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How did you spend your summer after graduation?


In my world, graduation season just wrapped up. Five Teens and Five Young Adults graduated from their respective high schools and universities, ready to embrace the future. As their congregation's Youth and Family Director, it's been a blessing watching them grow up, grow in their faith, and grow into their passions. It's exciting to see their journey and see the adversity they have overcome, the challenges they have faced. 

In some ways, it's caused me to reflect upon my own journey. High School Graduation only feels like a short time ago, but in fact.. this is my 20th year reunion! I graduated from James M. Bennett High School May 30th, 2001. It seems like forever ago, but whew, those years have flown quickly by! 

As I hear about the summer plans of St. Paul's teens and young adults, they are excited for their futures. Some are working part time jobs, some university students have already found full time employment, and others are spending their summers traveling, seeing friends, and enjoying life before they buckle down and begin another round of academics. 

It prompted me to reflect upon my own summer after the 2001 Graduation. Honestly, I don't remember much of that summer! I'm sure we went on a family vacation. I was not allowed to attend any "senior trips" but I lived 30 minutes from the beach, so life was always an adventure. I'm sure we had a family vacation, but I really don't remember where we went, if we did go anywhere! 

I know that I spent the month of July, and turned 18, at a Young Life Camp in Michigan. This was a rustic camp but it was full of life and energy. I spent a month of my summer volunteering to make a difference in the lives of middle school students. This was the first time when I realized that I had passion for helping middle schoolers grow and succeed. 

Most of us hated our middle school years: they were awkward, painful, and we try to block them from memory. I think these formative years are the exact times when they need caring young adults and adults in their lives. Most just want someone to talk too!

Anyway, back to my summer at this camp: it was fun, it was amazing, and it sparked me on a journey I don't think I could have imagined. This was the first step to deciding upon Middle School Education as my major. God's plan for me changed and in my university career, that major developed into Youth and Family Ministry= so I still teach middle schooolers, just in a different way! 

Not long afterwards, my grandfather, mother, and myself loaded my Uncle Johnny's Van with supplies and headed off on the 8+ Hour Road trip to arrive at Lenoir Rhyne University. The place that ended my summer, but started another amazing journey. 

What do you remember of your summers after graduation? If you have a graduate in your home, what are their summer plans? How different are they compared to yours? 

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