Staff Snaps – Vol. 7: Junia Combrinck
On Staff Snaps we feature some of the all stars who make the good stuff happen behind the scenes at Surfing the Nations. Today on Staff Snaps we’re featuring Junia Combrinck, Swiss native who earned staff of the month for July when she played a huge role in leading our Summer Challenge program. While this woman is fierce and hardworking, she’s also all about the people who make the hard work here at STN worth every minute. Read below to get to know Junia better!Born and raised?
Born in Switzerland in a small town. I’ve been raised there until I was fourteen or fifteen, then we moved to another small town up in the mountains. We were only five minutes from the train station, but we only had a few connections so it wasn’t so awesome as it sounds. I lived there until I moved here! Switzerland is so beautiful, we have this nice view of the lake and mountains around us and it’s so nice. In my childhood we lived in this really old, wooden house. Now moving to the place my parents live now, there’s a wonderful view, bigger windows. I love it. But Hawaii has nice weather so it’s fun. I do miss the seasons – but winter back home really drags on.
Favorite part of the workday?
When I was on Summer Challenge this summer I loved the contact with people and being able to share life with them. Especially in Summer Challenge, I loved the deep conversations we could have and sharing love with them and caring for them. I enjoy that now being able to lead an Internship connect group and being able to have personal time with them, gaining their trust within that. Being able to have so many different people around you, and I’m just learning so much with every person I meet because every person is so unique. I like organizing and all those things, but it’s the people that make it more special and that’s what keeps me going.
Pick me up song?
I have one where I can never stop dancing and it’s Footloose. I love it every time it comes on. I would say that one because it’s my mom’s favorite song and she always plays it and I can’t stop dancing when it’s on. This song always gets me to start dancing again.
A story about how you ended up at STN?
After [my husband] Isak and I got together, he had to move to Switzerland because I just started my apprenticeship. When my apprenticeship was finished we always asked ourselves, where do we want to live? what should we do? I was always really stubborn because I love living in Switzerland and being near my family. But still when my apprenticeship was done, I thought why don’t we go do something different or something with humanitarian work? We loved STN after our Internship, so why not come back? It was something we knew and trusted. We knew what we were getting ourselves into, rather than not knowing anything about the organization. It made it easier to decide and come back for a new adventure. We wanted to be more independent, doing something new on our own.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve recently received?
That’s a hard one. I’m thinking about how important it is to truly enjoy the little things. Someone told me, take the time to talk with people and don’t take your job too seriously, still have conversations with people. It’s hard for me because I want to get things done and I feel bad if I talk with people during the time I’m supposed to get things done. So I want to take it easier and know that I don’t have to stress because I’m still getting my things done. Something I’ve realized being here is that being real with people brings you closer to each other. Being able to say, “Hey I don’t have everything together” opens so many doors and brings you closer to each other. If you’re having a bad day, be real because then you can have each other’s back.
What fuels you?
For sure [my husband] Isaak. He’s a really good listener and encourager. Even if he doesn’t say anything, I admire his unique passions and that makes me want to keep going and be passionate. In general I also love spending quality time with people. I’m such a people person. So if I can’t have good talks for a while it gets me bummed. It really fills me up to have a good time with people, chat about life, share a meal, spend time with them. Not too many people, but enough for some quality conversation. I guess I’m at the right place, then.