Today was the first official day of the program and we are off to a great start! We started a little later than usual, at 12 p.m., to give participants time to catch up on sleep. Despite having arrived less than 24 hours ago, the participants were energetic and enthusiastic, and they did not allow first day nerves to stop them from engaging in their first day of icebreakers and dialogue.
Icebreakers were led by the second-year participants, the XLs (who excel at their roles as leaders). The activities and exercises were designed to introduce the participants, XLs, and staff, and help everyone get to know each other.
Next, participants filled out a “pre-dialogue survey” to gauge participants’ opinions before dialogue begins. They will fill out another survey at the end of the program to see if, and how much, their opinions changed.
The most important event of the day was the first dialogue. It was spent getting the groups comfortable communicating with each other and building trust between participants and facilitators.
After delegation meetings to check in with participants at the end of their first day, the participants headed to a local host-family home for their first hosted gathering.