Letters for You from GLA International Director Jade
June 30 – July 9, 2015
Hey my fellow leader-friends!
I miss you all very dearly! You guys were my saving grace, the reason I made it through the summer, the standard to which I held every other group! I know you’re all having a fabulous year at school, making decisions that impact your communities in a magnificently positive way!
I loved doing the “Cool as a Cucumber” activity with you guys because you really used the information to be awesome Leaders-of-the-Day! And I’m sure everyone remembers our one “Driver,” Hiatt – you really stepped into your role buddy! I think all of you will grow to be well-rounded leaders because no matter what your strongest qualities are, “Architects and Analysts,” “Spontaneous Motivators,” or “Relationship Masters,” you all knew what you needed to work on personally. That’s the first step of becoming the best leader you can be. You also relied on and trusted each other to help out where needed. You were the definition of teamwork!
Speaking of teamwork, of course we can’t forget all the sports we played! I’m amazed at how talented you all are, especially playing soccer against the Division 1 team in Coco…we won for sure! We also had the best designated cheerleader, Scott! And kudos to super tough Zoe who played so passionately against the girls’ soccer team in Sardinal that we had to take her to the emergency room to get stitches after she played! And, as if that wasn’t enough, you even played sports during Tuanis Time: inventing pool games like the one where someone throws the football up in the air into a group of people and the one who catches it gets to throw the next one. Nicole and Luca kicked butt if I recall correctly.
I think my favorite thing about spending those 10 short days with all of you is the fact that you were all genuinely and fully engaged in everything we did. You got excited about everything! “We’re making tortillas?! Woohoo! Can I grind the corn? Can I make another one?” “Show us some more dance moves!” “When can we go play soccer on the beach? Who wants to play?” I hope you all continue to put that same passion into everything that you do! I challenge you to start a new program in your community to raise cultural awareness and spark the fire of someone else’s passion! You certainly resparked my passion this summer! And always surround yourselves with people who support your passion and who help you become an even better you!
Lastly, I will never ever forget the wonderfully thoughtful birthday poster you made me on the day that you left. That made it even harder to say goodbye at the airport, tears flowing from everyone’s eyes! I truly hope to see you all again some day or at least hear about the amazing things you’re doing in the world! Until next time my friends…
Your International Director, Jade
P.S. I think I would have been friends with every single one of you if I were in high school right now! Haha Here are some of my favorite memories with you!
• Learning how to do the whip and the nae nae by the side of the pool. Emma knew the entire song and dance by heart! Yeah girl!
• Max always having some tunes blaring, resident DJ! Even though we had to skip a few songs here and there 😉
• The creative ukulele songs that were sometimes played waaaay past lights out…Nina…haha
• Figuring out that there was bioluminescence in the ocean during the bonfire! So pretty! Did anyone catch it in their hands?
• Watching you all tubing (and shivering) down the rapids in the freezing water!
• Oh…and Max wiping out on the biggest rapid and gripping onto that yellow rope for dear life…arms were burning after that weren’t they, Max?!
• Having Mentor Groups at the beach, sharing some powerful stories and emotions
• #GLApablo #squademala #myGLA #everythingwasafavoritememory
July 24 – August 2, 2015
Hi my wonderful leader-friends!
Can we all go back to Coco together?! I had a lot of fun with all of you and would love to relive that jam-packed experience! From the moment I saw “big Ian” and thought he was here for the wrong program, to the moment we dropped you all off at the airport, I learned so much with you!
I loved watching you all get so pumped to play sports since sports are such a big passion in my life. Your soccer skills amazed me, and I wish I had just a little bit of your talent! And we can’t forget our volleyball and basketball players. Ian and Celia rocked it on the volleyball court while Jack, Colin, and Adam showed us their basketball hustle, even though they risked slipping the minute they stepped onto the court. (Don’t tell anyone I fell as soon as I subbed in!) Not everyone has the blessing of being such great athletes, so I hope you can find a way to incorporate those wonderful skills into a way to help your community. Start a youth league for underprivileged kids, help out at the local YMCA, convince someone to play a sport this season who could benefit from a little structure and teammate camaraderie.
Now, let’s be honest, you were some of my favorite students all summer and yet the most challenging. In the end, this makes your session one of the most rewarding. I learned how to balance following plans with being spontaneous, using a little sarcasm with being compassionately serious, and being competitive with including everyone no matter their skill level. My hope for you is that you learned something about yourselves this summer too. If you haven’t thought about it, take a second to reminisce. Then, I invite you to make a change, large or small, to become a better you!
Pura vida amigos!
Your International Director, Jade
P.S. I just want you to know, I still have our last group picture, on the steps by the pool, on my phone and remember each one of you by name! Here are just a few of my favorite memories! I hope you enjoy them as much as I do!
• Sam’s dance moves, Luke’s splits and handstands, and the sweet choreography at Obandito!
• The budding summer loves…you know who you are 😉
• Cesar falling asleep in any number of uncomfortable positions on the bus.
• The girls kicking butt against the local soccer team in Sardinal! Woohoo!!!
• The guys hanging in there for the pickup basketball game in Sardinal haha. I think Jack gets MVP for that game!
• Staying up late to play soccer in Coco, after a slow start and no lights on the field!
• Trying to figure out what elegant animal Xenia looks like when she runs; we came up with a few, but I think it was a cross between a gazelle and an ostrich…
• Playing “What are the odds?” for the first time and losing ‘cause I got nervous…and then having to sit in the back of the van the whole way to Guachipelin!!!
• My yellow sunglasses acquired from Ryan
• Jack dressing up like the ultimate tourist with his loafers, Hawaiian shirt, bucket hat, fanny pack, iPhone, and bug spray in hand!