Sunday, April 27, 2014

Just hanging with my new friend, Beyoncé!

Both of these I've been running into Beyoncé a lot lately! She's been gracious enough to take a selfie with me each time! 

Both of these pictures were taken at Madame Tussaud's wax museum in Vegas and New York. I think I've been to these wax museums enough times! 

Sunday, April 13, 2014

One Year

It's been one year since I've moved to Maryland, one year that I've been the Access Adventures Coordinator, and one year of crazy, wonderful, and wild times.

So after one year, it was back to Vegas. The trip was easier since I knew what to expect, but it's Vegas, so it was still long and exhausting. We did a lot of walking and sightseeing, and it was fun to get to explore sin city!

We went to Sigfried and Roy's Dolphin habitat, and sure enough, Sigfried himself was there! He came over and talked to our group for a long time, and was so wonderful! No one really knew who he was, but they talked about lions and tigers. He was awesome!

On the last night, we went to Dick's Last Resort restaurant, and I felt a little nostalgic about my first trip there. I didn't think I'd make it this far in Maryland. Every time this job got difficult, I told myself, "just make it through this trip, and in a month, you can quit and start over somewhere else" But then one moment, one interaction, or one silly comment reinforced why I love this job.

Taking adults with disabilities on vacations is hard. It's tiring, difficult, and sometimes, even embarrassing. But when a traveler thanks me, or says that they had a great time, I feel like it's all worth it.

This picture is a picture that I took on my first trip to Vegas in 2013. It was at Dick's Last Resort restaurant, and we took it the first night of the trip. It only felt right to take another picture at the same restaurant, in 2014.


While the people have changed, some things haven't changed. (Mostly that I was exhausted after both trips :) 

This opportunity has been incredible, and as I learned one night in January, you never know where you'll be in a day, a week, a month, or a year. I often think how incredible this job has been, and how close I was to turning it down, on multiple occasions. 

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Oh hey there,

I recently had two days off in a row. While that doesn't seem impressive, I was going on 16 days without a true day off. I spent it helping a friend move, going to lunch, and seeing a movie one day, and then the next day: I slept. It was glorious!

The next day, I was reading a camping magazine, where an article talked about writing reference letters. The author started the article with a quote that is especially true in the camp world.

"From the outside looking in, you can't understand it. From the inside looking out, you can't explain it"

Wow. If this doesn't describe my life, I don't know what does! It's so true. When friends and family hear my "horror" stories of cleaning up poop, staying up ALLLLLLLL night, getting beat up in a crosswalk in the middle of the road and working 90 hours a week, they often scoff in horror. But when I share these stories with my fellow camp counselors and supervisors, they laugh right along with me. Sometimes, laughing is all you can do to get through a situation, but sometimes, I just want people to understand how wonderful this world can be. I'm sure my friends get tired of hearing my stories, and I know a lot of them don't understand why we do it. But all it takes is one traveler to say something funny, and everything is ok.

Back to the real world.

I'm currently sitting in a hotel watching the Broncos beat up on the Patriots! It's funny, I spend more nights in hotels than I do in my own bed, but this time is much better :) I finally have internet that doesn't block this site, so I figured I'd update you all on my life!

What have I been up to? Just crossing things off my bucket list, and finally becoming a world traveler!

On one of the coldest days of the year, I rode a bike around DC! It was so fun, and I got to see a lot more than I would if I was just walking. 

We're going to Disneyworld!
It feels like we hit the Access Adventures championship! It's been my favorite trip so far, and it was so fun! We stayed at a Disneyworld Resort hotel, and visited all of the parks! I've never been so tired, but it was so much fun! Disney really knows what they're doing, especially in terms of accessibility. They have everything planned, which made my job a lot easier! 

Epcot at night! 

After Disney, we took a quick weekend trip to Hershey, Pennsylvania! It was soooo cold, but we got to make our own chocolate bars, and buy all the chocolate!

