My Summer Challenge
Written by: Danica Doston, Summer Challenge 2016
Summer Challenge can be summed up in three words: community, character, and service. I found this organization online, booked a flight and crossed my fingers that the next month would be filled with surfing and serving the locals. We did both of those things, but it was so much more than that. Summer Challenge was the highlight of my summer. First off the community at STN is something that I have never experienced before. If you are looking for authentic, genuine people that live life to the fullest, than look no further. The communal living forced me to make friends with people that I would not have normally gravitated towards and I wouldn’t have changed it for the world. We did life together and still are outside the walls of STN. Community gatherings, dinners and challenging experiences made us rely on one another, building such strong friendships that I hold close to my heart.
Summer Challenge also instilled in me character traits that I have since taken back to the mainland. Summer Challenge is just that, a challenge. STN challenged me to get outside my comfort zone and talk story with aunties, jump of cliffs and serve others with abandon. My eyes are wide open to those around me and how just the simple act of loving on someone can change perspective. Summer Challenge taught me what it looks like to persevere in the difficult times, create space to be vulnerable and to seize every moment in total freedom.
Part of learning these traits was mainly found in times of adventures around the island, but also in giving back to the locals. The various service projects that STN is involved in is making a difference locally and on the international level. One of my favorite hands-on projects was Feeding the Hungry. I found myself looking forward to it every week. It was such a tangible way to love on the people of Oahu, hear their stories, and create relationships that were unlike any other.
So when people asked me how my time in Hawaii was I always sum it up using those three words. And when they ask if they should do it, my answer is always heck yeah! It will change your life.