Allison Bova - Class of 2016
The hardest parts would definitely be making new friendships, especially the first couple of days. The first couple of days were a little awkward because we were all living together but didn't know each other, but that didn't last long at all. Another hard part was being sea sick. I was probably on our boat maybe ten minutes the first night before I hurled over the side of the boat, twice. This made things more awkward; what a great first impression right? I felt horrible the whole first night and just wanted to go home. That wasn't the last time I got sick either, the next day when we sailed I did the same thing. The first few days I laid around and didn't do much, but there were two other girls who didn't feel good either. Us three slept a lot the first couple days. Eventually I stopped feeling ill, even when we sailed. By the middle of the trip I had no idea how I was even sick before. The last hardest part was being away from friends and family. I missed them so much I would look at pictures and videos on my phone. Seeing them when I arrived at the airport was a wonderful feeling. Then, after a few days, I just wanted to go back.
Was it worth it? Would you do it all again?
OF COURSE!! It was more than worth it, it was so rewarding. I would do it ALL over again, even the being sick part.
What did you learn? About marine biology? The Caribbean? Yourself? Creating a proposal and the logistics of planning a trip? Etc
There is a lot I learned from this whole experience. Planning and creating a proposal were really nerve racking and a lot of work. I changed the idea of my trip three times! Which made me even more nervous. I contacted so many people from Broadreach to ask them questions. But now I know how much work goes into planning a trip, and that I can do it. Presenting my trip was hard because I don't really enjoy speaking in front of people, but it definitely made me more confident now. I also learned a lot about myself. I always thought I was awkward. Going on this trip alone and making new friends scared me, but now I am more than confident I can do things on my own. The most I learned was about marine biology. We had multiple lessons and quizzes. I enjoyed listening and taking the quizzes because it interested me. I leaned a lot more than just how to scuba dive and sail. I learned sailing terminology and different knots. I learned how to identify different fishes and coral. As well as a lot of how fish and coral live, eat, reproduce, etc. Experiencing the culture taught me a lot as well. I learned a lot about the islands and their history. For example, Saba was not suppose to be inhabited because of how hilly and dangerous it was. A man who wanted to live there went to college, came back and built 'the road that couldn't be built'. The road is just wide enough for two cars to drive. The drivers have to honk around every turn to let others know they are coming. Saba also has the best medical school in the Western Caribbean.
Did this experience make you want to do more marine biology or not? Did it inspire you to want to do more/something else?
This experience did make me want to learn more about marine biology, but I also discovered that I might want to pursue zoology more than marine biology. Although I enjoyed learning about marine biology a lot and want to further my knowledge on it, I found zoology to be more interesting to me.
First Recipient of the Patched Overalls Scholarship
Ste. Genevieve High School in Ste. Genevieve, MO
How was it?
It was eye opening and life changing! Now that it is all finished, I want to go on another adventure and explore and experience more of our world and different cultures. I've already started a list of places and things I want to do!
There are so many favorite parts of my experience. The first would definitely have to be when I discovered I was rewarded The Patched Overalls Experience. It wasn't just a phone call or email, it was a personal house visit with family. It was such a great, happy, exciting, and memorable moment in this whole experience! The next favorite moment of my experience was flying by myself, I know it's not much, but I was very nervous; I actually enjoyed learning what it felt like to be an actual traveler. I also met so many people at the airport who were also going on a broadreach trip, which was not as awkward as I had thought it would be. It was so much fun to make so many new friends in so little time. Another favorite part would be swimming for the first time. The water was so beautiful and clear, so the first morning when we all jumped in for our swim test was a wonderful feeling. Going underwater for the first time with my scuba gear on was another favorite part, as well as every time we went for a dive (especially the night dive). I loved sitting/laying on the front of the boat when sailing; so relaxing. Having dance parties on the boat is another of my favorite moments. I had fun every moment we were visiting an island; it was amazing to see how they lived and experiencing their culture. My last favorite moments were the last night when we all watched a slide show of our amazing 12 days spent together, as well as when I arrived at the airport and seeing my friends and family!
