Although sixth grader Kaya is just starting her third week at EXPLO, she's been stepping out of her comfort zone in activities, courses, and workshops. She's learning to help others — and can't wait to help her brother learn some new skills when she's home.

I think I’ve learned how to help people here. During my Re-edited Movies course we had to work as a group; I already knew about iMovie but my partner didn’t, really. I took a deep breath and, instead of doing it all by myself, I taught her how to use it and suggested what might look good. I miss my family a lot, but I feel like once I go home I’ll be able to teach my brother things I've learned. If he needs help with anything, like homework, I’ll be able to help him more. 

I feel like I’ve done a lot of activities here that I’ve never done before, like No-Sew Stuffed Animals and Dungeons and Dragons. I really liked the spell book making activity. We used notebooks with glue, water, tissue paper, and foam, then decorated them with acrylic paint. I really like arts and crafts, but I don’t have a lot of supplies at home.

It’s really hard having so many options for activities, because there are like five things that I want to do every time and I have to narrow it down to just one. Normally I think, “what have I done before?” and I rule that out (even if it’s fun). If you try something new you might fail, but then you know you can work on it to become better, and it makes you a better person because of it. I tried Guided Meditation the other day — we had to sit for an hour and not really do anything, but it gave me time to think.

I’m surprisingly good at Archery even though I’ve never done it before. Today was my first day at Archery. After practicing safety we got to start shooting. One of the arrows I shot didn’t hit the target at all but it went really far. A couple of arrows got really close to the bullseye! My goal is to pop a balloon with an arrow — when I do, I’ll feel like I accomplished something really great.