In This Issue:
Idle summers? We think not. Lazy was by no means on the agenda for three teens who shared their summer 2010 experiences with Career Fuel. You can bet that their travels will influence decisions they make in the future—even if it means that at least one of them launches a career as a successful circus performer. Here are their stories:
When Tim Spencer, a senior at Hunterdon Central High School, signed on to participate in his church youth group’s mission trip this summer, he no doubt expected to travel far away, possibly to Central America, to help build a school or participate in some other kind of valuable community-building project. Who knew he would spend a week only 45 minutes from home?
“We went down to Urban Promise, a nonprofit in Camden,” explains Tim, 17. “I was a camp counselor for a week working with underprivileged kids. I specifically worked with second graders. It was tons of fun. I’ve never had so much fun working with little kids in my life. Overall, it showed me that poverty is so close to home. The people in Camden have the same struggles that you and I have, but they don’t have the resources to deal with them.”
After Tim’s counselor duties ended each day, he and a few other guys headed to North Camden, where they worked three hours a day to spruce up the grounds of a Lutheran church that had fallen into disrepair. “We did landscaping and general cleaning,” says Tim, who runs his own landscaping business on the side. “We built it up to pretty nice standards.”
If you happen to ask Helen Taylor, a sophomore at Montgomery High School in Skillman, what she did this summer, you had better have a few minutes to spare for her response. What she didn’t do was sit still.
The final school dismissal bell had hardly stopped clanging when Helen and her family were off to the opening of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal theme park in Orlando. Awesome trip; long lines.
By the end of June, Helen had packed her duffel for a six-week stay at Camp Cayuga in Pennsylvania’s Poconos region. “You get to choose different activities every day,” says Helen, 15. “I did a lot of horseback riding and circus trapeze. I can’t do that anywhere else, so I really got into trapeze. It’s quick, and if you make one mistake, you’re done. The rush is cool.” Of course, Helen also took up meditation—no doubt to counteract her trapeze training.
Soon after returning from Cayuga, Helen left for a four-day trip to Washington, D.C., where she checked out the White House and “every museum known to man,” including the International Spy Museum that offered up an interactive spy mission. Once home, she barely had time to unpack her magnifying glass before she was off again to the Poconos, this time for a week of cheerleading camp with 22 other girls from her team at Montgomery High. “We cheered 24/7,” says Helen, who was selected while at camp for the All American national team. “We bonded as a team and we’re a lot closer. But I’m not going to lie—the living situation at camp was not the best, two showers and two toilets for 23 girls.”
When your summer is as busy as Helen’s, you learn to take the good with the bad—and you take a minute to reflect on all you’ve experienced. “I learned that I’m not going to like everybody. If someone I don’t like is in charge, I’ll have to deal with it and go with the flow,” says Helen, who hopes to pursue a career in fashion. “I definitely did not know that before.”
While many of us were lounging on a Jersey Shore beach, Harrison Richlin was climbing four mountains and doing a week of Gadna, basic training in the Israeli army. “Being Jewish is close to my heart,” says Harrison, a senior at Mt. Olive High School.
Harrison, 17, spent six weeks this summer with his Young Judaea group in Israel. In addition to physical activities, he also tapped into his spiritual side. “We volunteered with a group of Ethiopian children who had just emigrated to Israel because of the poor treatment of Jews in Ethiopia,” says Harrison. “We got to play with them. That was one of the best things I’ve experienced in my life. I got to work with the kids, have fun and see them smile even though they were in a tough situation. My trip to Israel was amazing.”