YMCA EXCHANGES

connect . exchange . discover.|créez des liens. échangez. découvrez.


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SWSE Testimonials From Ayooluwa and Brad / Des témoignages de Ayooluwa et Brad

** French text is available below.

Summer is coming up fast! As a youth, you might be thinking of what to do this summer or applying to summer jobs. We talked with Ayooluwa and Brad from our Youth Advisory Committee about their experience with the Summer Work Student Exchange (SWSE), to give you a snap shot of what the program is like.

With SWSE, 16-17 year old youth have the opportunity to stay in another community in Canada for 6 weeks over the summer. While in their new community, they are immersed in their second official language, stay with a host family, work full time at a job placement in a local non-profit organization, and participate in weekly group activities with their Local Coordinator and other participants.

The exchange usually begins with a train trip to their new communities, accompanied by other participants and YMCA chaperones. Ayooluwa says that “while the train was definitely unforgettable, arriving at Quebec is a moment I will never forget. Every host family was lined up with signs welcoming each exchange student to Quebec. They were just as excited as we were to find out who we would be living with. It was a lot to take in, honestly, but I couldn’t help smiling through it all. I was going to live in a new part of Canada, but I knew without a shadow of a doubt that I was, and felt, truly welcomed.”

Youth have the opportunity to make lasting connections with families, other youth, staff, and their employers. “The weekend activities were also an amazing part as you got to meet up with friends and other people on exchanges. My group went to amusement parks, canoeing, wind tunnel sky diving and so much more. Our Local Coordinator made this part of our trip perfect and fun.”

Youth are matched with a variety of work places, such as summer camps and museums, depending on their interests and what is available in their host community. Work also acts as an amazing place for language learning! Ayooluwa tell us that “in terms of French learning, work was perfect for that. I learned a lot more practical words than ever before. The kids at the camp were more than willing to help me out as well.”

Indeed, with SWSE, there is possibility for the full language immersion experience! Brad says that “I’d never be as fluent in French as in the language I spoke at home every day. Yet I can say that I survived in Quebec—and even thrived, in my work and my language-learning. I couldn’t help but practice. I saw and heard the language I had studied all around me, on signs and buildings, in the streets; it was the culmination of all my efforts.”

The exchange experience can be challenging, and this is what makes it so rewarding and empowering. Brad says “when I think back to what I accomplished over the summer, I feel like I’m capable of whatever I put my mind to. Living in Quebec made me more confident.”

Thank you Ayooluwa and Brad for sharing your experiences!

For more information and to apply for SWSE, check out our website summer-work.com. May 15 is our second priority deadline for participants, so make sure to get those applications in soon!

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Comme l’été approche rapidement, vous commencez peut-être penser à vos plans d’été, ou même appliquer à des jobs d’été. Nous avons parlé avec des membres du Comité consultatif des jeunes à propos de leur expériences avec le programme Emplois d’été Échanges étudiants (EÉÉÉ), pour vous donner une idée de c’est quoi vivre un programme d’échange comme EÉÉÉ.

Le programme EÉÉÉ est offert aux jeunes 16-17 ans. Les participants voyagent et vivent dans une différente province au Canada durant 6 semaines, pratiquent leur deuxième langue officielle, travaillent à temps plein dans un organisme à but non lucratif, et participent à des activités de groupe planifiés durant les fin de semaines et soirées.

Le programme commence d’habitude par un voyage de train à leur nouvelle communauté d’accueil, accompagné par d’autres participants et des chaperons du YMCA. Ayooluwa raconte «lorsque le voyage de train était vraiment mémorable, l’arrivé à Quebec étant un moment que je n’oublierais jamais. Chaque familles d’accueil étaient préparé avec leur signes accueillant les participants à Québec. Ils étaient autant excité de découvrir qui va vivre avec eux que nous. C’était un peu accablant, mais je ne pouvais pas résister sourire durant tout le processus. J’allais vivre dans une autre partie du Canada, but j’étais certain, sans aucune doute, que je me sentais sincèrement bienvenu.»

