The nostalgia comes in waves.

It’s that time of year again.
Anyone who prides themselves on being a camp counselor knows that time.
It comes normally after the excitement of Christmas, but often before the last frost reaches the ground.

The camp-sick-when-do-I-go-back feeling.
I’ve gotten this feeling every year of my life, since I was 6 years old.
Growing up in Oklahoma, I would just hang out with my Scout friends, or attend a troop camp.

Once I began working in Colorado it became harder to do that,
So I visit in December.

I’ve just come back from this December’s visit, and as always, my Scout sisters made it a week to remember.
Craft beer, good food, and trips down memory lane.
But what hit this time was… there is no more camp.

In more ways than one.
Magic Sky Ranch is not open again, so I can never return.
And, I graduate in May, which means, it may be time to say goodbye to that part of me.

Leaving Colorado this time was scary.
I don’t know when I’ll ever be back.
Ideally, I’d be on the first plane to Denver tomorrow,
But we all know that isn’t realistic.

Since coming home from Colorado I’ve been overcome with nostalgia.
My two summers at MSR were some of my best,
and the ladies that know me there make me my best.

I think of the highlights of my past two summers, and occasionally the lows.

Were you having a bad day at MSR? Just head right on into Ash’s middle room.
Someone will be in there to talk you through your moments.
Because we’re a sisterhood.

Hungry? You won’t be for long.
Not with all the good food we constantly had coming out of our kitchen.
Orange Cake! Cheese sauce for the cheese steaks! Anything and everything tomato free
You’re all welcome that the kitchen made a lot of alfredo sauce, and I like to share.

There was never a day I didn’t laugh until my sides hurt.
From silly things Scooby said, “John only has one wife right?”
To the insane things our campers say, I love breakfast meats”
Someone was always there to give that look to and just burst out laughing.

Being at Magic Sky generally made you feel good.
For some reason, the ladies I worked with think I’m one of the coolest people.
They always support me, and laugh at the borderline funny things I say.
They genuinely like me, and I’m shocked by it every day.
There is no better thing than to have a true support system that spans this country and a nice little section of this world.
It’s a scary world out there, but we have each other.

And most of all, I found my best friends.
The Southern Cuddle Puddle was founded because of Magic Sky.
Cinderella and Houdini are my life sources.
There is not a moment we aren’t there for each other.
Dory, Dory is my babe. She’s always there to make me laugh.
constantly tell each other about crazy things happening or reminisce about stupid things.
She will be my little sister forever.
Nessie, well I never knew it possible to have a best friend so far away in the world, but still be such good friends.
She’s always there when I need a good moan, or to tell my dreams to.
She’s one of the greatest little blessing, and it all came about because I forced our friendship.
Hell, this girl is willing to travel the world with me!
Yampa is literally who I want to be when I grow up.
It is hard to find someone with such a beautiful soul as her.
And my Super Nova sisters, you are my soul mates.
You’ve seen me cry the ugly tears, laugh the painful laughs, get terribly ill, be a bitch,
And every other thing of day in and day out life,
Yet you love me.

4,800 miles traveled strictly for work,
35 staff members each summer,
7 sessions each summer,
6 days on camp,
5 high ropes elements used,
4 rock walls open,
3 hour all camps on occasion,
2 summers worked,
1 big family.

The best thing is though, we can keep camp magic alive long after the gates of Magic Sky close.
A sweet text, a funny memory, a handwritten letter, or even a care package is enough to brighten a day all over again.

Wherever this world takes us, I cannot wait to spend time “on the loose” with my Magic sisters.
And know, wherever this world leads you, you always have a home in Oklahoma,
And coming soon, in Germany!

 

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Wild spirit, gypsy soul

Your twenties are your selfish years. It’s a decade to immerse yourself in every single thing possible. Be selfish with your time, and all the aspects of you. Tinker with shit, travel, explore, love a lot, love a little, and never touch the ground.

Some days I think I dream too much.
I can never make a plan, because there’s a thousand things I want to do.

It’s funny, because people think I can never make a set plan,
But the problem is, that’s all I want is a plan…
But I can’t nail down the one I want.

