I became me in the summer of 2005 on the beautiful British Island of Tortola.
I was one among 25 teenagers who volunteered & participated in the 2005 Tortola “chapter” of VISIONS.
VISIONS Service Adventures is a summer community service program for teenagers which blends volunteer projects, cultural immersion, and adventurous exploration. (this brief explanation comes straight from their website)
My participation in VISIONS (if I had to pick one) is the experience in my life which most drastically shaped me into the woman I am today.
When I departed for Tortola, I was a naive Long Island teenager who took many things for granted. I had not yet learned the value of communicating openly and honestly, speaking your mind, following your gut (and your heart), and giving back to those less fortunate.
When I departed from Tortola, I was still a Long Island teenager; however, a drastic shift had occurred during my five weeks away.
Through participation in VISIONS, I transformed into a young woman who was self-aware, introspective, reflective, and passionate about community service & volunteer work. I truly believe that my VISIONS experience played an enormous role in enabling me to develop some of my most defining (and meaningful) characteristics that I pride myself on today.
My willingness to enroll in VISIONS marked my first effort to force myself to step outside my comfort zone.
By engaging in a program which required me to do things that at that point in my life were completely foreign to me (such as making friends among a group of strangers, building an entire playground from a 4 page instruction manual, and scuba-diving among fire coral*),
I challenged myself to be comfortable with the uncomfortable.
That summer was the best summer of my entire life.
*Note: fire coral is no joke; I have a scar on my knee to prove it.