Durant l’échange, les participants ont l’opportunité de développer des connections durable avec leurs nouveaux amis, famille d’accueil, employeur, et coordinateur local. «Les fin de semaines sont incroyables par ce que tu peux voir tes amis et rencontrer des nouvelles personnes. Mon groupe a été à un parc d’amusement, on a fait du canoe, et de la plongé à parachute en tunnel aérodynamique. Notre Coordinateur local a vraiment rendus les activités plus le fun.»

Les participants ont aussi l’opportunité des travailler avec divers employeurs, comme à un camp d’été ou un musée, dépendant de leurs intérêt et de ce qui est disponible dans leur communauté. Le travail offre aussi une opportunité superbe de pratiquer leur deuxième langue officielle. Ayooluwa dit que «le travaille était le contexte parfait pour apprendre le français. J’ai jamais appris autant de mots pratiques. Les enfants au camp d’été étaient aussi content de m’aider.»

Ainsi, avec le programme EÉÉÉ, il y a beaucoup de possibilités d’immersion dans sa deuxième langue officielle. «Je ne serais jamais aussi confortable en français que ma langue maternelle, mais je peux dire que j’ai survécu l’échange au Québec. J’ai fleuris au travaille et avec l’apprentissage du français. Je n’ai pu m’empêcher de pratiquer mon français. J’ai vu et entendu la langue partout, sur les annonces publiques, les édifices, dans les rues. C’était vraiment la culmination de tout mes efforts», dit Brad.

L’expérience d’échange peut poser des défis, et c’est ce qui le rend une expérience enrichissante et valorisante. Brad conclus que «quand je penses à tout ce que j’ai accomplis durant l’été, je me sent capable de tout faire. Vivre au Québec m’a rendu plus confient.»

Merci à Ayooluwa et Brad pour avoir partagé vos expériences!

Pour plus d’info sur EÉÉÉ et pour appliquer, visitez notre site web emplois-ete.com. Le 15 mai est notre date limite d’inscription hâtive, alors appliquez bientôt!



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My Summer Bucket List Photo Challenge, Week 4: My view is better than yours | Concours Mon “Bucket List” de l’été semaine 4: Ma vue > la tienne |

Photo Challenge SWSE

Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful, we must carry it with us or we find it not. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

One of the best things about Canada is that no matter where we are, we are never too far away from some of the best nature (and wildlife!) in the world, right here at home.  This summer, you’ve likely had a chance to check out the nature in your area, and we want to see what you’ve discovered in this big, beautiful country of ours.

Your challenge this week: Take a photo of your surroundings! If you do happen to sleep under the stars, even better! Either way, we want to see what new things you’ve been seeing while on your exchange.  As usual, the best photos will be showcased on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook!

Views from SWSE staff and partiipants | Selection de de photos prise par des participants et des membres de l'équipe SWSE

Views from SWSE staff and participants | Selection de de photos prise par des participants et des membres de l’équipe SWSE

Bien que nous voyageons dans le monde entier pour trouver la beauté, nous devons l’emporter avec nous, sinon nous ne la trouverons pas. -Ralph Waldo Emerson

Une des choses qui rend le Canada très spécial et la facilité avec laquelle il est possible d’acceder aux plus beaux paysages du monde (en pleine nature, en ville ou meme en foret!)! Cet été, vous avez probablement eu l’occasion d’explorer l’environnement qui vous entoure! Nous voulons voir ce que vous avez découvert dans ce grand, beau pays qui est le nôtre.

Votre défi cette semaine: Prendre une photo de votre environnement. Dans la nature?! Sous les étoiles?! Encore mieux! Nous voulons tout simplement voir les nouveaux horizons que vous découvrez autour de vous, durant votre échange :). Comme d’habitude, les meilleures photos seront postées sur Instagram, Twitter et Facebook!


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Concours Mon “Bucket List” de l’été semaine 2: #AuTravail | My Summer Bucket List Photo Challenge, Week 2: #WorkLife

Photo Challenge SWSE

Tu es déjà dans ta deuxième semaine d’échange EEEE!!! C’est fou comment le temps passe vite! À ce stade, tu nous as présenté quelques membres de ta gang et tu as déjà commencé ton nouveau travail, entre autres choses. T’as rencontré tes nouveaux collegues, ton nouveau boss, et tu te familiarise avec ton nouvel espace de travail! Ça fait beaucoup de neuf tout ça!

