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The goal was to catch the volunteers off-guard. Supervisors and staff were asked repeatedly since the start of briefing, “when are we going to find out our partners and routes?” This is arguably the most exciting element of Briefing, and the supervisors were determined to create an activity that built off of this energy.

In the early afternoon, after Panama’s winter rains passed through Santa Clara, supervisors gathered all 62 volunteers on the soccer field for a “get-to-know-you” activity, that incorporated fun facts volunteers had shared earlier in briefing, colored symbols, and origami cranes.

Within minutes, volunteers finally understood that this activity was not just another dínamica to boost the group’s energy; they were looking for their partners. Pairs of young people ran toward each other with arms extended, laughing and screaming with excitement upon learning they would be sharing this unique summer opportunity together.

Next, to find their routes. Working together, volunteers divided into their route groups, before searching for their supervisor.

Scattered around the campsite, volunteers and supervisors sat in their routes under pockets of shade, discussing the communities and families volunteers would soon get to know, participating in teambuilding activities, and brainstorming project activities and ideas. The energy was contagious, and the thrilling reality that summer was finally beginning extended to project staff and volunteers.

As the Project Director of the Azuero, Panama program, I am so grateful for the flexibility, enthusiasm, and good humor I witnessed from this brave group of young people. I cannot wait to see all that these AMIGOS youth leaders accomplish this summer, and I have no doubt that they hold the tools, within themselves and within the Azuero team, to excel in this experience.

Un abrazo,
Astrea Somarriba (PD)

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