I’m a senior in college, and all around me it seems people are figuring out their plans.
Now before you say, “Sarah, you have a plan, you’re moving to Germany”
Please note, my job in Germany is a year-long.

My friends are figuring it all out though,
Maybe they don’t have a job yet,
But they know they soon will and from there, if they’d like, they have more than a year.
I do not, I physically cannot.
My visa will last a year, and then I have two options:

(1) Get the hell out of Germany and land myself right back onto the American soil I know so well.
(2) Figure out how the hell to stay in Germany, even though visas aren’t easy to come by.

I can hear you all now saying,
She’s persistent, Germany is what she wants, she can do this.
And yes, yes I can,
But that doesn’t make it any less scary.

Landing back in America after only year sounds like my personal idea of failure.

Also, if you knew any of my life plan prior to the acceptance of my job in Germany,
You might be questioning, Where does the Peace Corps fit in to her life now?

It’s ironic, isn’t it?
Something I decided to do to help my chances at the Peace Corps is the same thing that might keep me from ever doing the Peace Corps.
I was in Costa Rica when I decided,
I decided right then and there, I was going to join the Peace Corps.
That was my plan, I was going to do it directly after college.

Well a year later I was talking to a Peace Corps recruiter,
She told me my resume was impressive, but I needed MORE.
I either needed more experience with at-risk youth,
or I need more experience with teaching English.

Enter my brilliant idea of being an Au Pair.
What better way to get experience teaching English than living with a foreign family?!
It fit, it followed my dreams, it was perfect.

So that was my plan.
Live abroad in Germany for a year.
Go into the Peace Corps.

But suddenly, practically the second I accepted my position in Germany,
I thought: “I want to stay”
But I also want to do the Peace Corps.
Um, well, that sounds like quite the first world problem, but it’s my real life problem.
I stress about it constantly.
I can’t just give up my Peace Corps dream,
But can I give up my German dream?

When I was a kid, my dad used to tell me I had a one-track mind,
And I guess it’s true,
I gave up the Peace Corps idea so fast when I found out I’d move to Germany.
But at the same time, it hurts thinking I’ve given that dream up.
I think of the lives I could change while working with the Peace Corps,
and I’m reminded again why I want to do it, so I will.

If I can set my mind to it, I can achieve it…
So while my whole life seems unplanned, I do know some of what I want to do…

I want to be fluent in German.
I want to travel the world and see the sights.
I want to meet magnificent people.
I want to change lives.
I want to eat good food.
I want to fall in love.
I want to be tired at the end of the day, but filled with happiness too.
I want to adventure, to bless, and to live…

No plan is a good plan…
For now.

Maybe I’ll take this decade of my life and dedicate it to myself,
I have plenty of time to be a grown-up later.

So, sorry mom and dad, I’m a wild spirit.

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The timeline of a future Ex-Pat.

Dream until your dreams come true.

I recently announced my after graduation plans,
which are, moving to Germany.
A lot of people were shocked,
My closest friends acted like it was just another day,
because honestly, with me, it was.

Another big question is, “How do your parents feel?”
They’ve had a lot of time to accept the possibility of this happening.
Because I didn’t just decide to move to Germany on a whim,
This has been brewing in my head since I was a little girl.

Also, in case you don’t know,
Here’s the definition of an Ex-Pat:

Expatriate: a person living outside of their national country.

Age 7:
I was at a Girl Scout troop meeting, like any other.
I never knew this would be the special one.
We learned about the WAGGGS World Centers.
Located in England, Switzerland, India and Mexico.
Like every one else, I quickly fell in love with Pax Lodge in England.
After about a week the other girls in my troop dropped their obsession,
But I moved on, and somehow became obsessed with Our Chalet in Adelboden, Switzerland.

Age 9:
I decided I would go to Our Chalet for an entire summer.
Looking back I don’t remember if I made this up, or if this was an actual program offered at Our Chalet.
But the youngest age you could do that at was 13, so I waited.
I began saving every bit of change I could.
I had a gallon sized zip-lock bag labeled ‘Our Chalet’
I was determined I could pay my way through pennies.

