Ida Lomholt Andersen, 2015
I decided to quit my university studies to try completely new things – Having no experience at all in the disability field, I was very insecure whether I should volunteer or not, but I wanted to see a part of the world I had not seen before, and I wanted to work with people instead of studying and looking at my computer all day. By coincidence I found Sprout through a Danish organization.
My first trip went to Lake George. We started out with an hour-long late night shopping spree (this was when I realized I was in America!) where we bought so much food, that we all could have a barbecue almost every day for a week. One day we took the food to the highest point near Lake George, and some of the participants helped make the food, while others enjoyed the view.
The best part about Sprout was going on the trips and doing my best to give everybody a really nice and fun experience. The times when a couple of the participants declared: “We never want to go home!” I really felt I had made a difference. To make a good vacation, you have to plan the activities, control the budget and a lot of other more practical tasks, and sometimes you go to bed very late and wake up way to early. A new trip meant new people, so you quickly had to get to know the participants.
I was so lucky to be on trips with some wonderful and dedicated co-leaders. I have met so many great people. If a friend asked me if he should volunteer for Sprout, I would tell him to do it. By volunteering you experience a country in a much more authentic way than if you came as a tourist. You get to meet so many nice people and you get some unique experiences and make a difference in somebody’s life.
Volunteering with Sprout proved to me that I wanted to work with people, and after having returned to Denmark I have continued to work with people with developmental disabilities. I really miss the trips though, and I am definitely returning to Sprout.