Suzie Caplis, 2012
Hello everybody! My name is Suzie and I am from Dublin, Ireland. I am an Occupational Therapist and also have a Masters Degree focused on Dementia.
I originally heard about Sprout back in 2012, through a friend of a friend. Two friends and myself were looking for an exciting way to spend our summer break, and Sprout seemed like the perfect venture for us. As a student OT, I always wanted to work with people with learning disabilities. What could be better than combining that with my passion for travelling and spending a summer in NYC and the East Coast? Spending that summer with Sprout turned out to be an amazing experience.
I will never forget my first trip. It was to New England Farm in Troy, New Hampshire with two of the loveliest leaders, Annisha and Charlotte. I just remember how nervous I was when going to meet the group on day one. So many thoughts were running through my head. Would I get along with the participants? Would I be able to drive a van on the opposite side of the road? What if I made a mistake with medications? How would I manage if I had difficult participants? I soon realized shouldn’t have worried. With two very capable co-leaders, the trip went nearly as well as possible. With 10+ participants and three leaders, there are bound to be mishaps! Sure, we had participants arguing, a minor hospitalization, and plans going askew; but we also had bingo, milking cows, a camp fire, horse riding, and a great last night of singing, dancing, eating and enjoying each others company! I have since gone on another 18 trips, including Penn Dutch, Cape Cod, Bermuda and Orlando; and I was even trusted to be a Primary Leader!
For me, the best part of Sprout is the people you meet along the way. Over my time with Sprout, I have encountered the most beautiful and loving participants. In a world where some people are never satisfied, the Sprout participants are a breath of fresh air. It is so refreshing to see people who encounter so many difficulties in life being so joyful, and truly enjoying their vacations. The love and appreciation the participants show the leaders is just amazing and makes this job worthwhile. And then there are the co-leaders. I have met some of the friendliest, funniest, kindest, loving and compassionate people throughout my time in Sprout. We have laughed together, partied together and have had some great nights!
I would definitely recommend Sprout to friends who wished to spend their summer doing something meaningful, worthwhile, and a little different. Yes, there will be days and trips that will challenge you, and make you think hard about why you are doing what you do. But when a participant tells you they are having the best vacation ever, or wraps you in a hug, you know you are making a difference and the negative feelings pale in comparison.
After spending the Summer of 2012 with Sprout, I decided to come back for almost three months in the Autumn of 2015. I was working in the UK and I decided a needed a change, and with the good memories of Sprout in my mind the decision to go back was an easy one. And given the opportunity, I would definitely go back again!