Age 11: 
There were not many times during my blessed childhood that I had the realization,
“I am growing up in a wartime”
But I was going to be 13 in a few years time,
As always, spending my days staring at the Our Chalet website.
I don’t remember exactly how it happened, a combination of Our Chalet and my parents.
But suddenly, it became impossible for me to spend the summer there at 13.
A 13-year-old, American girl was not going half way across the world from her parents while a War on Terror was taking place.

Age 12: 
I was at a weekend of Girl Scout camp when a woman there began trying to convince my troop leader to take an exchange student.
Seeing that the exchange student was from Switzerland, my troop leader told me about it and showed me the girls info packet.
I convinced the exchange student woman to call my parents,
And when they picked me up from camp I was ready to beg.
Eventually, I don’t remember if it was days or months later, they took me out to Chili’s for dinner, and said…
Nadine was coming to America to live with us.

Age 13: 
Nadine came.
We adventured, we laughed, we cried, we fought, we bonded.
It was one of the greatest years.
I had an older sister that I loved, and she was Swiss, a beautiful bonus.

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Age 16, January 2010:
Don’t worry, while there is a gap in my ages,
I never fell out of love with Europe.
It was a few days after the new year of 2010 began,
My mom woke me up way too early and told me there was a surprise downstairs for me.
I automatically knew the red mustang I had asked for Christmas was about to be in the driveway.
It wasn’t.
But my passport was on the counter.
I assumed my parents were about to tell me we were going to take a cruise like they’d been talking about.
They handed me my passport, and then said, “Would you like to go to Switzerland in March?”
It came as no shock to them when I screamed “YES!”

Age: 16, March 2010:
I boarded my first international flight.
The travel bug had bitten me, and I would gladly be infected for the rest of my life.
I was in love.
Switzerland and Our Chalet was even more magical than I imagined.
It was, and still is, one of the greatest weeks of my life.
While there we learned about being a Our Chalet volunteer,
A volunteer lived and worked at Our Chalet for 3 months in the year.
On our way home my two friends and I decided, we will apply to be volunteers when we are old enough.

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Schaffhausen, Switzerland.

Age 17:
In March of 2011 I went to Germany, Switzerland, Liechtenstein and Austria with a group of girls from high school.
As we sat in the Frankfurt airport waiting on our flight back to America,
All the girls around me were saying “I can’t wait to be home”
And suddenly, when I sat there, listening to them, I realized…
I was home.

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Munich, Germany.

Age 18, July 2011:
I sent in my application for the Summer of 2012 at Our Chalet.

Age 18, March 2012: 
I was accepted as a Our Chalet Vollie.
I was officially moving to Europe.

Age 18-19, May-August 2012:
I was there.
I was doing it.
I was living in Europe.
A dream that I’d dreamt for over 10 years had finally come true.
But sadly, it all came to an end, and I had to go home and go to school again.

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Casually cuddling a cat and watching a sunrise on a mountain peak.

Age 19, fall semester:
I heard about an older member in my sorority being an Au Pair for the summer in Italy.
I decided to casually look in to it,
Then allowed the idea to go to the back of my mind.

Age 20:
After attempting to come up with so many options of how to move abroad.
I entertained the idea of Au Pairing again.
Also, let me explain what an Au Pair is…
It’s in short, a cultural nanny.
I will work 30 hours a week (by German law)
I decided to be an Au Pair after graduation, so I began looking for a family.

Age 20, March:
 I began talking to a family located in Munich, Germany.
It was small talk, nothing important, but I felt a connection.
But it didn’t take long for us to stop talking, like many other families I had chatted with.
Also for spring break, I traveled to Berlin, Germany.
Weirdly, my week-long Spring Break was actually the longest I’d ever been in Germany.
I began to feel at home,
I loved the people, the lifestyle, and I began to truly imagine life here.
Our first full day there we got pretty lost attempting to find the Jewish museum.
We finally found it, enjoyed our time there, then were off on our next part of the day.
As we sat at a bus stop, on a random street, I knew,
I was moving to Germany, someway, somehow.

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Age 21:
Suddenly, after I had turned 21 and began my senior year, that family in Munich contacted me again.
We chatted more, we skyped, and we decided.
I was to move to Munich in the summer of 2015.

