My Journey as a Concordia Teen

Are you the type of person that is always looking forward to summer but once it arrives you never have any plans and are typically stuck at home all the time? Yeah, I was part of that group too. Every year I would look forward to getting out of school and diving into my summer, even though I knew there would be nothing special about it.

That all stopped the summer before I started 8th grade. My mom was tired of seeing me stuck at home all day every day for the entire summer. She had recently received a flyer advertising a summer long program that included cool field trips, lots of cooking and art projects, gardening, fun outdoor activities, and more. Instantly, she was sold and said she was going to sign me up; but I, on the other hand, was not a fan of the idea. I was a very shy kid and the fact that there was a required interview to get into the program was a setback for me. Regardless of all my whining and complaining about joining, my mom made me attend the interview, and well, I got in!

Emerging Leaders

The first day was truly so nerve-racking to me because there were a lot more kids than I had expected, ranging from 13 to 18 year-olds. The instructors were really kind and had us do some ice breakers in different groups which obligated us to talk to one another. Before I knew it, time had flown by and the first day was done. It had been so much better than I was expecting, and to my surprise, I was excited to go back. Nonetheless, the summer flew by, and it had by far been one of the best summer experiences I had ever had. I had visited Starved Rock State Park, gone to the Indiana Dunes, learned how to make tons of new recipes, played lots of sports, and best of all, made a bunch of new really cool friends.

After that amazing summer experience, I decided to join their fall session which revolved all around cooking and gardening. Still, it was a great experience and I was introduced to many new dishes. I learned more about nutrition and made yet even more new friends. I continued as an apprentice for the spring session, and by the time summer rolled around, I was up and ready to reconnect with friends from last summer.

Ruckus Entrepreneurs

It was during this summer that I was offered a position as an intern for the Ruckus Enterpreneurs program. It felt like such a big step. Of course, I had to take this opportunity. I had heard and seen some of the projects the Ruckus teens had done, and it honestly seemed like a lot of fun, but definitely more responsibility.

Fall arrived and I was now a freshman in high school as well as a new intern. It seemed like fresh starts were everywhere, but I was so excited for it all. The session ran really smoothly and the people were really kind, which had been one of my worries about joining since I was the youngest of the group. Product making was truly so interesting and enjoyable. I had never done anything like it but it wasn’t difficult to pick up. Overall, it was a great year with memorable sessions and new knowledge.

The Future

Now, I’m currently still an intern and find myself beyond grateful for these amazing opportunities that were placed in my path, and for my mom who pushed me into joining the summer program that started it all. I feel as though all the different programs have helped shape me into who I am now and have definitely brought me some new bonds with people who share similar interests. As for moving forward in my life, I think my plans are to stay as long as possible working as an intern at Concordia because it has really become like a second home. I also plan on graduating high school and going to college to pursue whichever career I decide on since it’s yet to be settled upon.