REFLECTIONS - NICOLE HILL

Today was a challenging, yet beautiful day. I have tried so hard to make sure I am meeting the youths’ expectations and needs. I have wanted to do everything possible to make sure this is a trip of a lifetime for them and that they go home feeling like they had an experience they will never forget. Today I was reminded the best way for me to do that is to make sure I, myself am having that same experience. I was reminded that as the teens watch me grow, learn, and become better it opens doors for them to do the same.

Today was a day of reflection and observations for me… These teens have this! They are so talented and courageous. I watch as Summer just captures each child in her love and joy. She can engage each one like I have never seen. There isn’t a child she hasn’t connected with and I don’t know if I am going to be able to get her to return home. 

James… he has impressed me. He has probably been the one that has helped me understand the most that the teens need me to not stress about them having a good experience. It will happen all on its own. He helped remind me to make sure I too have an experience of a lifetime. You see these teens aren’t here just changes lives for the kids they are working with each day. These teens are changing the lives of the teens around them and also their leaders. Watching them is such an inspiration.

Rachel has so much life! That girl brings our group to a whole new level! She makes things fun and she isn’t afraid to step out of her comfort zone. Rachel carries a light with her that draws people in and makes them want to be around her. The smiles that come across the kids’ faces when she is playing with them would melt your heart. The kids become worry free and are allowed to be young. Its amazing to watch!

Then there is Parker. I have to tell you, he is a bit of a class clown and so I was a little worried how serious he would take this and how prepared he would be. Man, can I tell you how much he has just blown me out of the water! If he can’t decide what he wants to do when he is older he should totally consider being a teacher. Parker has a way with people. He reads people well and adjusts to their needs. We have one little boy, Sujal, that is extremely intelligent and gets bored while he wants for the other kids to learn the skills or finish the tasks we have at hand. Parker has found ways to keep Sujal engaged and participating but without taking away from the other children. He seriously has some talent and would be incredible in a teaching role.

Last is Taylor. I have watched Taylor grow so much. She has told me how teaching these kids has been challenging. To be honest, she has one of the hardest subjects to teach, English. Taylor has handled it well. She has been open to feedback and willing to try new things to improve the lessons and what is achieved. Taylor has been amazing at capturing the moments for all of us as well. She has an eye with a camera and our whole team has been so grateful to have her. Each of our team members has put so much faith in Taylor when it comes to pictures and video of what we do each day and Taylor has not let us down.

I can’t say how fortunate I am to have each of these teens apart of the red team. I have been so blessed by them and all they have to offer. They are already such amazing leaders and it makes me so eager to see what each one of them accomplishes throughout their lives. Go Red Team! You guys rock! Thanks for helping make me a better person just by being around every single one of you.