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Volcanoes: 6th grade science class. Learning the reaction between baking soda and vinegar.
Friendship bracelets: Walton’s summer camp. Carrying around strings on my water bottle to work on my bracelet during free time.
Hand-clapping games: Recess. Who could play slide the fastest and the longest?
Fortune tellers: 4th grade Math Class. Slyly asking the person next to me to pick a number so I can read their fortune.
Paper airplanes: Competitions with my brother. I won in design… he won in distance.
All horses run, duck duck goose & relay races: Miss O’s summer camp. P.E. class
Spoons: Softball tournaments. Between games, our team would always play this fast-paced card game.

These games and crafts are all memories embedded in my mind, associated with some of the happiest times in my life. And now, I have the chance to share these games that I have learned from someone I looked up to with a group of kids who are looking up to us. At the time, I never really appreciated the games themselves, sure they were fun, but not until years later did I realize the impact they had on me. I learned patience and teamwork and sportsmanship. And now I have the honor to pass on my experiences to a whole new generation.
Sitting next to the girls at the Centro de Emergencia Infantil and demonstrating the “4” pattern of the friendship bracelet. Or playing freeze tag at Lem Cachorro to the point that I realize I’ve gotten too old to run endlessly. Or singing “Down by the Banks” as if I was back in elementary school. Taking a field trip to the beach to build sand volcanoes and watch ‘lava’ flow from them. Even with the limited resources, we were able to dig into our mental repertoire of camp games and watch smiles light up as we taught them each one.
Not only will the students in the ICCA centers get to remember these games and moments for the rest of their lives, I get to create brand new memories from a mentor’s perspective. I understand that I’m here to help them learn even if they hand the paper to me and ask me to do it for them. I’m here to facilitate creating fair teams so everyone is engaged. I’m here to plan activities that will appeal to all audiences and create a diverse lesson plan so nobody gets too distracted. I’m here to show what it means to be a good sport when they lose or someone cheats. I’m here to help them discover their talents and let them shine. This is why I’m here.