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  • Writer's pictureValpo Surf Project

Welcome Back Kelly

There’s something about the city of Valparaíso that makes it hard for interns here at Valpo Surf Project (VSP) to want to leave when their one-year commitment expires. Over the generations of interns here at VSP, there have been several that participated with VSP while they were on a semester abroad here and then decided to extended their time, others who left to finish their studies and then came back and others who came for an initial one year commitment and never left!

This January VSP had the fortune to welcome back, Kelly Bruett, who initially was an intern with us from January 2015-2016, who after working as a surf instructor at a camp in California, is back in the port city of Valparaíso as a fellow for VSP. Kelly will be working alongside Chelsea and Martha as the Content Coordinator. Kelly will be in charge of everything related to the content of programming. Lesson planning, surf sessions, and other programming activities fall under the umbrella of her responsibilities.

We sat down with Kelly about what it feels like to be back in Valpo, working for VSP and the expectations she has for the upcoming year.

How does it feel to be back in Valparaíso and working for VSP again after a year away?

K: It feels great to be back, while a lot of things have changed, part of me feels like I never left. It’s really nice seeing familiar faces again; my favorite part has been reuniting with the students. Showing up to a summer surf session after a year away and seeing a kid for the first time has been an incredible experience.

What were you doing in the year that you spent in the states?

K: Most of my time in the states was spent working for YMCA Camp Surf in San Diego. I was a program instructor as well as a lifeguard. They have an outdoor education program so I worked with a lot of students teaching them about the environment and getting them surfing. The rest of my time was spent at home, in New Jersey, hanging with family and friends and working wherever I could.

What goals do you have for yourself and for VSP this year?

K: As far as personal goals, I want to push myself to take on more responsibilities and be a consistent mentor to the kids. My work will mostly be focused on lesson planning so I hope to come up with fun and creative material that will not only inspire them to learn English, but will also instill values that they will hold on to. For the program, it has been awesome to come back and see how far it’s come even in this short time I’ve been gone. I hope we can build on it even more in terms in programming, fortifying the commitment of our students and maybe even involving more students in the future.

What things did you learn about mentorship and your work with VSP your first year as an intern that you will now apply as a fellow during your second year?

K: A lot of my first year was spent getting my bearings because everything was new. This year I feel like I am ready to jump right into the more detailed parts of our programming. I already feel like I have built relationships with our students and the staff so this year is really about building on that foundation.

We are very excited to have Kelly back as a part of the team. Her work as one of the coordinators will surely help to improve the quality of programming here at VSP. Welcome back Kelly!

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