Whitney in Florida

Whitney is a junior from Albuquerque, New Mexico, who is an international studies and premed major. At SMU, she serves as a resident assistant and is involved with Campus Ministries. This summer she has an internship in Florida in a church youth department, and in the fall she will study abroad with SMU-in-Copenhagen.

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Planning a mission trip

I am back in Florida again for another summer of interning, and I must admit, I meant to start blogging much sooner. I can hardly believe that I have been here for five weeks already.

In the beginning, I was very nervous about returning back to the same church where I worked last summer. I stressed out about whether the kids would remember me, whether the connections I made last summer would still be there, and whether I would be able to “get back into the swing of things.”

I am happy to say that things are going so well I feel like I never left. Returning back for a second summer has brought many challenges that I definitely did not expect. When I first worked here last summer, the first half of the summer was spent just learning the job and getting to know students. This summer I have been given a lot more responsibility right off the bat, which is both awesome and intimidating.

I have already planned a recognition service for our graduating seniors, coordinated transportation to the camp we are going to, and planned and led a 6th-grade mission trip. I just returned Friday from this trip, which was the first I was directly responsible for. I think that it is impossible to understand the immense amount of responsibility that planning and leading a trip like this entails until you are the one actually in charge of it.

The students, along with some adult volunteers and myself, worked at a food bank for a day and then went tubing the second day. Confession: tubing in the murky waters of North Florida scares the dickens out of me. Add this to the responsibility of keeping track of 13 6th-graders while floating down aforementioned river, and a very interesting experience is surely created.

At one point, I thought we had lost one of our Adult volunteers along with three of our students. It turns out that one of them got hung up on a log protruding from the river. Without any cell phone communication, and having no other way of knowing, I spent a very tense half an hour waiting for them to reach the bottom of the river.

Overall, I think that the students had a great time, and many of them shared with me their excitement for the trip. At the end of the day, putting all of the stress aside and knowing that I’m making a difference in students’ lives makes it all worth it.

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