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The core components of the participants’ experience in community are the stay with the host families, working on the CBIP at the school, engaging in various community cultural activities, and leading extracurricular activities, also known as ECAs.

In Discover, Extracurricular Activities (ECAs) consist of games, activities, and lessons that participants plan and prepare together with their supervisor and then lead during or after school for local children. While it can seem intimidating for some participants to have to plan an entire 2-hour block of activities and games, let alone do it all in Spanish, ECAs are an incredible opportunity for participants to really demonstrate their leadership skills and challenge themselves to push beyond their comfort zones.

Before participants arrive, Discover staff meets with our partner agency MINSA to decide several important themes that the agency is working to promote in the communities. This summer, the themes for the ECAs were the environment, nutrition, hygiene and health, and bullying. Since participants have 4 days in which they can lead ECAs in community, there are only 4 themes – one per day.

Before participants go into community, they meet with their community partners and their supervisor in order to plan their first ECA according to the theme. The first theme, the environment, led to participants planning a lesson having kids create a superhero with powers to save the environment! There were a lot of superheroes who had recycling, pollution-reduction, and endangered species conservation as their superpowers.

The participants also plan what games and dinámicas (icebreakers) that they would like to lead with all of the kids. This is always the most exciting part of the ECAs – seeing how engaged all of the kids are when playing all together as a group. For us as staff, it is amazing to see the participants stepping up to help each other out – those who have higher levels of Spanish jumping in to help translate or explain games in Spanish while others make sure to pass out all of the supplies so the kids are ready to participate.

Considering that the Discover participants are so young at only 13-15 years old, it is incredible to see the dedication, energy, and engagement that the participants bring every day to planning and leading their ECAs.

Whether the participants are here for 2 weeks or 2 months, by being part of these core activities like the ECA, they each demonstrate their natural leadership ability and every day, learn and grow!

Check out a bunch of photos from the participants in all three communities leading their ECAs:

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