I’ve been craving this, dreaming of this, and working toward this for 14 years.
For 14 years I haven’t stopped talking about Europe,
For 11 years I haven’t stopped trying to learn German,
For 5 years I haven’t stopped saying, “well when I was in Europe…”

So to everyone who’s stood by me in those 14 years,
And heard all of these dreams and handwork,
Thank you.
You’re all getting postcards.

And a special thank you for Queen J and Kev Kev.
You’ve been shown millions of Europe photos,
Heard thousands of European facts,
Sat through 11 years of German homework,
Funded 4 European trips,
And hosted 1 foreign exchange student,
All so I could achieve my dreams.

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These three made it all possible.

My parents never told me to limit my dreams,
So I never did.

So America, I guess I’ll catch you on the flip side…
maybe.

“And you can’t just take my dreams away–not with me watching”

When they told us the news that rainy July night,
It was easy to distance myself from it.
Ignore it, push it off in to the future.

But then September came, and I was on a plane to Colorado.
The closing of Magic Sky was upon me.
My feelings were a jumbled mess.
On one hand, I was back in a place that meant so much, with my best friends.
On another hand, I’d never be here again.

So thank you Magic Sky, and thank you Becky Saad.
The opportunity of a lifetime was not lost on me.
I loved making Colorado a home,
meeting so many who I will call a friend for life.

Young girls conquered fears of heights.
My arms will never not have splinters from the high ropes.
I had a partner who hugged me when I needed it, and I had a partner who insulted me when I didn’t need it.
But they both taught me about life and who I wanted to be.

Magic Sky,
You gave me a home,
best friends,
a little sister,
chances to talk about Switzerland.

I’ll love you forever.

Now, when I set out to write this blog, I wanted it to be tasteful,
I really did, but what I am about to say cannot be said with any other statement.
I think this accurately depicts what we are all thinking, but I’ll still apologize in advance…

Screw you council.

You said Magic Sky didn’t have a loyal following.
Is that why Ash has been on camp property every year since it opened?
Is that why kids came back 5 out of 7 sessions?
There was a return staff even after the craziness of Summer 2013.
And if it didn’t have a loyal following, why did I spend 300 dollars to be there to see it close?

You said kids wanted a more rustic camp.
What about Veronica? Who is so allergic to foods, she told us MSR was the only camp she was EVER allowed to go to.
What about every little girl who had a fear of the bugs?
What about the Denver Partner girls who cried as they hugged us goodbye, because this was the happiest week of their lives.
Some girls need rustic camping, some girls, well they need our little Hilton camp on the mountain.

Why don’t you try to be honest council, it wasn’t these reasons.
It’s because it’s an expensive camp.

Was I mad when Camp Kate Portwood closed in Oklahoma?
Yes, but I understood.
Councils had merged, and mine wasn’t the only camp closing.
We lost Red Rocks at the same time too.

You sat in your office and looked at the figures, deciding why we didn’t need this camp.
While I spent 6 days a week with children, learning why we needed this camp.

And don’t even try to invite me to work at another property owned by council,
You don’t even know my name.

And you sure as hell don’t know the names of the little girls who need Magic Sky.

Catie. Jenna. Izzy. Veronica. KayKay.
Allie. Caymen. Sarah. Ellie.
And hundreds more…

 

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I’m not crazy.

“Just because it’s ‘all in your head’, doesn’t make it any less real.”

I was recently asked,
“Why are you so negative?”
And is shrugged off the question saying my previous statement had been misconstrued.
But maybe it’s because, there’s a war in my head.

Does anyone remember the shows we watched as children,
Where every now and again the characters would have a decision to make,
the good angel and the bad angel would try to persuade them either way.

Well I’ve got a positive and negative angel.
Medically I guess you could call it anxiety disorder,
but whatever it is…
I’ve got to stop listening to the negative angel in my head.

Every move I make is shrouded with, “what can go wrong?”
Every friend I’ve ever had, I’ve occasionally thought, “that’s it, they hate me”
Need me to talk on the phone with someone other than my mother? Cue panic.

Some of my “what can go wrong” thoughts aren’t all bad,
And some are wildly unlikely.
Doing my job in Colorado, while belaying kids, I think “what can go wrong?”
And I can easily answer that, but it also keeps me very tuned in and accountable to make sure nothing DOES go wrong.
Some of the wildly unlikely ones involve normal every day things just making me overly nervous.
I can make myself so nervous that I am physically sick.

