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Hi, I am Ellie from Chicago. After working as a camp counselor in Wisconsin for part of the summer, I am now about to begin my gap (growth) year, which has two main components. First, I am participating in a 13 week program in a small group setting at the High Desert Center located in rural Paonia, Colorado. The first 7 weeks we will be learning how to farm and live off the land with a lot of backpacking and sustainability skills. For the last 6 weeks, we backpack down to Mexico with a 70 L, 40 lb bag! We then live in Mexico not as tourists, but in a village with locals, hopefully learning much while providing some aid. Then, come 2023, I am off to the Big Island of Hawaii to work as a farmer for six months. The organization is WWOOF (World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms). I will be living in a yurt on the farm, while growing and harvesting all of the tropical fruits you can think of: papaya, bananas, mangos, cacao, passionfruit, guava, and so much more! When I am not working I will be exploring the island – whether that be hiking through dense rainforests, snorkeling through reefs, or learning more about the native Hawaiian culture. I cannot wait to begin this journey! Aloha!

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