Category Archives: Summer Trips

Now Departing: 2018 Summer Travelers

Summer is here!

While the longest day of the year officially marks the beginning of the season, our summer started two weeks ago when our first group of amazing young people began embarking on their summer adventures.

Go Adventure Summer ExperienceSummer Search students on a summer experience with Go Adventure.

But these trips are hardly a “day at the beach,” despite what the wonderful moment captured above might indicate. These are challenging, learning-filled, and transformative journeys that test our students mentally and physically to help them develop the skills needed to succeed in school and in life. Continue reading Now Departing: 2018 Summer Travelers

An Illustrated Summer Experience

The following is a guest post written by Summer Search New York City high school student Chris R. These words and illustrations were originally given at NYC’s Summer Sendoff Event, celebrating new sophomores before they depart on their summer experiences.


My name is Chris and I’m currently a junior at Bronx Collegiate Academy. I’m also an illustrator and these are my drawings.

Have you ever had one of those days where nothing went your way? Where every time someone asked you a question, you froze? Where you avoided eye contact, where you’d daydream in class, drawing on the side of your paper to pass the time? Well, that was me all the time.

Chris-Cartoons-1-2aClick all images to enlarge.

Every day was one of those days where I beat myself up by calling myself stupid and hating things I did. Continue reading An Illustrated Summer Experience

Fighting for Restorative Justice in Oakland

Oakland native and Summer Search Bay Area alumnus Zachary Norris believes that in order to have a strong community, “we need strong community-centered institutions.” And that is exactly what he is trying to do.

As the Executive Director of the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights, Zachary is working with a collaborative of nonprofits to launch Restore Oakland, a new center and effort to begin reinvestment in East Oakland, California.

Zachary NorrisSummer Search Bay Area alumnus Zachary Norris.

Continue reading Fighting for Restorative Justice in Oakland

Reclaiming Her Identity

“By middle school, I was ashamed of speaking my native tongue. I studied English meticulously, careful to get rid of my accent. I wanted a new name, one my teachers could pronounce; as if a white name could conceal my yellow skin. I didn’t even want to identify as an Asian, forget an Asian American.”

During her second summer experience with an international program in China called Where There Be Dragons last year, Summer Search Boston student Phuong Nhat Nguyen wrote a poignant and honest blog post reflecting on the internal struggles she’s faced regarding her cultural identity as an Asian American, which she titled “Yellow (Not the Coldplay Song).”

Phuong-w-local-familySummer Search Boston high school senior Phuong Nhat Nguyen (left) with a local Tibetan family.

Continue reading Reclaiming Her Identity

A Summer Reflection… 10 Years Later

Reflecting on their lives is a key part of every Summer Searcher’s journey. After our high school sophomores complete their first summer program, they write a reflection letter to process their Summer Search experience thus far.

This is an opportunity to put into words who they are, and to take an honest look back at the challenges, triumphs, and growth that has happened since joining Summer Search. It’s a practice that, alongside their weekly conversations with their mentors, helps students integrate these profound summer experiences into their lives, as well as a chance to practice writing a personal statement for college.

These pieces are generally composed after the summer programs are completed during the start of the students’ junior years. Not everyone writes a reflection ten years later… but that’s just what Bay Area alumnus Alvin Sng did! Continue reading A Summer Reflection… 10 Years Later

2017 Summer Leaders, Part 2

A few weeks ago, the last of our students returned home from their summer programs, bringing a close to our 2017 travel season. We CONGRATULATE all of our young leaders on their incredible accomplishments this summer, and THANK all of our summer partners and our staff (mentors, program managers, on-call specialists, and many more) for making these life-changing experiences possible for our students.

Earlier this summer, we introduced you to Bay Area alumna and outdoor enthusiast Jessie Holtz, who works for one of those summer partners, Sierra Nevada Journeys (SNJ). She had the exciting opportunity to lead one of SNJ’s special Summer-Search-only wilderness programs in late July. Continue reading 2017 Summer Leaders, Part 2

Marie Angeles: Building Stronger Communities

As the calendar turns from summer to fall, many students across the country are preparing to step onto college campuses. For many, it will be their first time. For others, this will be a familiar experience. In either case, it’s one step in what can be a long, challenging journey towards earning a degree.

Luckily, there are people like Summer Search Seattle alumna Marie Angeles who are working hard to make sure these young people are entering a welcoming and supportive campus environment.

Marie Angeles 2016 Master's DegreeMarie after graduating with her Master’s Degree from the University of Michigan in 2016.

Continue reading Marie Angeles: Building Stronger Communities