Alyssa Ulrey, 2012
Hello, everyone! I am originally from Michigan and currently reside in Colorado. I graduated from Michigan State University with a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and am currently a Case Manager for individuals with developmental disabilities. I found out about Sprout when I was a Junior in college through a book at the library listing unique volunteering opportunities. I spent two summers volunteering my time with Sprout and absolutely loving it. I had previous experience working with individuals with developmental disabilities but thought that working with them during their vacation experiences would be a unique opportunity.
Going to New York was a very nerve racking experience. I had never been so far away from my family or friends and was intimidated by the big city. But after my first trip, I was hooked. I went to Penn Dutch for my first trip and was in charge of the budget, which I accidentally screwed up multiple times! But everyone was so friendly and supportive about it. And the participants made the trip so much fun. I remember taking the participants to go dancing and ordering them all virgin shirley temples and seeing their faces light up. Seeing the participants having so much fun and being sad to go back home, made all of the hard work so worth it. From my first trip on, I felt so welcomed into the Sprout community.
The best part about Sprout was all of the wonderful people it brought into my life. I had the best summers of my life at Sprout meeting the other leaders who came from all throughout the world. I can now travel to almost any country in Europe and have at least one friend to visit. I truly made lifelong friends. There are also participants that I will never forget and still to this day think of and wonder how they are doing. My time at Sprout was some of the best memories of my life and I will always remember it fondly.
While Sprout was such an amazing time in my life, there were also hard moments. Moments of exhaustion, stress and anxiety. But those moments were made worth it by seeing how happy the participants were or how much they loved this experience. If given the chance, I would 100% return to Sprout. In fact, if my job would allow it, I would spend every summer at Sprout. I grew so much as a person and I have continued to work with individuals with developmental disabilities and I have continued to travel and have adventures. I found myself during my time at Sprout and will always remember that time fondly. I would recommend Sprout to anyone out there!