Pour Semaine 2, on veut voir ce que tu aimes le plus dans ton travail. Montre-nous ton côté professionnel! Partage une photo ou une video de toi au travail, avec tes collègues/ton boss, entrain de faire quelque chose qui est relié à ton travail. En gros, on veut savoir comment tu trouves ta job, et quels aspects tu aimes le plus!

*** On veut te voir au travail, mais nous te demandons de prendre/publier tes photos/videos quand tu es en pause, ou quand tu as finis le travail. Il est très important de rester professionnel dans ton lieu de travail. 🙂 ***

Et comme toujours, les meilleures photo seront postées sur Twitter, Facebook, Instagram et peut-être même notre chaine YouTube! N’oublies pas de nous marquer et d’utiliser “#SWSESummerBucketList sur chaque soumission!

Bonne chance!

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Notre employé du mois en train de travailler vraiment dur! | Our Employee of the Month working really hard!

Congrats on making it past week 1 of your SWSE exchange! Time passes by so quickly! By now, you’ve introduced us some of your squad and you’ve had your first few days at your new job. You’ve met your new coworkers, your new boss, basically familiarized yourself with your new work space. Phew, that’s a lot of “new”!

For week 2, we wanna see what excites you most about your job. Show us your professional side! Share a picture or a video of you at work, with your colleagues/boss, doing something job-related. We basically wanna know how you like your job and which parts you enjoy most!

*** We want to see you at work, but we ask that your picture/video be taken/published when you are on break, or off work! It’s important to remain professional and on task at your place of employment. 🙂 ***

As always, the best pictures/videos will be posted on our Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and maybe even YouTube?! Don’t forget to tag us and to use “#SWSESummerBucketList” on every submission.

Good luck!


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My Summer Bucket List Photo Challenge, Week 1: #SquadGoals | Concours “Mon “Bucket List” de l’été semaine 1: #MaGang

Photo Challenge SWSESquad Goal (skwäd/ɡōl) (noun) (plural noun: squad goals): an aspirational term for what you’d like your group of friends to be or accomplish.

Everyone has a different name for that group of friends you do everything with. It can be the group that you got matching charm bracelets with in third grade, or the brand new crew you formed with your SWSE peeps.

So you probably caught up on the fact that a group of friends is called a squad now (as seen in the phrase: squad deep, when your whole crew is together). Squads, of course, have goals… so what are your squad goals?

You have one week to showcase yours. Make it good.  Our first #SWSESummerBucketList challenge for you: show off your squad. The best 4 pictures will be features on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter, and will be eligible for a prize!

Oh wait… Sock Monkey wanted to give you guys an example/show off his squad... Can yours top his though? 😛

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    #SquadGoals  | #MaGang

Ta gang, c’est  le groupe d’amis avec lequel tu fais tout. Elle peut être le groupe avec lequel tu as des bracelets identiques depuis la maternelle, ou alors ça peut être la nouvelle bande que tu as créée avec tes amis du programme EEEE!

Dans tous les cas, on veut la voir, ta gang EEEE! Donc, pour notre premier défis #SWSESummerBucketList, nous te donnons cinq jours pour prendre la photo qui représente LE MIEUX ta gang. Les quatre meilleures photos seront affichées sur Instagram, Facebook et Twitter, et pourront gagner un prix !

Ah oui, Sock Monkey voulait vous donner un petit example/se vanter de sa gang… Est-ce que ta gang est mieux que la sienne? 😛

GO!


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“SWSE Summer Bucket List” Concours Photo Challenge 2015: Intro, Themes & Rules/Règles

Photo Challenge SWSE

So you made it to your new community. You met your host family, started your new job, and even made a friend (or three 🙂 )… You’re settled in, basically. Oh yeah, and you’ve taken a million pictures to document your journey. So we’re thinking, how about an opportunity to share your masterpieces to your friends, family and the world? How about a photo challenge that’ll run all summer long?! YES.

Over the next few weeks, we’ll have seven photo challenges that will have the whole country buzzing with stories about your experience with the Summer Work Student Exchange. We’ll be posting each challenge every Sunday, and the challenges will last from Sunday to Saturday. Your mission, should you choose to accept it: take pics that show the theme of that week and post them to Instagram and Twitter, using the hashtag #SWSESummerBucketList. The best pics/vids will be showcased on all of our social media platforms and will be eligible for a prize, which we’ll be giving away EVERY week of the challenge!

