Abby Voigt heads to Australia

Linda Saholt

News Review Correspondent

Abby Voigt heads to AustraliaA local teen has been invited by the People to People program to go to Australia for three weeks this summer, and she needs help to raise the $8,000 needed for the trip. Abigail Voigt, 13, is the daughter of Nancy and Brian Voigt of Ridge-crest.

She will stay with a host family, help on a sheep farm, do community service, see the Sydney Opera House and visit various museums on the western coast of Australia. What she’s looking forward to the most is swimming on the Great Barrier Reef.

“I’ll be learning about their culture,” she said. “I can’t wait.”

The departure date is June 17, with return on July 6. She will be traveling with a group of 26 middle-school students and two teachers and will be leaving with them from San Bernardino.

This is not the first time Abby has been nominated to go on a major trip. “When I was in the fourth grade, the principal nominated me to go with them, on a trip to Washington, D.C., but my parents felt I wasn’t old enough yet.

“Then I was invited to go to Greece and Italy as a student ambassador by Lisa Decker, principal at Gateway.”

“This time, we decided it was the right year,” said Nancy.

So Abby has been doing her own fundraising. She has made and sold candle holders at crafts fairs, sold bakesale items and collected recycling. She still needs to raise $7,700.

A community dinner at the Knights of Columbus Hall, 725 W. Ridgecrest Blvd., on Saturday, April 6, is designed to help, with proceeds going to help Abby on her way.

Doors will open at 6 p.m., and dinner will be at 7 p.m.

Painter Ray Smith will do a demonstration, and there will be pianists and other performers, a silent auction and raffle prizes, a deejay and dance after dinner.

Tickets are $30 per person. A discounted table of eight can be purchased for $225. Tickets are available online through Showcials at

.aspx?party=AVMLQOVR. The party code is AVMLQOVR.

You can also buy tickets directly through Abby at voigt@cgmail or 760-608-1115.

Or you can donate directly to People to People by calling 800- 669-7882. Let the operator know you are making a credit card donation to the account of Abigail Voigt, ID# 10179517, for the Australia Junior High Trip from the San Bernardino, Calif., group.

Abby has also approached other service organizations for help with funding, including the Optimist Club and the Ridgecrest Exchange Club.

She will meet with Kiwanis soon, and has sent letters to the Lions and Rotary clubs.

For the recycling, if you have aluminum cans and plastic bottles and would like to donate them, she can pick them up from your home or office. Call 760-608-1115.

“The People to People program was started by President Eisenhower in the 1950s,” Abby said. “He wanted to see young adults learn about other cultures for peace building.”

Abby will be the only person from the Ridgecrest area going on this trip.

Story First Published: 2013-03-13