If we are friends, at some point I have thought you hated me.
You can look at me weirdly, you can say something slightly off, or you can do nothing at all,
And I will be convinced you’re mad at me.
At the current moment I have two friends I think are mad at me.
One because “He seems distant”
and another because “She doesn’t talk to me as much”
What do those excuses even mean? I don’t know, but it’s what my mind came up with.
Don’t try to rationalize with me, unless you are those people then you can do nothing to ease my mind.

The phone, oh god, the phone.
I’m 21 years old and making a phone call sends fear through me.
I can talk on the phone with my mother with ease, cause she’s mom, duh.
And I will talk on the phone with friends if needed, but I don’t love it.
(exception made for ONE person, because I don’t even know…)
But I especially cannot call people I don’t know.
Anything from inquiring something or ordering pizza,
I cannot talk to a stranger.
Which is odd, because I’ll never need to talk to them again

I’ve stopped friendships from ever even forming because of anxiety.
I lose sleep over thoughts of things that will never happen.
And sometimes, situations make me so anxious that my hands do weird things,
my mother and I have lovingly dubbed this, “pterodactyl hands”,
but all it really is a form of a mild anxiety attack.

But you know what,
I’m not crazy.
There are bad days and there are good days,
But just because I have bad days and every single thing makes me feel scared, it doesn’t mean I am crazy.
Forms of anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness,
and affects 18% of the American population.

So yeah, that’s it, I have anxiety.
And it’s a struggle,
But it doesn’t define me,
And it won’t stop me.

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The change is coming.

I wanna see a generation finally waking up inside.

This is it.
This is the time.

My generation is finally in the right position to make the changes the world needs.
In 2012 I decided to self-identify as a feminist.
And since that summer in 2012, feminism has risen in popularity.
But we still aren’t there.
BUT THINGS ARE CHANGING.

Feminism isn’t about hating men,
Or wanting power over them.
It’s about women being able to walk alone SAFELY.
Being able to accept a drink from a stranger without having to worry.
About being able to walk down a street without being yelled at.

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At the beginning of my junior year,
A sister was sexually assaulted.
Everyone took it hard.
It happened right outside our sorority house.
We didn’t feel safe.

I have the pepper spray,
But I’ve never used it.
Would I be fast enough?

I have an app on my phone that I can hold onto when walking alone,
If I let go of it, I have to enter a passcode.
If I don’t enter a passcode the app automatically calls cops to my location.

Apps like that are rising in popularity
And getting more accurate by the day.
And it’s GREAT!

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Also, I’m sure everyone has heard of it…
Some MALE students from North Carolina State University have been working on a nail polish that changes color when it comes into contact with any of the date rape drugs.
Now yes, your nails have to literally COME IN CONTACT with the drug,
So you might have to swish your finger around in the drink a bit,
But it’s a start, and it’s brilliant.

While I don’t know the exact stats,
Oklahoma State ranks in the top 5 universities for sexual assaults.
I cannot help but imagine that a handful of those involve date rape drugs.

While these guys haven’t figured out a way to stop rape,
They’re at least helping women be safer,
and better than that… They recognize that there’s a problem that needs to be solved.

Their nail polish has been all over the news lately.
Which means the fact that we as a society have this problem has been all over the news lately.
Which is a start.

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I got on Facebook recently and saw a few friends leading me to a link from Playboy.
To say I was concerned about what I would find was an understatement.

It was a flow chart to help men decide whether or not to catcall a woman.
I was a little furious.
Because I get catcalled when I am walking to and from class, and it’s annoying.
Nothing about my Nike shorts and the 100+ degree weather is saying I’m a hottie.

The questions on the flow chart start out like this…
“Is that Booty Bangin?”
If you answer, “It’s like a light knock” you’re lead to no, do not cat call.
And if you answer, “HELLSYA” you’re lead to the next question.

They continue on,
One question being, “Is she literally a cat?”
If you answer yes, you’re allowed to cat call.

At the moment I read this question I started thinking Playboy was just messing with me.
But I kept going.

