By Max Regardie and Ivan Endelman
The weekend started off with a classic Seattle tourist destination, Pike Place Market. We went around exploring fresh market stands, meeting musicians, and eating some fabulous local lunches. Immediately after we traveled to the Gates Foundation where we experienced technology that is used to help people across the world, including some futuristic gadgets that the Avengers would love. We learned about the many ways that this foundation is able to support immigrants and asylum seekers everywhere, which we were able to more specifically relate to our program. Next, we made our way to Seattle Center, where we saw the famous Space Needle and explored the area around it. This included a giant fountain that some of the group members chose to run through and regretted their decisions the second they got out.
On Sunday, the group went to the International District to explore a museum and experience some local culture. The Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience gave insight into how Asian Americans have gone through tragedy and hardship but are still thriving today by the likes of modern technology. We then went to an amazing food court. Though we all ordered too much, it was worth it, as we ended up giving our extra food to the homeless. We then had some time to explore Chinatown and members of the group tasted more of the area’s great food, explored shops, and played ping-pong against local competitors, including a friendly ex-con. Then, the group went to a Seattle Storm WNBA game where the Storm took an easy victory over the god-awful New York Liberty squad, but not as awful as the Knicks.
Beginning on Monday, the group worked at the IRC refugee summer camp with much success. We do anything from sports, to art, to theater with the campers and make sure that they have the time of their lives. All of the counselors are doing an amazing job making sure every camper feels included and joyful during the day. Every day the campers have an amazing time and they are building great bonds with all of the counselors. One of our favorite activities so far was the egg drop challenge. In their respective teams, campers and counselors worked together to create a structure that would protect and egg from breaking during a fall from a set height. The campers and counselors alike loved this, except for one case of an egg hitting an unsuspecting target. Overall, the camp has brought many new challenges to the counselors, but we have all been able to overcome these and bring as much joy as possible to the campers day after day.
On a different note, the group has bonded more than anyone could have imagined over this past week. We have noticed people making sure everyone is included so that nobody feels like they do not belong. Throughout dinners, option time, and communal activities, the group has grown closer together and have built many friendships that should last a lifetime.