And by the way: Monkey Socks, our mascot, volunteered to help by giving you examples of the kinds of pics that we’re looking for!

And of course….here’s a preview of your Summer Bucket List!

1) Squad Goals (June 30-July 5)

2) Work Life (July 6-12)

3) A Step outside my comfort zone (July 13-19)

4) My view’s better than yours (July 20-26)

5) SWSE’s Got Talent (video) (July 27-August 2)

6) My Home Away from Home (August 3-9)

7) Summer Souvenir (August 7-16)

Only three rules to follow during the Photo Challenge:

1) Be creative. The pics that catch our eye will have the best chance of winning. Think outside the box!

2) Keep it clean. If you wouldn’t show that pic to your grandma, you probably shouldn’t post it.

3) Pics submitted for the contest MUST have the hashtag #SWSESummerBucketList attached to be eligible to win prizes.

4) HAVE FUN! We hope that you’ll have the best summer ever, and that your photos over the next few weeks will show it.

Good luck!


Ok… donc t’es arrivé(e) dans ta nouvelle communauté, tu as rencontré ta famille d’acceuil, commencé ton nouveau travail, et tu t’es même fait des amis… Enfait, t’es juste installé. Ah oui, aussi, tu as pris des millions de photos pour documenter ton voyage! Alors, on se dit… pourquoi ne pas te donner l’opportunité de partager tes chef d’œuvres avec tes amis, ta famille et le reste du monde? Pourquoi ne pas faire un concours photo toute la durée de l’été? OUI!

Au cours des prochaines semaines, nous aurons sept concours photo qui vous permettrons de partager votre expérience avec le programme Emploi d’été Échanges étudiants. Nous publierons chaque défi le lundi, et les défis se dérouleront du lundi au dimanche (le premier defis commence un mardi, par contre). Votre mission, si vous l’acceptez: prendre des photos qui montrent le thème de chaque semaine et les publier sur Instagram et Twitter, en utilisant le hashtag #SWSESummerBucketList. Les meilleures photos seront postées sur toute nos plates-formes de médias sociaux et seront admissibles pour un prix, que nous donnerons chaque semaine jusqu’à la fin de l’échange!

Aussi: notre mascotte, Monkey Socks, s’est engagé à vous aider en donnant des exemples du type de photos que nous recherchons! Trop gentil, lui!

Donc… voici un aperçu de votre « Bucket List » d’été!

1) Ma gang (29 juin – 5 juillet)

2) Ma vie au travail (6-12 juillet)

3) Un pas en dehors de ma zone de confort  (13-19 juillet)

4) Ma vue > la tienne  (20-26 juillet)

5 ) SWSE Got Talent (vidéo) (27 juillet – 2 août)

6) Mon deuxième chez-moi (3-9 août)

7) Souvenir d’été (7-16 août)

Il n’y a que trois règles à respecter pendant le concours:

1) Soyez créatif!  Les photos qui accrochent notre œil auront les meilleures chances à gagner.

2) Restez correctes. Si votre photo pourrait choquer votre grand-mère, mieux vaut éviter de la poster.

3) Les photos soumises au concours DOIVENT avoir le hashtag #SWSESummerBucketList attaché pour gagner des prix.

4) Amusez-vous! Nous espérons que vous aurez le meilleur été possible, et que vos photos le montreront!

Bonne chance!


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How does SWSE hosting work, anyway??

One of the biggest things we, at YMCA Exchanges, equate the month of June to, is the official launch of the 2015 edition of our Summer Work Student Exchange (SWSE) program! Seriously, the whole department sleeps and breathes SWSE these days. Everyone is super busy making sure your experience this summer is that of a lifetime!

You guys must also be getting excited, by now! A few more weeks (or days, if you’d rather 🙂 ) and you’ll be on your way to a great adventure. We thought you might have some questions related to the program, so we had a quick sit down interview with Ken Zolotar, our SWSE National Manager. He answered some pretty common questions/concerns, but feel free to reach out to us if you have any outstanding ones!

Nanamoye Ascofaré: Good morning Ken! Thank you so much for taking time off your busy schedule to meet with me! How are you today?