The final question asks if you know her and if you have both consented to yelling sexual comments in public towards each other.
Only once you say yes to that question are you allowed to catcall the woman.
I. WAS. FLOORED.
Playboy had just told men what was up.
Playboy had just called them out.

I can imagine I don’t need to explain what the Playboy company is to you,
I imagine you know.
Which is why it floored me to have this company telling men catcalling wasn’t ok.

So, hat’s off to you, Playboy.

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Women are becoming a topic these days.
We aren’t where we need to be,
But we are taking steps towards where we need to be.

We’re living in the time of change,
And maybe, just maybe,
This will become a world fit to raise our future daughters in.

We can teach our daughters things like “If you want to be a CEO, you need to study some more, sweetie.”
Instead of, “don’t walk alone, don’t get raped, and don’t wear revealing clothes because it will provoke men”

So for your future daughters,
Let’s change the world.

 

The kindest words

Something we don’t do enough in our society is tell people what we think of them.
The kindest, heartfelt words of what we mean to someone.

These words can change someones perspective on themselves.
Or simply just truly make their day.

I try to often tell my friends how amazing they are.
And what they mean to me.
But the world gets in my way.

I get busy, bogged down and bummed out.
Some days nothing seems right.
I am often too busy focusing on myself to let others know how great they are.

We don’t give meaningful compliments enough.
WHY NOT? 
Everyone loves to hear good things about themselves.
Maybe it’s because we’re all vain, but regardless, it makes us happy.

This past summer I worked at a summer camp in Colorado,
And yes, it was full of hippies, but we often let each other know how important they were to us.
I could find notes in my mailbox recognizing an attribute about myself.
And you know what… ITS GREAT!

Maybe it’s just me, but I am always genuinely shocked when I find out someone likes me and wants to be my friend.
(I often try to force my friendship upon people…)

Some of the best things people said to me this summer are…

“You have always and will always be my friend. You always have a home in New Zealand.”  —Hanz

“Strong and mighty–gonna change the world. Yes, you are.” —Chipmunk (my boss!!)

“You meant the most to me this summer.”  —Nessie

“I know you will keep changing lives with whatever you do. Like you did mine.”  —Yampa

“You made me feel at home. I also admire your bravery and fearlessness.” —Star

These kinds of words are the words I tell myself when I am having an off day.
Crummy day?
Well my boss thinks I can change the world,
Yampa says I changed her life.
And Hanz tells me I can always come home in New Zealand.
How can I have a bad day when these people and so many more love me?

So let’s not focus on the negatives of our own lives,
Let’s focus on lifting people up.
Take every chance you get to tell someone how cool they are.
Your honest thoughts on them.

Your life is filled with these spectacular people,
Now fill their lives with joy.

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When I’m wiser and I’m older.

I waltzed into Tri Delta as a freshmen and took one look at those seniors and went,
“damn, they’re old”
I took one look at my G Big, Sarah, who was a junior at the time, and thought,
“Junior year is far off”

Well, junior year has come and gone,
And now… I’m the Ashlyn Pugh of our family.
My G Big is gone, as is my Big.
I’m the head of the family.
My small, small family consisting of me and my Little.

But three years in college taught me a few things, so here it is…
My “Lessons from a senior”
Listen to them, or don’t, but it’s here.

1) The first boy you meet will not be the last.
God Bless.
He wasn’t from Blanchard,
He was in a fraternity,
And he opened doors for me.
In my freshmen eyes, I had found Prince Charming.
In my senior eyes, I thank the good Lord above that one didn’t last…
To spare him embarrassment, I won’t say his name,
But damn, he sucked.
But he did provide stories that my friends and I still chat about to this day,
So thanks for the memories sir.

2) your first BFF may not be your last either.
My first college best friend was named Kristin.
We enjoyed a year and a half of living together,
And happily pledged Tri Delta together.
There were many good memories,
And I will gladly call her sister for the rest of my life.
But as we grew older, we grew apart.
It happens. I’m not bitter.
I love her dearly, and couldn’t have gotten through freshmen year without her.
But we are no longer best friends, and that’s that.