Was it what you expected?
It wasn't everything I expected. It was definitely not just scuba diving and sailing. We cooked and cleaned every day. We also had to load and unload scuba tanks onto a dingy so someone could take them to be filled after every dive (which was a lot). Some nights after dinner, when everyone was tired, we would go over knowledge reviews we answered earlier in the day and then take a quiz. The days were always busy and when we weren't busy, we slept. All these things contributed to the experience of the trip and were never horrible, everything we did was fun and enjoyable.
Was your planning from the proposal close to the actual reality of it all?
It was pretty close to my proposal. The itinerary and what I would gain from this trip. The only thing different was I did not put in the proposal all the "accessories" I would need for this trip. I had to rent scuba gear, goggles, flippers, etc. I also had to buy other things such as a certain type of soap, jacket, headlamp, water bottle, and duffle bag. I had to also buy a sleeping bag and multiple swim suits, as well as a lot of sunscreen. Which all effected the cost of my trip. Other than all the extra little things I did not plan in my proposal for buying, everything else was pretty much than same.
Would you recommend Patched Overalls for future students? Why?
I will and am begging future students to apply for the Patched Overalls Experience. It is a wonderful and life changing opportunity. Not many people at our age have this, or get to travel. This gives students the chance to really achieve goals and have their dream trip-experience a reality no matter who you are or where you're from. Not only does Tyson help, but so does the community! The cost for my trip exceeded the amount of the scholarship, but with the help of the community, friends, family, and saving money myself the cost was not a big deal! The Patched Overalls Experience is one of the best decisions you could make during your high school career. You could go on a dream trip just for planning it! Why wouldn't you apply??
Any advice for students interested in Patched Overalls? Marine Biology? Broadreach? Etc
Advice for anyone interested in applying for the Patched Overalls Experience is be passionate and enthusiastic, which shouldn't be hard. If you are scared about all the planning it takes, it's really not hard at all! Once you start planning you will be so interested and enthralled with the idea of going on your trip that you will want to ask more questions and plan more! If you are scared to present your trip in front of a committee, it's totally normal! So was I. I talked really fast and I'm pretty sure I didn't sound too excited because I was nervous. Practice your speech A LOT. I wrote mine down on notecards and read it over and over again. The night before presenting I stayed up till 2 in the morning reading and practicing so I would have it memorized. Once I memorized my speech, I practiced it all day at school and didn't focus on anything else. Then once actually presenting in front of the committee, I said things I didn't include on my notecards cause I felt more comfortable talking about my trip. If you still don't think you will be able to talk in front of the committee, you could include voice talking on your visual part of the presentation. But everyone on the committee was super nice and all smiled while I presented. Any other parts about the Patched Overalls Experience you would want advice on I would be more than happy to share, and I'm sure all the other girls who applied and presented would be happy to help as well!
Any suggestions for us at Patched Overalls to better serve the students?
I really don't have any ideas how you could make this experience any better! It was AMAZING!
Are you happy with your choice of program considering the work you had to do? Should you have gone bigger or smaller?
I am very happy with my choice, Broadreach is a wonderful and safe company. I love my choice because I knew I wanted to do something big like go out of the country, but not by myself. I do not have enough words to describe how amazing Broadreach is, I would definitely recommend them to everyone. I love and actually plan on going another trip with them in college. And who knows, maybe even work for them!
The Patched Overalls Experience
From the Parents of Allison Bova:
Dave and Julie
"The process for us:
Allison did the biggest part of the work for the presentation. We helped her with figuring out the airline ticket info. She contacted people and did the research on her own, as well as creating the presentation. This part was easy for us---it was totally her hard work. The first program she chose was working in Africa with Lions. We agreed to it, knowing that this experience meant a parent would have to go with her. This wouldn’t have been our first choice for her, but we understand that this wasn’t about our interests, but hers. So we agreed to it. She made the choice on her own to change the program. She was worried about the cost of it (The airline tickets alone would have been around $4000). When she talked to us about Broadreach, we agreed to it as well.
