Reflections of AO04

This year's group was very small in number, but exceptionally large in Heart.
An AMAZING, all female, Kick Butt - Take Names group that now holds the AO Grand Canyon Hiking Record of 9 hours 10 mins. - round trip.
This group also is the only AO group to hike the 20 mile Half Dome Summit Hike and climb the Cables.   
Check out this website to see just how difficult this is: 

Dave Barlow, Director

WOW! There was so much info given, everything was covered
and everything was given in detail.
Dave Rocked!!
Okay!  Junior Enrichment  WE as NC Teaching Fellows have an opportunity to do something different & bold!   Yes, I'm sure it is rewarding to work at Special Olympics or do a photography school, but we need to take chances while we can & explore this amazing & beautiful country when given opportunities 
DO AO!!!!!
3 Best Activities
Rockin up Half Dome  An accomplishment that I never knew was possible but once begun, I never doubted myself.
Snake River and Jackson Hole  "Yay Wyoming  Enough Said"
Grand Canyon Hike  I knew from the beginning that it would be a challenge but completing it was wonderful!
"American Odyssey is a trip you start out with having no clue what to really expect, not knowing a soul, and come out with an appreciation for yourself and this country that you didn't think could be as strong as it is, along with a new family.  This family is truly a family  - a family that will push you to your extreme limits but will never let you fail & a family to support you when you need comforting.  This experience is truly unforgettable, but one you have to experience for yourself.  Take on this challenge and reward yourself with this feeling that no words could ever begin to explain."

Lauren Riggan
Teaching Fellow, WCU

I expected it would be fast paced if we were to see and do all that we wanted to do in 30 days.
I expected sleeping in tents and tarps  too bad we had to sleep in tents so much though!
Activities were above and beyond what I could have ever imagined! 
"I don't see why people wouldn't want to do this!  It's such a spectacular opportunity to see our beautiful country & meet Teaching Fellows and other people and make friends.  It's also an amazing opportunity to examine yourself and go a long time without showers!"

Name the three best activities.
Sorry! I couldn't pick just three!
Hiking Half Dome at Yosemite and lying on the beach the day after.
Hiking the Grand Canyon on my 20th Birthday!!!
Playing on the white sands in New Mexico & watching the sunset there.
All of Wyoming!!  An amazing place to see and experience the Rodeo, flat roads, Whitewater rafting, Jackson Hole! Billy's Giant Hamburgers  all with my AO Family!

What specific suggestions do you have for improving this travel/study experience?
None!  It was spectacular the way it was!

"I would recommend this trip to anyone and everyone I know who would be able to go.  It is definitely an odyssey and an adventure, but something I think everyone should experience.  As long as you come into the trip with an open mind, knowing that it is whatever you make it, it's going to be the best time of your life.  Our AO Family is so close that it's going to be weird to part from them and live life with out them now!  The Journey truly was the Destination in this trip and what an Incredible Journey it was!  I wouldn't trade this trip and my AO family for anything in the world!  I love you all!"

Lindsey Moon
Teaching Fellow, NCSU

I think everything went extremely well all things considered.  The examples of Dave and Tracy as Staff were Awesome!
I kinda didn't know what to expect, but I enjoyed the fast pace. (I would've liked to have more time in Chi town, he he  wonder why?), the six showers added spice and good smelly times in the van, and no one can replace Half Dome, Grand Canyon, Night Two, The Fire Academy(s), and riding in the van for hours.

I recommend this experience to future Teaching Fellows.  Strongly Agree.
Please Elaborate.  Why or why not.
I cannot imagine any other experience to be more "enriching."  I was challenged in every aspect that someone can be challenged, bonded with three of the best women possible, and have seen more of the US than most my age and even older; you just can't get that any other way!
Best 3 things!!!
Night 2  Teambuilding and anticipation of Chicago
Pow Wow
Half Dome
Grand Canyon
Snake River
Jackson Hole
Street Festival in San Francisco
It was best to interact with the cultures of the people around us, and these
activities highlighted those around us rather than ourselves.

Thanks Papa D!!!  I'll come back and be a Staffer any day!
Honk if you like our Tumbleweed!

Sara Smith
Teaching Fellow, UNC-CH

I was told that we move fast and we did, and I personally liked the faster pace.
I was told that we "Tarp it" most nights, We did and it was Great!
I new every day what we were doing and was prepared for it well.
AO is so much fun as well as being a Teambuilding experience.  It is a time to meet and make new "Family" and build life long relationships.
3 Best Things!!!
White Sands.  It was so beautiful and the sunset was the best part.
Grand Canyon.  It was so much fun with Dave and Tracy.
Half Dome.  It is the hardest thing I have ever done!

"This is an Awesome Trip and it is the best summer I have ever had!  Please keep this program running because it would be a shame to ever lose it!"

Katherine Buehler
Sophomore, The Cannon School

"This was a wonderful leadership and youth experience for the future Teaching Fellows.  These women will know firsthand much of the terrain of their country and can pass this on to their students." 
"I was amazed at all the girls summiting Half Dome and the way they pulled together and supported Sara & Sara in turn helping Gary.  The hike down Grand Canyon was also a record breaker  especially with Gookinaid!!  I was definitely going outside my limits and was able to do seemingly insurmountable tasks especially when we summited Half Dome as an AO group."
"Dave was Great!!  He kept a positive attitude for most of the trip.  He is used to being around young people and really loves being around them.  He is an excellent instructor and storyteller.  He always had some interesting lesson on clouds or rocks or a neat story to tell.  I learned a lot from him."

Heather Sugg, Staff, AO04