So, what are you doing this summer?

A question I am often asked while running into friends, family, or meeting new people.

I used to have a really difficult time answering this question, due to the vast possibilities and powerful emotions I have associated with Summer of Solutions. I’m working with the Twin Cities team, and up until a couple weeks ago I tended to throw out phrases such as “youth leadership,” “sustainability,” “green economy,” and “it’s super cool, I promise,” with hopes of creating a semi-coherent explanation of what I am up to this summer. Depending on the audience, some people just nodded their heads in approval, having heard key words indicating it is a meaningful program. Many friends could sense my vibes of excitement and continued to ask for more information about what, specifically, I am working on.

During one of our weekly community reflection sessions a while back, I realized what I came into this program intending to work on has completely changed. I wanted to do urban agriculture work, and spend some time outside getting my hands dirty. But when the projects were announced, the one I felt I could make the most impact in completely overtook my attention, and I have been dedicating hours to this project since. I’m working on outreach in the Highland Park area, with hopes to re-invigorate the closing Ford manufacturing plant. It’s a great project that really speaks to me, having spent a significant portion of my high school years messing around in the Highland village.

Now that I’ve secured my interests for this summer, the big question for me is, “what will I be doing this fall?” I still have some of time to figure this one out, but it will definitely involve implementing many of the tactics I have learned this summer. I hope I will be able to educate my peers at school and pass on the passion I feel towards this work. I’m really grateful for going with my gut instincts in this program & following where my passion leads me. I have spent much of my SoS work with a smile on my face, which is a great thing to look back on as I reflect on my summer.

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