Tag Archives: Summer Program

Summer 2019: A Look Back

Summer Search has officially closed our 2019 summer travel season, with our last group of students returning home from their challenging and empowering summer experiences last month.

In the end, nearly 900 high school Summer Searchers received full scholarships to attend experiential education programs all over the world – ranging from wilderness expeditions, to academic programs, to international cultural and service trips.

2019 Summer Programs and ExperiencesStudents (and a few staff members) on summer experiences in Thailand and Ghana with The Fuller Center for Housing, in Tahoe with the Gateway Mountain Center, and at the University of Delaware’s Edge Summer College Program.

Congratulations to every single Summer Search student who embarked on a summer adventure, took risks, and achieved incredible accomplishments! Continue reading Summer 2019: A Look Back

Making Summer Transformative – A Mentor’s Perspective

The following is a guest post written by members of our Summer Search Bay Area team, as part of their Summer Experience Challenge campaign.


Summer 2019 is off and running! At Summer Search, this means we’ve got 1,000 young people scattered across the country and the world on powerful experiential journeys.

It’s not only an exciting time for our students, but also for our staff! We sat down with a few members of our Summer Search Bay Area team to learn what goes into preparing for a summer experience, and what makes these trips truly transformative for our young people.

In our conversation, we explore how mentors and summer programs staff work together to equip students with agency, efficacy, and a sense of expansiveness from the moment they join Summer Search and through the years of mentorship that follow. Read more to see powerful examples of each and learn how Summer Search’s mentoring supports our students in integrating these profound experiences into their lives.

Introduce yourself!

Bay Area Summer Program MentorsFrom left to right, top to bottom: Summer Search mentors Brian Mertens, Yining Chiu, Mira Fielding, and Nicol Gaffney.

Continue reading Making Summer Transformative – A Mentor’s Perspective

Summer 2019: Now Departing

Summer is calling and we must go!

Earlier this month, our first wave of students departed for their summer adventures — the first of 1,000 Summer Searchers* that will be taking on the world this summer!

A signature component of the Summer Search program, all sophomore and junior high school students receive full scholarships to attend experiential education programs, ranging from wilderness expeditions, to academic programs, to international service trips.

Deer Hill BackpacksStudents on a wilderness and service trip with Deer Hill Expeditions.

Continue reading Summer 2019: Now Departing

Arsel Perez: Finding His Path

There’s a popular saying that “the path to success is not a straight line.” At Summer Search, we support our young people on their journeys to success, which can indeed take many different pathways, twists, and turns.

Arsel Perez is deeply committed to helping his family, while also striving to find his “dream career” and securing his own successful future.

Arsel-2016-NB-DinnerArsel Perez speaking at the 2016 Summer Search North Bay Dinner.

Continue reading Arsel Perez: Finding His Path

I’m Just Me, Doing My Part

In our Summer Search Boston office, we have a bell outside of one of the conference rooms. When a student makes a big decision, achieves a milestone, or completes their final check-in before their summer experience, the student announces their accomplishment in front of the entire office, and then rings the bell as a triumphant punctuation.

A few months ago, Boston Latin high school senior Ian Lee rang the bell to announce — in his own quiet, yet confident way — that he had earned a QuestBridge scholarship (a.k.a. a full ride) to attend the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (a.k.a. MIT)!

Ring that bell young man!

Ian MIT AnnouncementWatch Ian’s announcement.

Continue reading I’m Just Me, Doing My Part

Mentors Changed the Course of My Life

The following is a guest post written by Anna Brittain, Summer Search Bay Area alumna, for National Mentoring Month.


I remember the first time I met Joan McDonald. She had a bouffant of grey-white hair, like she’d never quite made it out of the 1960s, and soft kind eyes. It was 1997. I was 15 years old and a sophomore at St. Helena High School. I was stepping into a small room filled with warm fall light to do an interview with Joan and Linda Mornell (founder of Summer Search). My high school counselor, Bruce Frank, who nominated me for the program, was standing just outside. I didn’t know what I was getting into. I sat down facing these two older women. Linda looked at me intensely and Joan smiled encouragingly. Linda asked something along the lines of, “What is it like to walk in your shoes?” And I broke down.

anna-brittain-fieldsAnna Brittain.

Continue reading Mentors Changed the Course of My Life

Thank You United

Through a combination of mentoring and transformative experiences, Summer Search takes a holistic, long-term approach to supporting young people to thrive.

During the summer after sophomore and junior years of high school, our students receive scholarships to go on experiential education programs, ranging from wilderness expeditions, to academic programs, to international service trips. These experiences broaden students’ view of themselves and provide the opportunity to partner with their mentor to learn from their triumphs and setbacks. This reflective process allows Summer Searchers to strengthen the skills and mindsets needed to succeed in school, work, and in life.

2018-Summer-coverSummer Search students participating in experiential education programs this past summer.

Each summer, we send nearly 1,000 students to destinations all over the world, which means we need to book a lot of flights! Continue reading Thank You United