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Tips & Advice

Spending a Summer of Service in DC

Most people start getting excited for summer around the time of spring break, but I’ve been looking forward to my summer since December! During finals week last semester, I found out that I had been accepted to the Institute on Philanthropy and Voluntary Service and that I’d be spending two months of summer in Washington DC! After six months of anticipation, here I am, getting ready to board my cross-country flight.

For the last 13 years, I’ve spent at least a week at the same resident camp every summer.  In high school, I started the Counselor-In-Training program, which meant anywhere from 21-28 days in the mountains and, after graduating high school, I became a counselor for the following two years, where I spent three full months at camp.  Camp has been my summer home and, subsequently, I usually start looking forward the summer months as early as October!  Now that I’m about to be a junior in college, this will be my very first summer spent with internet access and not in a tent.  With today’s pressure to stay ahead of our peers in terms of experience and accomplishments, I’m surprised this hasn’t come sooner.

When I start my first class on Monday morning, this year’s counselors will be performing lice checks and meeting their campers for the first time; while I’m sitting in an office, they’ll be teaching 15 young girls self-confidence, independence, and to love the outdoors.  I’ll be the first to admit that I’m going to miss my summers at camp, but I also recognize the importance of taking your passion and talents to the next level, which is what I’m hoping to achieve over the next few months.

As of tomorrow, I will be taking classes at Georgetown and interning at Youth Service America until mid-August.  I’m genuinely looking forward to my classes, especially because they’re on nonprofit management, which is something UC Berkeley doesn’t offer, and I hope that they will expand my knowledge of public service in America, allowing me to put them to work in my own nonprofit.  With a 9:00AM - 9:30PM work and class schedule, I can already tell that this summer is going to be challenging and fly by quickly, but I definitely believe it’ll be fun as well.

During the summer, whether you choose volunteering, working, taking classes, being a camp counselor, or interning, you really can’t go wrong - as long as you do something that’s helping you to hone and employ the skills you’ll need to be successful in the longrun.

After I get a few more weeks under my belt, I will be excited to report out on more specifics of my summer in DC!