“Participating in ACE in Peru this summer is important to me because I believe we will make a difference in the issues of water conservation and sustainability facing our partner community.”
Brittany Kampfer’s past experience with service includes working at the Brain Tumor Center, in soup kitchens, and with an Irvine Summer League team, the Northwood Knights.
Brittany is a senior on the Duke Swim and Dive team from Orange, CA. Outside the team, she is a part of the CAPE program for female student-athletes pursuing a career in medicine. Although she is pre-med, majoring in Biology with a concentration in Anatomy and Physiology, she has many interests outside her concentration and within the Biology department such as environmental conservation. While in Peru, most of her time was spent on environmental sustainability projects in Valle Chosica of rural Cusco. Ethical volunteering abroad opened the door of another opportunity that she previously did not know about. She can now see herself in a Latin American setting and working in the healthcare field. The ACE program for Brittany brought change in both her professional and personal goals, which is something she hopes to inspire in others who endeavor to take part of the ACE program as well.
Want to hear more about Brittany’s ACE experience? Contact Brittany.
Dear Future #ACEathletes,
- Best advice for learning about ACE: I checked which sites had projects that seemed like something I would be interested in working on with the community. Checking the dates of the program after that helped narrow down my list while applying. I have a strong background in Spanish and being able to easily adapt to a fluctuating schedule, which are important qualifications to have for the Peru site.
- Best advice for getting started at your program: Our first few days were spent adapting to the altitude, exploring the city, and having meetings with the GVI team. The GVI team was super helpful regarding food/restaurants that we could and could not eat at, how to handle emergency situations if they arise, and discussing the cultural and historical significance of Cusco. Walking everywhere, dining together, and sitting down having after-dinner chats (without wifi) with both the GVI volunteers and the ACE team allowed us to get to know each other better before we began working on the projects for the coming weeks. I measured my own progress by how excited I was to work with everyone by the end of the first week and how comfortable I felt in their presence.
- Tips for getting to know your community: Introducing myself in Quechua and asking questions about themselves, the area, and the project in Spanish helped me build relationships with the community members of Valle Chosica. The community members were patient with me if I could not understand them and doing hand motions to describe what I was talking about always helped (and gave them a good laugh). I learned to navigate my community through learning the Spanish terms about the site and the names of the people at the community. If I did not know the answer to something, I would usually turn to a community member for the question. After integrating into the Valle Chosica community, I have been listening to podcasts regarding the social issues in Peru, something I did not do before.
- Tips for training: To stay in shape, the other ACE members and I would walk, go to the gym, run on the track by a school. I would go workout every other day because we would do manual labor at the community, which is tiring itself. That way, I would still get a workout in without compromising the work I did at community. It was inspiring training with the other student-athletes. We would show off our sports to one another, which made me want to drop everything and join them.
- Tips for bringing ACE back to your team: Our Swim and Dive team has a welcome back BBQ at my coach’s house where the other Swim and Dive members share their ACE experiences with the whole team and coaches and answer any questions regarding ACE. ACE has made me more active within my team, but has not changed much about how I approach my sport. I always worked on service projects with the team, but now I am leading the team in our service projects.
- Reasons for staying involved in ACE: I decided to stay involved in ACE because it made such a big impact on my life and I want to spread the word about how utterly unique the program is. The program has continued to mean something to me because the qualities I learned from ACE will stay with me the rest of my life and I will be forever grateful for the experience.