Ken Zolotar: No problem. I am well, thanks! How are you?

NA: Fantastic. Let’s get started. Tell me about yourself and the SWSE program.

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Meet Ken Zolotar

KZ: Sure! I am the SWSE National Manager and I have been with the YMCA for the past three years. In a nutshell, SWSE is a unique national exchange program that brings together youth (aged 16 and 17) from various communities across the country for six weeks. During their exchange, our participants get to practice and improve their second official language skills while gaining important employment and life experiences.  SWSE is a great way for youth to learn more about themselves, to discover another part of Canada (think TRAVEL!) and to know more about the people that make up our great nation. Plus, participants take on new challenges, make new friends and have fun!

NA: Thanks for telling us about the SWSE program. Off all the years you’ve been with the program, what, in your opinion is the most important component of SWSE? Or should I say, which component tends to bring up the most questions amongst your participants and their parents/guardians?

KZ: Well, all our components are important! But, if it had to come down to the one that attracts the most questions, it would be hosting.

NA: Tell us more.

KZ: For the duration of the program, participants stay with a host whose son or daughter is also participating in the program.  Parents/guardians play an essential role as they act as a host to students from another community for the six-week exchange. Their role is not only to provide lodging and meals for their visitor, but also to act as additional support for them. Hosts are responsible for the participant staying with them, by providing a safe living environment and by allowing them to experience a new home, language and culture.

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Let me explain this a little further, hosts spend time with their guest as they would with their own child.  During the work-week the youth are at work and do not require supervision.  During the weekends and one weekday evening, the youth spend time with their other group members doing organized activities with the Local Coordinator.  The host’s role as a youth support largely takes place during the evenings and other week-days. I’ve worked with a lot of potential hosts over the years and from the outset, many think they are unable to host. Thankfully they learn about ways it can be worked out.

NA: What are some of the most common concerns you receive regarding hosting?

KZ: Let’s see. For one, many families take weekend trips during the summer. What usually happens is that our potential hosts end up thinking they can’t host just because they are going away for a weekend. But that can be worked out!  For example, the first weekend of August is ‘family weekend,’ where we, at YMCA Exchanges encourage hosts to take their guests with them if they go away, or to spend some quality time with their guest by exploring the family’s interests in the community.

Furthermore, if they are going away for a weekend that isn’t ‘family weekend’ they can also arrange to have another adult such as a neighbour or relative stay in their home when they travel and that adult can provide support for the youth.

NA: Makes sense. Speaking of traveling… Do you ever get potential hosts who are concerned with distance?

KZ: Yes actually. Some of our potential hosts think they can’t host because they live far outside the city. We understand that commuting is a factor of life for many workers.  Our goal is to find a place of employment that is within a 45 minute commute from their home.  Youth can take public transit, get a ride from one of their coworkers, or get driven in by the hosts or neighbours who drive on the Monday – Friday work week.   We select our employers around the same time that we select the youth, and we have often broadened our search for employers to suit where the hosts live. So that too, can be worked out.

NA: For sure. About work weeks… Many families have a diverse range of schedules. Are we able to accommodate potential hosts who work late/evenings/weekends?

KZ: Absolutely. As I previously mentioned, the youth are involved in group activities one weeknight per week and both days on the weekends.  It is a busy schedule and like everyone else, the youth can use some down-time to recharge.  The youth need to be supported by an adult during the time they are at home.  Having someone in the house in the evening is excellent but not necessary; having someone in the house after the curfew (10 p.m. on weekdays, midnight on weekends) is necessary.  As long as those arrangements can be made with friends, neighbours and/or relatives, potential hosts are eligible.

NA: I see. What other concerns do you sometimes get?

KZ: Another concern we get is one where potential hosts think they can’t host because they do not have a separate room for the participant. However, sharing a room with a sibling is normal and can provide for a new experience for youth from a different family setting and environment.  Our participants need to have their own bed and a separator between their space and the common living space to give them privacy. As long as they have that, potential hosts can host!

NA: So basically, many concerns really shouldn’t exist, right?! Any last words?

