July 23, 2015

We like to say that we build “constellations of support” for each student that joins Summer Search. The anchor of that support comes from our professional mentors, who work side-by-side with our rising stars to advise, coach and challenge them on their paths towards college success.

One specific area where support is especially needed is around Summer Trips, which is a big step for our students. Often, this is the first time they have ever traveled by themselves, been far from home, or participated in any kind of wilderness activity.

To help combat the inevitable apprehension that comes with such a big step, our mentors have “send-off talks” with their students. These talks provide a time for our young travelers to discuss any concerns, go over travel logistics, reflect on what they have learned, and set goals and expectations for their upcoming trips.

Summer Search San Francisco student Ana, who is going to be a senior at Oakland High School this fall, recently met with her mentor, Luna. Ana was kind enough to let us film a portion of her send-off talk as she was preparing to leave for Guatemala for four weeks with Where There Be Dragons, her second summer trip.


As you can see, mentors like Luna are both coaches and cheerleaders (pom-poms optional), and the lessons that our young leaders learn on summer trips are things they can carry with them through their entire experience with Summer Search, and beyond.

Philadelphia mentor Jess Dignam has also been a supportive coach to her mentees, including Chris, who was recently profiled in the Philadelphia Inquirer.


Student Chris with mentor Jess Dignam. Courtesy of Helen Ubinas

Jess has helped Chris reflect on his experiences from his past summer adventures, and is currently helping him apply those same lessons as they both look ahead to Chris’s future… a bright future that includes plans for college at Loyola University or Boston University.”
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Students like Ana and Chris are just two of the many, many stars shining bright in the Summer Search constellation!

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