Jarrod FordBy Jarrod Ford, 2015 Project Director – Madriz, Nicaragua

Eleven to one. That is the ratio of awe-inspiring, intelligent, passionate young women in this group… to me. As the only male here, I feel an unfamiliar burden of solitude as I prepare for an experience that will continue to guide and nurture my development as a leader. Being a Project Director is an honor that serves as the focal point of all the time and effort young women and men devote to this organization. The Project Director will be held responsible for realizing the vision of nurturing catalysts that will be utilized in dynamic and transformative processes around the world for years to come. It can be difficult to describe the incredible synergy of experience and knowledge that has gathered in this beloved space, but I will try.

We have learned much and more in the short time we have been gathered here. We are aligning our project goals to attune to and incorporate the mission and values of Amigos. We are challenging the perceptions and expectations of our summers by questioning the motivations and “why” behind our actions. We are creating scenarios and circumstances in our minds to better prepare for the experiences of our participants in the field. We are discussing staff dynamics and their roles and responsibilities. We are preparing for the maelstrom of activity that is lovingly referred to as “survey.” We are examining the mentalities and focuses that participants will have as they engage in the process of capacity building with enthusiastically energetic youth.

For these four days, we are a group of twelve. Afterwards, I will return to the East Bay to continue my work as a Training Director in the preparation of my chapter’s participants. This summer, I will be a part of a group of more than fifty individuals who are engaged in the communities of the Madriz project. By collaborating with dedicated and passionate partner agency contacts, our work will complement the efforts completed by the projects that have come before us. We will continue those efforts to promote lasting impacts and to create real and human relationships with members of those communities. The legacy that staff leaves behind will be carried onward by projects in the region for years to come. Now, and forever, I will be a part of more than 26,000 individuals who have invested their time in an experience that would create lifelong changes.

I am so proud to be a part of this organization, and I am particularly proud of my place among these eleven amazing individuals. Every day I wake up more and more excited to inspire and nurture youth development this summer. I cannot wait for this experiencia transformativa, and I can only hope that y’all are equally excited.2015 PD training     2015 Project Staff