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After a very successful first session, the Dominican Republic project leadership team (the D.R.eam Team) was given a week to evaluate the state of the current communities, prepare individual communities for Session B, and even take a little bit of a breather! Within this gap-week of regrouping, objectives and goals were left up to each team member to best determine for themselves. These individual goals allowed for each supervisor to button-up any and all of their unfinished tasks from the first half of the summer. Luckily, Session B’s arrival date approached rapidly, which meant refocusing and reuniting the D.R.eam Team to plan for another weekend of briefing activities!

The San Juan, Dominican Republic project is wonderful for many reasons, one of which being that we receive two completely different groups of students. While this means that the summer is repetitive in some ways, it also means that we are given the wonderful opportunity to better any of our activities and methodologies from the first half of the summer.

As you might imagine, briefing isn’t complete without a group of teens visiting a foreign country for the first time. We were lucky enough to receive 35 of these wonderfully nervous and energy-filled young adults (two of which are local Dominican participants!). This group of participants was remarkably attentive and curious. Over the span of a few long bus rides, some wonderful meals provided by the Hotel D’Angel, and a couple dancing lessons from the one and only Sucre Acosta, many caring relationships were formed between participants and the project staff.

While briefing can be at times an exhausting slog of logistics and teaching about paperwork, it also provides opportunities for participants to be reassured, inspired, and eased into a foreign culture under the guidance of their leadership team. Seeing participants come out of their shells, light up when they discover who their partners are, and finally set off for their host communities is an incredible process to witness and is rewarding in so many ways. These young catalysts are ready for the summer ahead of them and I have no doubt that they will achieve more than they ever thought possible.