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Kappa Alpha Theta has a long tradition of leading the way for women, whether it's through higher education, advocating for foster children through CASA, or supporting and encouraging each other as we grow as individuals. Theta is dedicated to lifetime engagement - we want to meet our sisters where they are in life with meaningful, innovative ways that build and grow those bonds. One of the ways we are doing that is through travel.
We invite alumnae to join us to see what the world has to offer! Together, we experience different cultures, enjoy new cuisine, encounter history, and enrich each other's lives through friendships that transcend borders. We would love to have you join us in 2017 as we set out to explore destinations that are as unique as they are memorable.
Imagine snorkeling through the turquoise waters off the coast of Costa Rica and then cruising through the Panama Canal during the daytime, coming to grips with one of the 20th century's greatest achievements. Soak up the splendor of windmills in seas of vibrantly colored tulips between Amsterdam and Brussels while practicing newly-learned Dutch phrases. Connect with the timeless beauty of Japan, visiting ancient castles, shrines, temples, and gardens. Immerse yourself in the sites, tastes, and sounds of Tuscany while receiving a world-class education on one of the world's most storied countries. Find yourself in awe of the natural wonders tucked away in the Canadian Rockies, such as Lake Louise and Jasper National Park.
We hope you will take advantage of these unique opportunities, not only because travel adventures turn us into great storytellers, but also because when you chose Theta, you chose a sisterhood dedicated to growing each member throughout her life.
To learn more about our travel program, visit the Theta Traveler page.
Our guest blogger is Ellen Urbani, author of "When I Was Elena." We are discussing her book at tonight's Reading Women book club.
The summer of 2015 marked nearly 25 years since I'd last gathered en masse with my Theta sisters. We'd been members of Delta Omicron at the University of Alabama in the late '80s, back when hair was bigger and pearls were de rigueur, before tornadoes wiped out the east side of campus, before New Orleans sank beneath hurricane waters, and before babies and husbands and careers monopolized our days. It would never again be like it had once been.
Until it was. Until it was ... better.
In the late summer of 2015, I embarked on a national book tour with my latest book, Landfall, a work of contemporary historical fiction set Alabama and Louisiana in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. I took my 10-year-old daughter and 11-year-old son with me on a trek that started at the eastern seaboard and wended its way toward Texas, hoping to introduce them to the South I always loved but have long-since left; the South I adore for its hospitality and graciousness and warmth of spirit. I wanted them to meet the ghost of the girl I had once been.
Instead, they met my family.
In state after state, in bookstore after bookstore, my sisters turned out to welcome me home. Not just my immediate sisters, mind you: meaning not just Delta Omicrons, though they turned out in droves, showing up with friends and family at every single stop on my 20-city national tour. (Heck: one fellow sister who couldn't make it sent her mother in her stead; another sent her husband and his work colleagues; yet another crossed three state lines to hug me in person.) But sisters I never knew I had showed up too, spurred by a handwritten note I'd sent to Theta alumnae groups in cities throughout the South - cities where I didn't know a soul and had nightmares about taking the stage before a roomful of empty chairs. Alumnae groups in Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas - as well as parts of Alabama I'd never called home - turned out to fill those seats, cheer me on, and make sure that at not one single place in all of my travels did I ever feel either lonely or unsupported.
It was a gift of sisterhood unlike anything I had ever witnessed, and the truest demonstration of the motto "Theta for a lifetime" that one could conceive.
I have always thought that joining Kappa Alpha Theta Fraternity was one of the smartest choices I made in college. You all have now convinced me that it is one of the smartest choices I have made in my life. Thank you, everyone. Your love makes my heart swell anew, a quarter-century later.
Our cover Theta, Tracey Long Carisch, Beta/Indiana, and her family traveled in 25 countries in 15 months on an adventure they dubbed "100 Ways to Change the World." During the two to six weeks they spent in each location, they became part of the community by participating in service efforts, from habitat restoration in New Zealand to assisting with preschool classes in Fiji.
The subject of our In Her Own Words feature—Louise Lev Geil, Beta Iota/Colorado—is also an enthusiastic traveler. In addition to skiing black-diamond runs, she has been trekking in Nepal. Twice.
Finally, our "How To" expert, Lisa Smith, Delta Kappa/LSU, offers tips on taking great photographs, whether you're using a DSLR to shoot Mount Everest or a smartphone to shoot the family vacation.
If you're receiving the print version of the magazine, it should have already arrived in your mailbox. If you're not, an explanation of our distribution system can be found on our website. That's where you can also access the online version of all issues, dating back to 2006.
Whether you're reading the online or print version, we hope you enjoy the current issue of our magazine!
I posted in the group, and within hours had made Saturday night dinner plans with two collegians from Zeta Eta/Wofford who were studying abroad for the semester: Hannah Flack and Jessica McClain. I was traveling alone 3,000 miles with no preparation and felt a little bit crazy, but I took comfort in knowing I already had plans with sisters.
