Of course without the gargantuan efforts of the global Camp America community and AIFS there wouldn’t be a program to implement. Nevertheless I wish to take a brief moment to pay tribute to the bright young people who face the task this summer of placing and supporting a program of over 7400 participants: our team in Stamford, Connecticut.
The Fairs and the conferences and the long weeks of placement and operations challenges are nearing close. You will make the final placements while providing sound counseling for staff going through rocky times. Windows of opportunity will widen with your efforts. Logistics and travel will be smooth and organized, and the arrivals hotel will go off like clockwork. There will be evenings, late nights, and early mornings of emergency duty officer activity. I anticipate deft management of group air space and individual flight bookings. Thousands of SEVIS records will glisten with compliant accuracy, and there will be meticulous government reporting. There will be crises and challenges, as well as hours of bright sunshine and fun during camp visits. You will balance participant advocacy with client relations and pretty much always manage to arrive at the fair and equitable solution to the thorniest of issues. You will earnestly care about our participants and their experiences and despite enormous pressure always attempt to do the right thing. No one will knowingly come to harm on your watch.
So here’s to you, bold soldiers of cultural exchange. May you weather the storm bravely and emerge victorious in the knowledge that the world is a better place for the position you chose to hold in it. I am boundlessly proud of you and grateful for the opportunity to share this season with you.