Ann Rento works in admissions at a private school in Albany, New York. Over MLK Day Weekend 2018, Ann attended ACIS’ Youth Leadership Training Workshop in the Dominican Republic. We caught up with her to discuss the experience and how she plans to incorporate it into a future educational travel tour with students.
How long have you been traveling with students and ACIS? Where have you traveled over the years and what have some of the highlights of past trips been for you?
I started leading student group tours with ACIS a few years ago. My first trip was to Rome, Florence, and Venice. From the incredible tour of the Colosseum to climbing the 463 steps of the Duomo in Florence and wandering the streets of Venice, my students and I had an unforgettable experience! This spring I’m leading a trip to France and England.
What were your expectations of the leadership weekend (if you had any) and how did the actual experience compare to those expectations? How did the weekend change your perspective?
Many parents are looking for a high quality educational/service opportunity that will enrich their child socially and intellectually, so when I learned of the service learning and leadership program in the Dominican Republic from Julie at ACIS I was interested. I didn’t have any expectations of the weekend, but I have to say that it left a big impression on me. I came away with a better understanding of what true service learning means. The phrase “doing with, not doing for” resonated with me. Sharing ideas. Compassion. Working on solutions together.
What do you think students would take away from a leadership themed trip (as compared to a regular educational travel experience)?
It is a much more intense and intellectual service experience that involves students at every step. With the help and guidance of the expert ACIS team in the DR, the students are immersed in the program from prep work to management to assessment. They take turns leading the activities and learning to become advocates for those who don’t have a voice. Students leave with a sense of empowerment and the confidence to become leaders in service to others back home.
Did the experience inspire you to suggest a leadership themed trip to your school community?
This type of program is very much in line with the mission of my school which hopes to instill in our youth the importance of becoming life-long crafters of peace, not only in our local communities but in the bigger world. ACIS does this by taking a student service trip to the next level. I look forward to leading a trip to the Dominican Republic very soon!
Interested in forming your own leadership trip?