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3) That random girl you have class with? She may one day be your best friend.
We lived in the same residence hall my freshmen year.
She was in my recruitment group.
And then we had English together.
Suddenly we were inseparable.
She’s my best friend, and she’s carried me through it all.
I never thought I would say, but thank God for Bruner’s class…

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4) Big/Little is a sacred bond, cherish it.
My Big is my best friend.
My Little is my best friend.
I’m lucky to have both of these ladies.
But let me tell you, I’ve tried my absolute hardest to sabotage these relationships.
Without even really trying…
There have been days where I haven’t deserved these ladies, but after a moment or so, they come around and love me again.
I am blessed. Never ever take your Big or your Little for granted.
They’re your family for life now.

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5) Spring Break doesn’t have to be about the beach.
Spoiler Alert: I’ve had three college spring breaks and I’ve never been to the beach during them.
Freshmen year I went skiing with a pledge sister and my Big.
Sophomore year I went to Costa Rica.
and Junior year I went to Germany with a friend from high school.
All of these trips were joyous and spectacular.
There were adventures, life lessons, and made friendships stronger.
I wouldn’t take back even one moment of these trips to spend time on the beach.
Spring Break doesn’t have to be for drinking and sun, it can be for an adventure and seeing things you wouldn’t normally.

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6) Treat your body right, don’t drink cheap.
I won’t do it. I just won’t.
I’m not saying drink the most expensive alcohol you can find.
But I’m saying don’t drink the cheapest.
Your way less likely to get sick if you treat your body right and have alcohol that isn’t 1 step above rubbing alcohol.
Hangovers are terrible. Drink quality. Help prevent hangovers.

7) Be yourself.
Let me tell you a secret,
I read way too much TSM before I started college.
I thought I needed to look and act a certain way to be a good sorority girl.
Thankfully, I gave up that hoax and my sisters still love me.
(That’s how you know you’re in the right house)
But now I’m me, not what the internet told me to be.
My favorite hobby isn’t scouting out boys, it’s hiking and camping.
My clothes aren’t all preppy, I tend to wear combat boots.
I don’t even know how to curl my hair…
But it’s all right, I’m me.

8) If Starbucks can’t fix it, you have a real problem.
I can make a mountain out of a mole hill, as the saying goes.
Ask my roommate, there is always a crisis.
Sarah properly knows the way to fix this is, a trip to Starbucks.
If I am still moaning after a Starbucks latte and a cruise around the town,
The problem is real.
Sarah will proceed accordingly.
(She’s my BFF, I’m pretty grateful)

9) S.T.U.D.Y.
I used to think “I won’t remember the nights I spent studying, I’ll remember the nights I didn’t spend studying”
Then I realized, I’m an idiot.
I may not remember the nights I spent studying, but I will sure as hell remember flunking out of college.
I’ve made some bad grades in college.
It hasn’t been terrible, but enough to have to entertain the idea of possibly being kicked out of Tri Delta.
(Three semesters of a 2.4 or lower GPA will get you axed)
So I finally kicked my butt in to gear realizing my pin was on the line,
And landed myself a 3.5 GPA for the semester, the highest I had achieved any semester.
Apparently, if I put my mind to something, I CAN do it,
Which is what my parents have been telling me forever…

10) Don’t lose the Lord.
Saving the best for last.
Don’t lose sight of the Lord when you’re in college.
It’s easy to do.
Thankfully I had some really great help with this.
My first semester in college there were three extremely influential people who helped me with this.
My Big, who also happens to be Methodist, went to church with me every Sunday, and she even picked me up.
Corbyn Wheeler took me to Overflow every Tuesday night.
And Cody Faulkenberry bothered me about going to the ATO bible study every week until I finally started going on a regular basis.
Without those three I don’t know what could have happened, but I am so grateful for people like them.
The Lord is a constant in my life, to lose that would be to lose it all.

College has been a whirlwind ride,
And I know more adventures await me when I arrive in Stillwater for the last year.
And more adventures await me once I cross that stage in May,
But I’m just going to buckle in and enjoy.
(While keeping up with my school work, of course)

I'd say I've changed a bit since freshmen year.

I’d say I’ve changed a bit since freshmen year.

10 million girls… 1 voice.

I was 7 years old the first time I heard WAGGGS.
WAGGGS stands for World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts.

The mission statement of WAGGGS is:
“To enable girls and young women to develop their fullest potential as responsible citizens of the world.”

