Team Leader Spotlight: Siri Dusek

Team Leader Spotlight

Siri Dusek

Program location & year(s): La Push, Washington, June 2019 and January 2020

Siri recently graduated from St. Catherine University with a master's degree in Occupational Therapy. Throughout college and graduate school, she has had the opportunity to study abroad three times in Guatemala, Italy, and Ecuador. She loves traveling, meeting new people, reading, camping, hiking, and learning!

Why do you lead teams?

I lead teams because Xperitas offers a form of ethical, intentional, and authentic travel I have rarely seen. You get to live in a community and learn what life is like in the midst of a regular week. You gain chances to confront personal biases and learn about ways of life that are likely different from your own. The trips are a safe place to learn, grow, make mistakes, and build friendships in a unique way. You gain the opportunity to listen to voices and learn about issues you may have not heard of before. I lead teams because I find joy in learning from the community and the team, building relationships, facilitating reflection, and taking baby steps in becoming a more aware global citizen.

What aspect(s) of the program do you feel has resonated most with the groups you have led?

I have noticed two major impacts on the groups that I have led. The first is the relationship building between the team members and the second is relationship development with the team and community members. I believe both are very important for a successful trip. The team spends a significant amount of time together learning and processing their experience. It is delightful to see the bonds that form in teams that make the whole experience impactful to the team members. I think team members spending authentic time with community members and hearing their stories is also part of the beauty of the design of Xperitas Programs. After only a week, teams leave feeling they have made friends in the community because of the long-standing partnerships Xperitas sustains.

What has been your most fulfilling moment as a Team Leader?

I love watching transformational growth in people from their experiences with the community. I also enjoyed going back to La Push for the second time and being reunited with many friends there! The most fulfilling moments are the simple moments, the times when the team and community members are spending genuine time together playing games, cooking, or telling stories.

What advice do you have for someone interested in leading teams?

My advice is to take a risk for yourself and to do something that pushes you beyond your comfort level Leading teams has given me the opportunity to develop invaluable skills in communication, relationship building, responsibility, and leadership. Also important is an excellent group of friends found in MSP and through community partnerships. If you are looking for a supportive, interesting, group of people and a challenging/rewarding experience - become a team leader!!