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I am now sitting down at my kitchen table after the long trek back from Shangri-La. My time spent with the ACE program and my wonderful team gave me memories that will last me a lifetime. And it was because of this ACE in China team that I decided to write my final blog post on my team and how our collaboration and teamwork made the experience even more beautiful for us and, I believe, more meaningful and fun for the kids. We all come from sports teams where collaboration is necessary at some level, but in our little CERS facility it was indispensable. The camp ran smoothly — mostly 🙂 — I believe because we all shared a common trait: willingness to learn about each other.

My time spent with the ACE program and my wonderful team gave me memories that will last me a lifetime.

Kaitlyn (Special K)’s leadership in our group kept the morning sessions flowing easily and smoothly. Brandon was our “game master” with some of the most creative and innovative ideas for activities that I have ever seen. Kat’s (Cat’s) ability to connect with the kids and make them feel comfortable and excited brought each child into the games we were playing. Shannon was the “teacher voice” of the younger group and her level of organization kept the plan of each day flowing logically. Max was one of the favorites of the little ones and had an inexhaustible sense of humor. Erika took on some of the tougher kids with grace and sweetness and handled some of the hiccups of the camp in stride. Lynee (Nee) also took on the challenging role of handling discipline and her “get it done” attitude commanded a tremendous amount of respect. Amanda (Hannah) was beautiful to watch with the little little ones. She patiently guided them through activities throughout the day and made sure there was no one left behind in games or learning. Hailee (Hoffie) was the energizer bunny who also worked with the babies. Her crazy hair and fun personality made it easy for the kids to feel at ease and laughing around her. And our amazing program leaders Kalli and Sam lead us all through the challenges and excitement of the camp without ever losing their cool or being frustrated.

I could have gone on for paragraphs about what my teammates and the leaders brought to the camp, for me and for the kiddos we were working with. I learned so much about leadership, patience, communication, discipline, kindness, and joy from the group I was allowed to go with. It reminded me of our pre-departure meetings and some advice I received before going: invest, spend time, and learn about your team. I reaped the benefits of executing this advice and would pass it on in a heartbeat to future ACE participants.

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