In the true spirit of Ecuador, where nothing ever goes as planned, I had some things change, and it was on my bucket list to go to a true futbol (soccer) game in South America, so I messaged Hannah asking if we could swap dinner for a local arena soccer game. She and Jessica met me, and we cheered on the Quito home team while swapping travel stories and favorite Theta memories. After a few days of traveling solo and making friends with foreigners in hostels, it was a breath of fresh of air to talk to sisters.
Join the Kappa Alpha Theta Global Alumnae Facebook group today! Already a member? Tell us what successes you'd had - sister meetups, tips, or stories to share!
Our first trips are now scheduled to the following destinations!
- Our cruise to Alaska runs from July 18-26, 2015, and is on the five-star small ship m.s. L'Austral. This smaller ship provides access into remote scenic bays and inlets that are inaccessible to larger vessels.
- Normandy, France is a land trip available Oct. 7-15, 2015. This trip provides travelers with an exclusive walk through history by visiting several different beaches, tasting Normandy's famous Calvados brandy, and touring the majestic Mont Saint-Michel.
If cruising the Alaskan seas or walking the beaches of Normandy sounds exciting to you, be sure to sign up now! The earlier you sign up, the better the price! Early booking for the Alaska cruise ends Jan. 20, 2015.
In order to learn more about our upcoming trips, visit the Theta Traveler page. Also, be sure to visit the Theta Traveler website to register, view more information about each trip, suggest a trip, find travel guides and tips, and much more.
Spouses, other family members, and friends are all more than welcome to join you. (Some trips many not be suitable for younger children, so be sure to check with the trip representative.) For more information, contact Kristi Tucker at 800-526-1870 ext. 116 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Part of my job working in higher education involves advising and mentoring undergraduate students. Juniors and seniors want to talk about how I began to create a fulfilling, interesting, and challenging career path. They are so overwhelmed with the feeling that they have to decide right now what they are going to do for the rest of their lives, and they want advice from as many trusted individuals as are willing to share.
When I am asked about how I started my career, I without hesitation proudly share that I was blessed with the opportunity to travel all over the U.S. and Canada as an educational leadership consultant for Kappa Alpha Theta. Not everyone understands what that means, but they always ask to hear more about my experience.
Being an ELC during the 2005-2006 school year was one of the most difficult and rewarding jobs I have ever had, and likely will ever have. Not many people have the chance to work for an organization that they actually care about, but even fewer have the chance to do it while meeting intelligent, caring, and inspiring people from all over North America.
So, here's what I want to share with you:
- Being an ELC means being an advocate and educator, challenging young women to be the best versions of themselves and supporting them in campus environments that send mixed messages about what it means to be successful. ELCs have an incredible opportunity to be role models, teachers, friends, confidants, and mentors to our college members. In the process, ELCs are enhancing their own critical thinking, empathic listening, and strategic planning skills. There is a higher level of maturity, professionalism, self-efficacy, and grace that ELCs develop during their time working for the Fraternity.
- Being an ELC means doing good, engaging, challenging work.Don't be fooled by people who question whether or not traveling for your "sorority" is a "real job." Think those other jobs graduating seniors apply for are tough? Try winning over a group of 100 of your peers the first day you meet them, and then helping them change the culture of their organization by the time you leave on day five. Try being responsible for starting an organization from scratch and mentoring others to take it over in six months to a year. Being an ELC means making organization-wide decisions, building educational curriculum, leading workshops for audiences of all sizes, writing and implementing strategic plans, motivating teams, bringing together diverse people and perspectives, working with top-level administrators, and more—all in your FIRST year out of school. Most people have to wait 10 years and three promotions before being trusted to do that. But if you are ready for that now, Theta will give you that opportunity as an ELC.
- Being an ELC means developing a network of rich friendships and professional connections.Whether it's facilitating a leadership workshop for fraternity and sorority members in Boston, attending an international conference of higher education professionals in Dallas, or meeting up with a group of traveling consultants from other organizations in Los Angeles, ELCs get the chance to develop relationships with a wide variety of interesting and engaging people. One of the best types of relationships they develop is the connections with their fellow ELCs. I am certain you have read in other ELC blogs about the friendships they develop with their fellow travelers, and I echo their sentiments. My fellow ELCs have seen me through some of worst and best times of my life. They also have resumes and life histories full of accomplishments and interesting stories.
- I would not be the woman I am today with out my experience as an ELC. I mean that. I am forever indebted to the people and places planted into my life that year. I continue to grow into a better version of myself because of the learning and love they provided back then that will stay with me always.
For someone smart, talented, and eager like you, the "normal jobs" will always be there. If you are good enough to get into graduate school now, you will be an even better candidate in a year or two. Right now, you have the chance to do something different. Something that will push you, mold you, and shape you in ways you cannot imagine. Something that will most certainly be a game-changer. Apply now for the Kappa Alpha Theta ELC program, and begin what could be the journey of a lifetime.
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