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KZ: Exactly. We are always looking to provide our participants and their families the best experience possible, so we do our best to accommodate and address concerns. I hope my responses were insightful. We also have a host guide that explains things in more detail. Lastly, I understand that in certain circumstances, hosting a student may not be possible. However, in order to participate, an alternate exchange host has to be found. We do our best to recruit additional alternate hosts but we also ask that families do their part to assist us.

NA: Thank you so much for all this information and for your time this morning, Ken!

KZ: It was my pleasure.


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My SWSE Summer Experience: Jao (Second Go)| Mon experience EEEE: Jao (Deuxième chance)

As every milestone in your life, you would always be excited to do it all over again! This summer, I had this very opportunity by becoming the Local Coordinator of the Langley, BC community for SWSE 2014. Two years ago, I was a 17-year-old student heading to Laval, Quebec and now I had another chance for a second go! The summer has been a blast in every way and I wish that it could last longer. Being a coordinator opposed to a participant changed a lot of aspects of the exchange but I can confidently say that this time was as remarkable as the first.

I received 10 beautiful students from St-Jean, Boisbriand and St-Eustache, all small towns in the province of Quebec. These 10 people were what made the summer particularly amazing for me. The past 6 weeks were filled with memories, challenges and many inside jokes. My personal favourite memory was our Dragon Boating activity in Fort Langley. For many different reasons, this event allowed us to discover the community and build friendships. As one of our first activities, it was a good chance to build teamwork as one community and as one dragon boat. None of us had tried dragon boating before and it was awesome to see my students putting themselves out there! As a bonus, we visited the area of Fort Langley itself. With all its eccentric and old-fashioned beauty, the neighbourhood showed another side of the city. We dined at the famous Java’s 50 Café in the heart of downtown Fort Langley. My students enjoyed the lively atmosphere, decor, and creamy milkshakes.

With the program now at its end, I want to send a small message to my students.I hope that you have had the summer of a lifetime. Keep our memories and friendships together with you forever. Live life trying to achieve whatever you want, and know that I will be supporting you every step of the way. À la prochaine!

 

 

Comme pour chaque étape importante de sa vie, on est très excité à l’idée de devoir le faire de nouveau! Cet été, j’ai eu la possibilité de devenir le coordonnateur local à Langley pour le programme Emploi d’été Échanges étudiants de 2014. Il y a deux ans, j’étais un étudiant qui se dirigeait à Laval (Québec) et maintenant, voilà qu’une deuxième chance se présente à moi! L’été a vraiment été génial dans tous les sens du terme et j’aurais aimé qu’il dure plus longtemps. Être un coordonnateur et non un participant a changé de nombreux aspects de l’échange, mais je peux dire en toute honnêteté que cette expérience a été aussi remarquable que la première.

J’étais le coordonnateur pour le groupe de Langley (C.-B.) cette année. J’ai reçu 10 beaux étudiants de Saint-Jean, Boisbriand et Saint-Eustache. C’est grâce à ces 10 personnes que l’été a été particulièrement génial. Les 6 dernières semaines ont été remplies de souvenirs, de défis et de nombreuses blagues d’initiés. Selon moi, mon souvenir préféré était notre activité sur des bateaux-dragons à Fort Langley. Pour de nombreuses raisons différentes, cet événement nous a permis de découvrir la communauté et de créer des amitiés. Il s’agissait d’une de nos premières activités et d’une bonne occasion de travailler en équipe en tant que communauté à bord d’un bateau-dragon. Aucun d’entre nous n’avait essayé le bateau-dragon auparavant et c’était formidable de voir mes étudiants jouer le jeu! Nous avons visité la région de Fort Langley en guise de récompense. La beauté excentrique et démodée du quartier nous a permis de voir une autre facette de la ville. Nous avons soupé au fameux Java’s 50 Café au cœur du centre-ville de Fort Langley. Mes étudiants ont beaucoup aimé l’atmosphère dynamique, le décor et les laits frappés crémeux.

Le programme touche maintenant à sa fin et j’aimerais envoyer un petit message à mes étudiants. Pour conclure, j’espère que vous avez passé le meilleur été de votre vie. Conservez les souvenirs et les amitiés que nous avons créées ensemble jusqu’à la fin de votre vie. Vivez votre vie en essayant d’accomplir ce que vous souhaitez et sachez que je vous soutiendrai tout le temps. À la prochaine!