The hard part---letting go. We had to understand this was her dream—no matter where it would take her. We had to support her.
The application and presentation part was easy for us. She did ALL the work.
After she won, it was our turn to do our homework. We contacted Broadreach, both by phone and email, and asked a ton of questions. We set down with Allison and created a budget and a timeline. We got the basic idea of the money she would need and when. We set up a payment plan with Broadreach. We made a list of what we expected that she would need--ex.: Passport, supplies, diving lessons, GoPro, fundraisers, savings, and any necessary immunizations for the Caribbean area that she would need.
We had a ballpark figure of the amount of money she would need. She would start saving money from her paycheck and ask for money for her Birthday and Christmas. She would write letters to local businesses asking for Donations, and she created a GoFundMe account. We did a Tupperware Fundraiser to also help make money. We had talked about another fundraiser—a bake sale—but after all her and Lexi’s school fundraisers as well—we could not find a weekend that work for us to make it happen. So, we chose not to mess with it.
Lucky for us—Broadreach had a supply list, and made it easy for us. After the first of the year—we started shopping for the supplies she would need. We would buy a few things at a time. This was Alli’s favorite part—shopping!!! With neither one of us having ever been to the Caribbean before—or living off of a Catamaran—we followed their list closely. We now know that she didn’t need everything on the list—but we didn’t want to take any chances.
We were informed by Broadreach that she did not need diving lessons before hand—that was part of the experience— they would teach her to Dive. They also had scuba gear we could rent. Broadreach made the process easier for us. They had everything on paper for us, and even helped book the airline for us.
We were also informed how to contact Broadreach in case of an emergency. We were informed ahead of time that they would take the SIM card out of her cell phone. She would be able to call occasionally, and to consider getting an international calling plan. They would have Satellite phones aboard the boats. There was a trip update that you could sign up for and receive email notifications about their trip. We received a trip roster of the names of the other Students that she would be on the boat with—an itinerary of how they would spend their days—and a list of the menu for the food they would be preparing on the boat. This also made it easier for us—kept us in the “know” of what she was doing each day.
Hard to deal with parts---letting her go. Sending our teenage daughter off on a trip to the Caribbean all by herself. Knowing that she had to maneuver herself through the airport on her own. Knowing that our daughter who is very quiet and reserved was going to have to come out of her shell and deal with things on her own—that she would have no one to depend on but herself on this trip. Not being able to communicate with her on a daily basis—having to trust strangers to take care of her.
We received a phone call from her the first night-she arrived in St. Martin on a Wednesday—letting us know that she had arrived safely. She didn’t know when she would be able to call home again. We did not hear anything from her or Broadreach until Saturday. HARD!!! VERY HARD!!! We never let our cell phones out of our sight for fear of missing a call. When we finally got the email saying there was a trip update from Broadreach, we let out a big sigh of relief. Sunday night we got to hear her voice when she called home. Sweetest sound ever!!! She sounded good-happy, and it made us feel so much better. She had no idea when she would call again. She informed us that the updates would be sent from her boat, to another boat, then to their headquarters in order to be posted-so that’s why they were so sporadic.
Monday she was able to text us while she was on an island and had Wi-Fi. That made our day as well. But that was the last time we heard from her personally until she was getting back on a plane in St. Martin to head home Sunday.
Allison is shy, reserved, and non-confrontational. She doesn’t like attention on her. For her to work so hard to win this Scholarship, did not surprise us. The application and presentation was the easiest part for her—she has always been good at doing the bookwork part. But—getting up in front of people at the Dan Clark Honor’s to speak, and speaking in front of the upcoming Junior class about her experience—does surprise us ( and herself as well). If she is at a restaurant, and needs something, she will not ask for it.
