Posted by Bettina Velona on Nov 2, 2013
For October, I had planned a fun host family and au pair picnic at Honey Pot Hill Orchard in Stow. Unfortunately, that had to be cancelled due to rain. We had the au pair meeting at my house instead. In true fall fashion, we had apple cider donuts and apple cider. We also had a good-bye cake, saying our official good-byes to Lilly, Ning and Allegra who are leaving our cluster the next month.
For more photos of this meeting, you can go to October 2013.
Posted by Bettina Velona on Oct 27, 2013
This is one of my favorite regional events that we offer for our Boston area au pairs: a Harvard University tour. Counselor Patti Estabrook organized it this year and almost 100 au pairs showed up on a beautiful fall day.
Au pairs learned about student life and the diversity of one Americas oldest and most prestigious schools. Tour guides provided historical facts and stories. Did you know that the statue of John Harvard (which by the way is not John Harvard, but a student who was asked to model, in the absence of any known pictures of John) is the 3rd most photographed statue in the country?
For more photos, please visit Harvard Tour 2013.
Posted by Bettina Velona on Aug 27, 2013
We had a lovely afternoon at Nahant Beach last Saturday. The weather was just perfect! Summer is usually a time when a lot of my au pairs are traveling, but we still had a fairly big group.
This cluster meeting gave my new arrivals the chance to meet other au pairs from my group. A couple of them had just arrived 2 days ago. It was a nice mixture of new and more seasoned au pairs. A lot of connections were made and phone numbers exchanged.
Welcome all newcomers!
For more photos of our meeting, please go to August 2013.
Posted by Bettina Velona on May 30, 2013
This month we joined another cluster for a self-defense class with “Not Me” (www.not-me.org) . We gathered at Panera Bread in Lexington. Au pairs learned that healthy boundary setting is the first step toward defending yourself. Presenters Erik, Lisa and Melissa talked about their own experiences with boundary setting and talked au pairs through situations they might encounter. It was helpful to hear the signals we give to others unknowingly that indicate if we are an easy target or not.
We also discussed summer safety with children of different ages. This is an important component of the au pair program that aims at providing safe, quality childcare to our host families.
After the class, we said good-bye to Natalia who finishes her year next month and will go back to Costa Rica. We also said good-bye to Dennis who is moving to another Boston cluster. Good luck with your future endeavors!
For more photos, please go to Self-Defense
Posted by Bettina Velona on Apr 25, 2013
This month I led a yoga class for my au pair group at Together in Motion in East Arlington. We had a good time together and enjoyed some food and drink with chit-chat after the class.
For more photos go to Yoga Meeting
Posted by Bettina Velona on Mar 28, 2012
This month, we met another Boston area cluster for a visit to the Prudential Center Skywalk. Au pairs enjoyed the view from the 50th floor despite the fact that it was cloudy. Au pairs also learned a lot about Boston by using the audio tour device and reading up on Boston facts.
Afterwards, we walked over to Vapiano restaurant in the theater district. Counselors distributed a handout about spring activities, including child safety reminders. Each quarter, counselors hold a childcare/safety meeting with au pairs in an effort to ensure good quality childcare for their host families.
View from the top
For more photos of our meeting, go to Skywalk 2012.
Posted by Bettina Velona on Jan 20, 2012
This month we had a snowtubing event planned, but due to un-wintery conditions this week, we postponed it to February. On short notice, we had a small gathering two days later at my house. Since the meeting was smaller, we had the chance to talk about a lot of things. Au pairs had the chance to talk to me one on one about issues that they are dealing with. We also had a nice talk around the table about au pair topics, including child care, paying taxes, boyfriends and life with the host family.
Posted by Bettina Velona on Aug 16, 2011
Last week we met at my house for a relaxing summer barbecue. Summer is a busy time in the au pair world with many new arrivals, good-byes, and summer vacation. We welcomed Laetitia from France and Sina from Germany to our cluster. We said good-bye to Julia who will return to Germany the beginning of September. It was nice for the new arrivals to mingle with the more seasoned au pairs and get helpful tips from them. That is one of the advantages of being part of an au pair cluster that meets each month.
Our get-togethers always provide an opportunity for cultural exchange. While au pairs enjoyed traditional American barbecue dishes, they also shared food from their own country: Chinese salami and grilled vegetables as well as Thai desserts and specialties. Around the table, we had a vivid discussion about the university experience in different countries. Taking courses is an integral part of the au pair cultural experience. Au pairs are required to take 6 credits or 80 hours in the classroom. The new au pairs had a chance to talk with the more seasoned au pairs about educational possibilities in the Boston area.
For more photos from our meeting please visit barbecue photos
Posted by Bettina Velona on Jun 16, 2011
This month I teamed up with two other local counselors and we planned a trip to Concord, MA. The au pairs were going to start canoeing at the South Bridge and make their way to the North Bridge. There, we were going to welcome them with a prepared picnic. Unfortunately the weather did not cooperate that day and on the next day, which was the rain date.
We made the best of it and I met my group of au pairs for an inside picnic at my house. We sat around my table and had good conversations. These meetings are a chance for au pairs to talk about their experience as an au pair and bring up topics to discuss with the group. It is often very helpful for them to hear others talk about an issue that they might experience.
We also got a chance to say good-bye to Nadege who will be going home to France after 2 years. We welcomed two new au pairs, Mai and Meilikano to our group. I always have the departing au pair say a few words about her experience and suggest sharing anything she finds helpful with the newer au pairs.
For more photos please go to June Meeting
Posted by Bettina Velona on Mar 28, 2011
In addition to monthly meetings offered by each counselor to her au pair group, Au Pair in America counselors in the Boston area organize a regional event once a month that is open to all Au Pair in America au pairs in the Boston area. This month, 50 au pairs joined me and two other local counselors for the Prudential Center Skywalk
View of Boston
Blue, sunny skies made for breathtaking views from the 50th floor. Au Pairs were able to do an audio tour and learn more about the city of Boston and its landmarks. They all enjoyed getting to know the city they chose to come to a bit better. A true cultural exchange experience!
To see more photos of our regional event, please go to Skywalk 2011 or Heike’s Pictures