I could not leave Sedona without introducing you to Richmond, a culinary intern from the Philippines who is training at Enchantment Resort. Much like Kosta Cvoro, the student I profiled in my last post, Richmond is excelling in his training at Enchantment. I know this because he was just awarded Employee of the Quarter! He was nominated by the resort’s executive chef, sous chef, and just about everybody he worked with, it seems. This young man has made quite an impression here!
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As I mentioned in my post from Rocky Mountain National Park, our national parks are a true treasure of this country. I had the wonderful opportunity to visit one of the most famous and widely visited parks – Grand Canyon National Park. Grand Canyon is one of the seven natural wonders of the world. This amazing gorge was created through tectonic uplift, erosion, and other natural phenomena – exposing stone half the age of the earth!
In this post, my colleague, Nadine Zaatar, shares her experience during a recent visit to Mackinac Island.
If you had to choose between working at a fudge restaurant or at a historical landmark, which would you choose? For the several hundred participants placed in Mackinac Island, this is the exact conundrum they faced when deciding on the direction of their Summer Work Travel (SWT) program. I guess the main question one has to ask their self is, “Do I have the self-discipline to avoid eating the tasty samples all day?” Read More ›
We regularly talk about the public diplomacy “multiplier effect” achieved through J-1 exchange programs. Exchange programs connect people around the world and link people through common interests, values, and passions. While U.S. designated exchange organizations – sponsors – implement individual programs, the State Department oversees the overall functioning of the Exchange Visitor Program and how sponsors conduct their individual programs. We ensure that the goals we seek to achieve through public diplomacy are fulfilled through J-1 sponsored exchanges. Route J-1 has allowed me to see for myself how that is happening in the area of volunteerism, a major focus area of the State Department’s public diplomacy mission around the world.
My last stop on the second leg of Route J-1 was Lake Tahoe, CA. Lake Tahoe is the second deepest lake in the United States and it spans both Nevada and California. Here’s a fun fact: Did you know that if Lake Tahoe were poured over the state of California, it would still be 14 inches deep? Lake Tahoe’s initial attraction to hearty souls was its gold and timber resources; however, it’s now famous for skiing, hiking, and 274 days of sunshine each year. With this in mind, I joined a group of J-1 Summer Work Travel students for a day-long hike to Eagle Lake and Emerald Bay Beach.
In this post, my colleague, Deb Shetler, shares her experience during her recent trip to South Dakota.
Last week, my colleague Yupa and I had the pleasure of getting to know sixteen J-1 international students placed at South Dakota’s Custer State Park Resort as they participated in a community service activity. These energetic students spent a day supporting the state park in its effort to build a new amphitheater.
I just visited Estes Park, Colorado, a beautiful little town that is the starting point for one of the best road trips in the U.S. – Trail Ridge Road. Trail Ridge Road is the highest continuously paved road in the United States, reaching an elevation of 12,183 feet. My Route J-1 road trip would not be complete without paying homage to this famous route, and the national park that hosts it, Rocky Mountain National Park (RMNP).
Route J-1 took me on an adventure to a faraway land where Robin Hood really exists – about two hours south of St. Louis! I visited Sherwood Forest Camp near Lesterville, Missouri to see some counselors in action at J-1’s Camp Counselor program. Sherwood Forest camp is a non-profit organization dedicated to bringing the summer camp experience to young people with few financial means.
I spent my childhood attending YMCA after-school programs and YMCA summer camps, but I had never seen a “Y”, as they are sometimes called, quite like the one I recently visited on Route J-1. The YMCA of the Rockies is nestled next to Rocky Mountain National Park in Estes Park, Colorado.
Ocean City, Maryland is a popular Atlantic seaside town with a long and rich history of tourism that I was unaware of until my visit to this thriving shore town. For instance, I just learned that the first paying vacationers to Ocean City can be traced back to 1869!
|About Nicole Elkon|
Deputy Assistant Secretary for Private Sector Exchange
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.Read More
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