For Allison, writing letters to Businesses to request donations, and creating the GoFundMe account, was probably harder than creating the presentation itself. It was something new for her, and she had to learn to talk about herself and her trip. Lucky for her and us, we live in an amazing community!! So, many people donated to help her. Even the other students who applied for the Scholarship showed their support to her. Between the donations, and well wishes, the support she received was overwhelming.
When the time got closer for her trip—she was getting extremely nervous. Tyson came to the house a few days before she was to leave. He talked about the different trips he had been on, showed her stuff with the GoPro, and even laughed about some of the problems he would encounter on trips. He gave her advice on dealing with plane delays, having to hang out in airports, and getting through customs. He reminded her that she was going on an adventure—and while not everything will go perfectly—it is all part of the adventure. His words of wisdom and advice made her, and us, feel at ease about her leaving. He got her into the mind frame that it was all on how you looked at things. This was a key moment for preparing her for the trip. She was then able to let go of the worry of what bad could happen, and focus on the fun that would happen.
When she had her lay-over in North Carolina on her way to St. Martin—she was texting us from the airport. She had already seen other students in the Broadreach shirts ( each student was to wear the shirt to St. Martin, to make it easy to be recognized by other Students and staff of Broadreach). Next thing we know-she has already learned a name of one of the other students. And eventually, was sitting in the airport with many other Broadreach students, talking to each other. THIS WAS MAJOR!!! We were in awe that she left her comfort zone.
Once she was home—we learned that she had discovered that she could go through the airports and find her way on her own, she dealt with being sick for a couple of days till she got her “sea legs”, to overcome her being homesick, that she could find the patience to tolerate other students who got on her nerves, she was able to make new friends, learned to ask questions and speak up for herself, found it was ok to be the center of attention, and learned some patience and coping techniques while her flight home was delayed for 3 hours. More importantly—she learned and showed us that she could do it. She was able to break out of her shell. She was responsible.
We are very proud of her. She has always talked about doing adventures. But with the help of Patched Overalls—she realized that she could actually make it happen. She put her mind to it—did the work—spent the time with us on figuring out all the steps it took to make it all come together—faced the fears she had—and had the time of her life. She now knows that anything is possible, if you want it-work for it.
This experience for us, as parents, was exciting. We were so proud to see her work hard to achieve her goal. While she was only gone for 12 days-it was the longest 12 days of our lives. Would we do it again—absolutely!!!! What she gained from this experience is way more than learning Marine Biology. She learned who she is and what she is capable of. She learned that dreams can come true. She learned life lessons that can’t be taught in a text book.
The communication that Allison had and we had with you both was amazing. I know Allison was never left “hanging” when she had a question, and we were always able to get in touch with either one of you. The payment towards the program was quick and prompt.
We, as parents, felt as though there were times we weren’t communicating with you very well. But—there was a lull in time where it was just a matter of saving money and not much else going on. So we apologize if we didn’t communicate enough.
The patience you had while we figured out the exact dates for the trip was great. We had to do a lot of calendar research to figure out the best time for her to go, and it took us some time. Most of the time, the student who will apply for this, will usually be one who is involved in other activities—so it will take some time to get it all to work out.
Your assistance with helping us spread the word about her fundraising efforts was great!! You not only gave her the $2500, you also gave her additional connections to additional funds. Greatly, Greatly appreciated!!
This experience is scary for parents. Sending your child away is scary. But—it is an experience that will last a life time. We would do it all over again, just so Allison could see that hard work really does pay off, and dreams can come true. What you are doing is amazing. This gives these kids the opportunity to see that just because you are from a small town, that doesn’t mean that you have to think small, or that you are limited. This gives them hope, and a way for them to show themselves that they can do it-they can make it happen. Your enthusiasm is contagious. Even if Allison wouldn’t have won, she knew from your stories, that she wasn’t limited to just dreaming about things.
I have spoken with a Mom of one of the other students who applied, and she has said that her daughter is still saving her money to work towards her goal. Even though she didn’t win, she is still dreaming. Thank you for all your hard work, inspiration, continuing support, and most importantly, for giving them a reason to Dream Big!!!"