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Bonfire Bonding

Posted on Monday, September 12th, 2022 at 8:24 pm.

Nothing says “summertime” like a good old-fashioned bonfire! In the U.S., this summertime tradition is as old as the nation itself. After all, there is no better time or place to connect with nature and with other people than around the warm flames of a blazing bonfire.

In June, AuPairCare au pairs and host families alike took advantage of the beautiful San Diego summer weather they were having and met at Leisure Lagoon Beach to gather around a bonfire! The fire, the perfect temperature, and the eventual sunset all combined to make for one unforgettable evening.

Like any good bonfire, the host families, host children, and au pairs gathered around the campfire to roast hot dogs and marshmallows, sing songs and warm their hands by the fire.

For some au pairs, it was the first time roasting hot dogs and having smores! Needless to say, the au pairs were delighted by the opportunity to partake in the American custom of using long sticks to roast marshmallows over the open fire and then eat them between two graham crackers with a piece of chocolate! They didn’t hesitate to ask for s’more of them!

As anyone who has spent time camping knows, gathering around a bonfire is a terrific way to build a sense of community and togetherness through shared experience. And that’s exactly what happened with these cultural exchange participants. The au pairs sparked conversations amongst themselves, bonding over their commonalities and delighting in their differences.

The usually shy au pair Akie from Japan stayed long after the event ended, continuing to socialize with her new friends. Au pair Mary from Germany expressed that the bonfire event had been a “happy, healing” experience for her after she had been struggling with homesickness. 

Additionally, host families had a chance to connect with other families in the area. Some even set up playdates with their kids. After, some host families asked if the bonfire could become an annual event. 

It’s safe to say that some great connections were made that day. With many s’more to come!

Categories: Participants, Program Spotlight

About Nicole Elkon

Deputy Assistant Secretary for Private Sector Exchange

Nicole Elkon

Nicole Elkon joined the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Private Sector Exchange in September 2021. Until June 2021, Ms. Elkon was the Chief Operating Officer (COO) of Human Rights First, an independent advocacy organization focused on human rights and the rule of law. Prior to her position as COO, Ms. Elkon was a Senior Advisor at Results for America (RFA), a non-profit organization focused on advancing data-driven, evidence based public policy at all levels of government. She also served as Chief of Staff to the Assistant Secretary of ECA and was Director of the Office of Public Private Partnerships at ECA working to leverage strategic partnerships to enhance Administration foreign policy priorities.

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