And one of their two goals is:
“Empower young girls and women to be agents of change in the world”

At age 7 I didn’t quit understand what those statements meant,
but now at age 21, I realize they’re the statements that shape my life.
All I want to do is change the world.
And apparently, my current boss believes I can.
“Small and mighty–going to change the world. Yep, you are”

Girl Scouting has always been a love of mine,
but mostly they are working on girls becoming self-confident and courageous.
WAGGGS is working on changing the world.
Something about that strikes more of a cord with me.

I was 18 years old when I boarded a plane to begin the WAGGGS journey I had dreamed of for 11 years.
I landed in Switzerland that cold May day, and my world changed, and I began to change the world.

“You put an ocean and a river between everybody.
Between everything, yourself and home.”

My WAGGGS home on the hill

My WAGGGS home on the hill

The summer I was there I talked with the most brilliant young women.
We talked about how we could change the world around us,
And the things that we believed needed to change.
Change comes in small chunks when you want to affect the world, but it still comes…

While I am a proud member of Girl Scouts,
I am an even prouder member of WAGGGS.

On Friday, at camp, we did a counselor scavenger hunt.
When camper groups found me, we had to ask them a trivia question before we signed their sheet.
I asked many WAGGGS questions.

The girls didn’t know where the four World Centre’s were located.
They didn’t know what WAGGGS stood for
And they didn’t know who inspired Juliette Gordon Low to say,

“Come right over!
I’ve got something for the girls of Savannah,
and all of America,
and all the world,
and we’re going to start tonight!”

To say I was disappointed would be an understatement.
Devastated would be more like it.
Girl Scouts, an organization that gave me WAGGGS, had failed these children in my eyes.

But something amazing happened later that evening.
At our closing campfire for all of the staff,
We wrote each other all nice notes.

One staff member wrote me and told me that I had changed her life.
I had inspired her to apply for Our Cabana,
the WAGGGS World Centre in Cuernavaca, Mexico.

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Also, throughout the summer, I was able to talk multiple times with my partner about my experience at Our Chalet.
Inspiring her to possibly apply to work at Our Chalet.

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These are two women who I would fully support in their endeavours to be world changers in the world of WAGGGS.
Honestly, I couldn’t select better women for these adventures.
Both of these ladies showed me beauty, talent, love, and adventure throughout the summer.

And mostly I learned, that it isn’t the organization that needs to teach girls and young women about WAGGGS.
It’s me, the one who has been there, who has the first hand story of WAGGGS.

So here’s to Jessie and Jessie taking over WAGGGS.
I’ll see you out there, “on the loose”

 

I have dreamed on this mountain.

The meeting started like any other.
We did some kudos.
We talked about the session.
We did unit assignments.
And suddenly my boss said,
“The next thing we need to talk about sucks…”
And we all waited with bated breath to hear the words that unfortunately every adult Girl Scout knows…
“Camp is closing.”

I was 17 years old the first time
I heard those words.
It crushed me.
I hated Girl Scouts of Western Oklahoma for closing my home.
So I ran away, and I came to Girl Scouts of Colorado.
Just for them to do the same thing to me.

I’ve worked at Magic Sky Ranch for two summers now,
And while many would say that’s only a short time,
I have gained so much.
I have made lifelong friendships.
I have impacted little girls lives.
I have strengthened my knowledge of challenge adventure.
I have even worked on my German skills with some of our worldly campers.
I have seen beautiful views and met even more beautiful souls.
Just today, I built a rope bridge like the army.
And I planned for more summers to come.

My heart shatters into a million pieces when a camper says,
“Will you be here next year?”
And I think, No sweetie, no one will…
“I’ll see you next year!”
And I think, “I hope you remember me in years to come…”
“I love it here! I can’t wait to come back!”
And I think, maybe someday sweetie…

Council has given their reasons, and made their decisions.
I won’t speak on the reasons or anything, because they are my employer and I respect them for these chances.
But I will not say I agree with the decision.

I am with a joyous heart for those who get their home of Sky High Ranch back next summer, but I ache for those who lose their home.

“I have dreamed on this mountain since first I was my mothers daughter, and you can’t just take those dreams away, not with me watching…”

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