Throughout this experience, I learned that volunteering enables us to take on a person’s wellbeing as our own.

By: Calvin Grant, Summer Work Travel participant 2016

A fulfilling life is one that is spent taking care of others and making sure no one gets left behind – one way to do this is by volunteering! Knowing this, when I was invited to volunteer at the Big Horn Mountain Trail Run, I eagerly agreed. My experience was phenomenal!

The Big Horn Mountain Trail Run is an annual event in Wyoming where athletes run throughout the Big Horn Mountain region. I volunteered at a rest stop for the runners. The volunteer position required the volunteers to camp outdoors for 48 hours – it was my first time camping outdoors! The families that were volunteering at my camp made my stay so welcoming. After only two days, it felt as though we had known each other for many years!

Throughout this experience, I learned that volunteering enables us to take on a person’s wellbeing as our own. Whether it’s assisting runners in cooling down, changing muddy socks, offering a word of encouragement, or fetching a cup of chicken noodle soup, my team and I made sure that everything was on point and ready to run!

The Big Horn Mountain Trail reminded me so much of Jamaica. The hammocks in our camp reminded me of the tropics and Jamaican culture. Sitting around the campfire and sharing stories with guests and team members reminded me of when I was younger and my grandparents would sit and tell us stories – it was all very nostalgic.

After only two days, the race ended and I left the Big Horn Mountain Trail Run with memories and a new Wyoming family.

It’s wonderful to come to the U.S. to work, but the self-fulfilment gained from volunteering enhanced my cultural exchange experience beyond words. Make use of the moment. Don’t just work. Live.

Learn how volunteering and working in the U.S. can change your life! Learn more about CCI Greenheart’s cultural exchange programs.