Saturday, June 1, 2013

Sweet Summertime!

Hello everyone!

I hope everyone’s having a fantastic summer…I know I have been. It’s been super busy, filled with work, conferences, and various adventures. I guess since I gave that little tidbit, I can fill you in on some more…

For the first part of my summer, I barely had a break, and after a few days of moving my massive amounts of belongings home, I was actually back on campus, leaving on a bus to Gardner Webb for a ‘leadership institute’ called LeaderShape. LeaderShape has been hosted by UNC Charlotte for over thirteen years now, and is probably one of the most awesome experiences I’ve ever had. Little did I know, complete strangers would soon become some of my great friends that will always give constant support, kindness, and friendship.  

I was sent to LeaderShape because of my position as Homecoming Co-Chair. Other organizations and groups like CAB, Student Government, Greek Life, UTOP, and more also sponsor students after an application process. I arrived and was paired with a random roommate, and assigned to a high-rise style dorm where we could all get close and personal. (Something I never even experienced before due to my freshman year in Witherspoon!) Every morning bright and early until late at night, we all got to participate in different activities within our ‘family clusters’ to which we had been assigned, small random groups, and the large group as a whole. These activities created our LeaderShape family, instilled trust, and helped everyone solidify dreams and goals that could be supported throughout this community. Throughout the week I was able to participate in Venture activities, games, panels and even intense talks. It was a wonderful time to grow as a person and helped me realize how much more I wanted and was capable to do in life! Everyone should have to opportunity to go to this awesome institution. 

My awesome family cluster and our facilitator...go Anti-Gravity!

My sisters that were also selected to attend LeaderShape with me!

After getting back from LeaderShape, I started my usual lifeguarding job. However, it was time for my birthday present that I ‘received’ in March to be put to use. What is that present you may ask? Skydiving! Talk about the ultimate thrill. Falling through the air at 120 miles per hour was crazy, and actually felt like I was floating…not that rollercoaster-stomach-falling-gasp-gulp-drop that you would expect! Below are some awesome pictures!

Don't lie, you know you love my new hat.

Simply awesome.

Now back to working…I work waterfront, which is nice because I spend my day in the sun and with kids on the lake. I enjoy it! In the back of my mind though, every day, is MY SUMMER TRIP! For my next adventure, I will be traveling to Cape Town, South Africa, to work in a educational facility in the community called “Where the Rainbows Meet”. It’s a place where students of all ages can get all kinds of education, whether it be in language, basic school, sports, or my forte, computers. I’m very excited to share my knowledge of IT and help young adults build up resumes that can help them be more involved in their communities…it will be a great experience.

I just received my rooming assignment a week ago, and I will be living in a house that hosts volunteers often. I will be staying with three other girls who are also volunteering or interning through Project’s Abroad. We are in the valley of  Table Top Mountain National Park, about ten minutes from the beach, and twenty from the center of Cape Town. I have attempted to start packing, but it’s difficult to remember it will be winter when I arrive! Unlike my shorts I wear everyday here, I actually have to pack my winter boots and long sleeves!
Where I will be in less than a month!

So that is my summer thus far. Away from the crazy and bustling school life, and more into the relaxing working side, it can sometimes get mundane. However, I always try to look for adventure in even the smallest moments. Because after all, what is life but one big adventure? Remember…

“The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear…” –Eleanor Roosevelt

XOXO, Elizabeth

Happy summer!