Ennis Youth Ambassadors Report From Phoenix

Emma Mertens and Estefania Lopez, both Phoenix Youth Ambassadors, spent three weeks in Ennis in June when they were home hosted by the Bradley and Hogan families. View Emma’s amusing, witty and entertaining blog at the following link. We think you will enjoy her take on Irish life! http://Emmainennis.tumblr.com


Meanwhile Elana Bradley & Ailbhe Hogan keep us up to date on their daily activities in Phoenix …. with help from Misty!

Day 1:  We toured the Japanese Friendship Garden, the Irish Cultural Center, enjoyed Navajo tacos for lunch, got to know one another, played some silly games, went over some basic rules and got some great looking program shirts and goody bags.  Off to a great start!

Day 2:  We shared American holidays and traditions with other visiting youth ambassadors. Tonight’s activities included a Halloween costume contest, trick or treating, swimming, 4th of July firecrackers, BBQ and lots of fun. 



Day 3:  Today the youth ambassadors volunteered at St Mary’s Food Bank preparing food boxes so that the less fortunate in the community have food for their families. The theme was community service, hard work and team building.

Day 4:  Today our group took a trip up north to experience one of the wonders of the world, the Grand Canyon. Also on this trip we took in the gorgeous views of the red rocks, shopped in Sedona and had a lot of bonding time to sing, hang out and get to know each other even better on our bus ride.                                                                                                                                                                                       

Day 5:  We dressed up, put on our dancing shoes and enjoyed an American Prom complete with royalty (congrats to our French Queen and Czech King) photo booth, dessert bar, games, prizes, DJ and lots of fun! Great nigh – we had a blast. This event once again proved that a teenager is a teenager no matter where your are from!                                                                                                                                     
Day 6:  Youth Ambassadors enjoy some fun in the sun and a few TV interviews at the water park. Media stars next … we wonder!   
Day 7:  The group gathered at a local restaurant for dinner. We made posters and painted our faces in preparation for the AZ Diamondbacks baseball game. We cheered on the home team, enjoyed Dback swag bags, cracker jacks and got on the Jumbotron twice. Lots of excitement and enthusiasm with the group bonding over America’s past time.  

Day 8:  We spent the day exploring downtown Phoenix. Our agenda included a workshop on Chinese Calligraphy hosted by the Taipei Committee, a warm welcome and exchange of gifts with Vice Mayor Waring at City Hall, riding the light rail, lunch at an old Phoenix favorite spot, a behind the scenes tour of the US Airways Center (home to local sports team – Phoenix Suns, Phoenix Mercury, AZ Rattlers and tons of concerts and events) and a visit to the AZ Science Center. It was a hot and busy day, but a great way to see and explore downtown Phoenix.

Day 9:  Phoenix Sister Cities supports and promotes higher education and is excited to feature Arizona State University and the world class education, study abroad opportunities and facilities it has to offer to YAEP. We visited the University today had some fun with the ASU mascot Sparky, attended some college admission workshops, had lunch and finished up the day with team building activities. Go ASU!  

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Day 10:  We travelled out of state today and visited the happiest place on earth, Disneyland. The group explored both Disneyland and California Adventures and helped confirm one of Disney’s most iconic mottos “It’s a Small World After All.”
                                                                                                    Day 11:  The students, their families, program sponsors and supporters gathered to celebrate a traditional Thanksgiving dinner. We were treated to a short program, fun student talent show (we all performed), silent auction, 50/50 raffle and a Mexican cultural performance with rope tricks. The food, the audience, the venue (Corona Ranch) was amazing!
                                                                                                                                                                  Day 12:  Today marks the last official day all 46 of the 2014 YA’s will be together. We gathered to break bread one last time all together, had a wonderful cultural presentation from the Himeji YA’s, reflected on what we all learned from YAEP and promised to stay in touch. We all received some photos to take home, a Phoenix Suns swag bag and a copy of the 2014 YAEP. Lots of tears were shed as tomorrow we will start saying farewell to our friends. Remember, it’s not goodbye, it is see you again soon.