Climbing San Pedro Volcano is a favorite activity among Girl Pioneers, Starfish staff, and visitors. There are always unforgettable memories made during the scavenger hunt the day before the climb and after everyone celebrates reaching the summit together. For us, though, it is much more than a fun tradition. It symbolizes the steep climbs that Girl Pioneers encounter in their own lives and the teamwork, support network, and perseverance that help them overcome obstacles.
This year, nearly all 50 participants—12 Girl Pioneers, 12 Starfish staff members, a Guatemalan board member, students from Northampton High School in Massachusetts, and other guests—made it to the summit. There, we were greeted with a beautiful view.
If you’ve never climbed San Pedro before, let us be clear: it is tough. By the end of the steep hike, it hurts to continue putting one foot in front of the other. It requires significant resilience, perseverance, and encouragement to refuse to give up, and instead continue on to reach the top.
We asked Girl Pioneers how they felt during the climb and what lessons they learned through the experience. Crossing the lake and climbing the volcano is a unique experience for these inspiring young women. Despite living so close to one of Guatemala’s main tourist attractions, many of them see Lake Atitlán for the first time when they begin attending the Starfish Impact School, and most have never crossed the lake prior to participating in the Volcanothon.
How did you feel while climbing the volcano?
“Excited and happy.” – María Isabel, 7th grader
“Tired but satisfied, nervous, and excited.” – Jessica Paola, 7th grader
“Happy because of the memory of the scavenger hunt the day before, excited, and tired.” – Wendy Marisol, 7th grader
How does climbing the volcano relate to your studies at the Starfish Impact School?
“Each goal that we accomplish has obstacles just like the obstacles we faced climbing San Pedro Volcano.” – Wendy Aracely, 7th grader
“We shouldn’t give up on our studies.” – Emilia, 8th grader
“No matter how difficult it is to climb the volcano, it can be achieved. I can achieve my goals, no matter how difficult they are.” – Laura, 8th grader
If you were to invite someone, why should they climb San Pedro Volcano with Starfish?
“To widen your intercultural network, get to know your classmates better, and achieve a goal.” – Wendy Aracely, 7th grader
“To remember that you should achieve your goal and not stop studying.” – Emilia, 8th grader
“To be able to use teamwork and also to learn that you can achieve your dreams.” – Laura, 8th grader
How did you feel at the summit?
“Very happy and excited.” – Blanca, 7th grader
“I felt proud of myself because I felt that I had achieved a goal, and if I had achieved a goal, then it would be easier to achieve other goals. I felt like a winner.” – Laura, 8th grader
“I felt very content and proud of myself because I reached my goal.” – Norma, 8th grader
Which competencies and values helped you accomplish the goal of climbing the volcano?
“Critical thinking, resilience, perseverance, and intercultural network.” – Blanca, 7th grader
“Resilience helped me because I was very brave to reach the summit.” – María Isabel, 7th grader
“Resilience and growth mindset. Resilience helped when I thought I wouldn’t make it and growth mindset because I learned many things.” – Wendy Marisol, 7th grader
“Intercultural network, vocal empowerment, and resilience through my classmates who encouraged me to climb the volcano.” – Emilia, 8th grader
We were happy to have so many guests and staff members accompany the 12 Girl Pioneers who summited San Pedro Volcano earlier this month for our sixth annual Volcanothon. Climbing together was an incredible learning experience and provided a physical example of what it looks like for Girl Pioneers to strive toward their dreams, despite the steep slopes and obstacles along the way.
You can support Girl Pioneers as they scale their own mountains and achieve their goals when you invest in Starfish. Make a one-time donation today or become an ally through the Alianza Program and connect intentionally with Girl Pioneers while making a monthly contribution to support girls’ education and empowerment.