact dates of the trips are unknown at this point – they have to wait until all participating schools let out for summer break – the final payments will be due in April or May.
People to People Ambassador Programs provides international travel opportunities for grade school, middle school and high school students.
Students journey in delegations of 30-40 Ambassadors led by experienced local educators.
Student Ambassadors experience hands-on learning opportunities and immerse themselves in the arts, sports and family life of cultures around the world.
Each delegation participates in four pre-departure orientation meetings in order to get to know fellow Student Ambassadors and their families.
In addition, participants can earn transferable high school and college credits that can help build a college admissions resumé.
The program was started in 1956, when President Dwight D. Eisenhower called a special White House conference of American leaders. Eisenhower believed that ordinary citizens of different nations, if able to communicate directly, would solve their differences and find a way to live in peace. In 1956, he put those beliefs into action, creating the People to People Ambassador Programs.
In order to participate in the People to People program, students must be nominated. They then take part in an interview to determine if they are ready to participate in the program.
Tyler, who was nominated prior to his Australia trip, said he still isn’t sure who nominated him. Nominations can come from various sources such as teachers or other People to People ambassadors. Some students can also qualify through test scores.
On the other hand, Simon knows exactly how he was chosen, as his nomination came from his friend, Tyler.
Both boys are excited about their upcoming trips and Tyler enjoys sharing his travel wisdom with his younger friend.
“The best part of the trip is having no parents around,” Tyler said.
Simon said he’s looking forward to staying in the hotels.
Tyler is currently a seventh grader at Tyrone Area Middle School. He is the son of Carol and Don Gill of Warriors Mark.
Simon is in sixth grade at TAMS. He is the son of Kim and Albert Wilson of Tyrone.