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Feedback from the US

Below you can read what former EXIS volunteers in the US says about their stays there.

It’s Becky from ACE. I’m back home now, and never really got a chance to say goodbye, or to formally thank you for the incredible month I just had the privelege to experience. Joining ACE, even for such a short amount of time, was one of the best decisions I ever made. I’d be amazed if you didn’t hear these things all the time from your volunteers, and am sure that some of this gets repetitive after a while. But at the risk of sounding unoriginal, I just wanted to tell you that ACE has left a lasting impression on me, and I know I’ll continue to think of and miss everything about it for years to come.

I love that I got to know Flagstaff.
I love that I formed some of the most mean-ingful relationships of my life in a four-week period, with people from across the globe.
I love that I pushed myself.
I love how hard the work was, how many times I thought I couldn’t go on doing it, and the fact that I did. I just did it. And walked away in the end with an unbelievable sense of pride and accomplishment, and overall gratitude for what I just been a part of.

My only regret at this point is leaving. It’s only been a few days and already ACE feels like a distant memory. Yes, it was that different from anything else I’ve ever done, that separate from my normal everyday life. That unique and that meaningful. And I miss it terribly.

So thank you, for all you’ve done and all you will do, for bringing so many beautiful souls together to learn and work and embrace the thrill of challenges. And for allowing me to take part, if only to get a small taste of what an important and life-altering program ACE really is.

I hope to perhaps find my way back to Flagstaff someday.
Take care and a hundred thank you,

– Becky

It has been amazing!!! Probably the best project was in the Grand Canyon 9. Actually I don’t have word to explain.

People are friendly and projects interesting!!! Great!!

– David, Spain

Thank you for letting me have many good and exciting experi-ences with ACE. Especially I liked the project to Hells Hole 🙂 My last project was with Gavin to Zion. We had this really beautiful remote camp site and “the Subway” trail as we work on was incredible.

We met the Utah conservation group and worked some hours with them. The day before we hiked out of the Subway, Gavin took a hike with a lot of our tools back to the van. But it was quite late so he had to go back in the dark. I “decided” for my self that he should be back at a certain time and when he wasn’t I got kind of nervous, so I made Anne (from Denmark) a little nervous too and we asked Georgio to stay awake with us.

At about ten o’clock we hiked a little towards the van because it was a spot there were we could see for a long distance. And we saw Gavin up there in the wood (40 min. hike away from us) so we sat down and looked at him, and we laughed a lot. What we didn’t know was that Gavin thought he had “gone crazy”, as he said: he heard female giggling voices all the time from somewhere in the wood, the sound goes far I think. 🙂 ..mucho fun

So thanks for my five weeks with ACE. Five weeks is definitely too little time and I would love to stay longer!

Best wishes for ACE in the future and take care.

– Marit, Norge

I absolutely feel that ACE offered an interesting and rewarding rotation of projects. I got to try fencing, trail work, working with the American CREC program, and even roofing. I got to see both the North and South Rims of the Grand Canyon, Zion, which is the most beautiful place on Earth, and my last project was in the Utah desert where I found the peace and quiet to reflect over my time with ACE. I am a city girl. When I came here I was not used to long, heavy, hiking, or using tools like the pick mattock, etc. Now I feel comfortable using tools doing extensive hiking, and I’m looking forward to going hiking in the Swedish mountains next summer. Also with CREC I learned valuable skills.

They took the time to explain why we were doing what we were doing. And in Zion I learned a lot about planting, etc. I have already recommended ACE to my friends. The project in New Mexico was a real challenge for me but I felt so good on completion. Great crew, beautiful nature, we got to see cowboys in the wild and Josh is the best supervisor ever, so supportive and motivating. The most positive aspect of ACE is that you grow as a person; you get to know yourself, what your limits are, what you’re good at etc. I’ve never experienced anything like this before. I lost track of how many times I spontaneously started crying out of happiness to be here. It’s a great experience and you will remember ACE for the rest of your life.

– Asger, Norge

Friday night I had to say goodbye to the last ACE-people Julian, Vanessa and Sarah in the airport in Phoenix. The people I knew best after my time in Flagstaff. It was very sad, but without ACE, I never would have met these people. Therefore, I am ACE thankful for this.

In relation to ACE and the projects, I cannot complain about anything. It was a nice time and I enjoyed the work and the heat. It is awful to be back in Denmark with cold weather and my studies. I would have preferred a week or two more in Bryce Canyon or another project.

Because of my impressions of ACE as a program and the work, you and the volunteers are doing, I would like to spread out the knowledge of ACE in Denmark. If you think, it is a good idea and need more volunteers from Denmark? I know that Exis is the cooperating partner for you in Denmark, but I never have seen a poster or an advertisement about ACE and for me and maybe others its just great luck if we see the website for Exis and through that get the possibility to join ACE. I just thought about it and of course, it is your decision

– Søren, Denmark

I had a great time in many ways: getting to know people from so many countries, the beatiful landscapes of America and its National Parks, the experience of dealing with another culture, the feeling of doing something to preserve the enviroment. I have also learn some things about myself (for example, I´m in a really good shape!!) I think the ACE experience is a challenge, an adventure, a lesson…a life experience. I enjoyed almost every minute, even when the projects were hard (and two, were really, really hard) but that´s part of the experience. Dealing with some problems, testing your limits…

The people working in ACE is friendly, positive and helpful so I´m very thankful to them (specially Kazuko and some supervisors like Tom Wilson, Diana Di muro, Chris Burling, John… I´ve learnt a lot from them and I hope, maybe, they´ve learnt something from me).

I´ve made a lot of friends as well. People I didn´t even know they exist four months ago, but after sharing some amazing experiences I feel very close to them now.

So in conclusion, for my, ACE has been a life experience I´ll never forget. Hopefully I´ll come back to these places some day…

– Yago, Spain