The Bahamas! 
While the summer is 9 trips in 9 weeks, it seems that the fall is more exhausting, but that may be because the best trips are in the fall! We went on a cruise to the Bahamas and Turks and Cacicos, which means I finally got to use my passport! The cruise is different experience, and we hit some crazy swells, which made sleeping impossible one night, but overall it was a blast! It was so cool getting to swim in beautiful blue water, and dancing with the DJs on the island. 

Watching the waves

I'm on my way home to Colorado for Thanksgiving! A short trip home for snowmobiling and Catching Fire (round 2!) is followed by a long drive to Montana. Then, it's back to Maryland for two more trips. Once that's over, I'll have a nice break where I'll get to plan everything for the summer, and get caught up on office work :( I'm looking forward to a little bit of downtime though! 

I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving! 

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Thursday, October 3, 2013

6 Months

Today marks 6 months on the job! It was only fitting that we had a trip to New York to mark the anniversary! 

On the last night, we made our way to the top of the Empire State Building, and while I was up there, I started thinking about how life. This job has allowed me to cross a lot off my bucket list, and I've gotten to do things I never would have known existed. 

In just a few days, I'm heading to Disney World, and then a few weeks later, I'm cruising to the Bahamas! How many people can say their job includes a cruise!?! 

Of course, this job has it's moments. While these 6 months have gone by fast, it's exhausting some days. 

Now on to the fun stuff! Things went a lot better than the first time I traveled to New York for this job. I went in with a whole new attitude, and it ended up being really fun! 

Back in April, the Statue of Liberty was shut down because of Hurricane Sandy. This time, it was closed because of the government shutdown. That was lame, but we made the most of it and had fun on the boat ride! 

We also went to a Broadway musical, Phantom of the Opera! I unfortunately, didn't get to go in, as I was dealing with some other stuff, but everyone said it was really good! 

I'm back for a week, and then it's off to Disney World!!! 

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

My New Normal

I feel like such an adult sometimes. I took a week off of work, and came back to about 10 million things I had to do. Between planning the upcoming trips (Disneyworld and a cruise!!!) To doing intake interviews for new travelers (the worst part of my job) and to taking care of a new addition to the rec center, I've been busy. Here's what I've been up to!

Our camp was given two turtles, and since I am one of the few full time staff who lives here year round, I get to take care of one of the turtles! His name is Alfred, and he's a box turtle. I can't tell you much more about him, since we don't really get along. But I am attempting to buy his love. Someday, I will make a great mother.

I bought him a water dish, and he liked it so much that he decided to swim in it! 

I finally got to try crabbing (I really didn't do anything, but I like to pretend that I'm a real Marylander :) 

One of the coolest parts about living in the DC/Baltimore area is that we can go to tons of concerts. This is Fall Out Boy, more specifically that's a faceless Pete Wentz from Fall Out Boy. Tomorrow night, I'm going to relive middle school again by going to see Yellowcard!

Birthday time! 
Apparently turning 23 means multiple birthday celebrations! I was able to celebrate while home, and then also out in Maryland! I have some awesome friends and family :)
Family Dinner with my Maryland family!

No trip home is complete until I get to go to a Rockies game!

I finally tried this whole "let's put bacon on sweet things" and had a maple bacon cupcake. It was interesting...very mapley. I did however, get to eat a lot of chocolate dipped bacon this summer, which was wonderful.

We had our first trip of the fall, which was a baseball themed weekend in Baltimore and DC! I would love to say that the game was fun, but I ended up sitting this one out with some travelers who didn't want to go to the game. I also spent a lot of time driving around DC, because DC's roads suck.

On Saturday, we went to the Sports Legends Hall of Fame in Baltimore, which was dedicated to all things Maryland Sports Related. It was also right next to Camden Yards! While we didn't get to go in to Camden Yards, I did stand outside of it!

 I plan on going to a game there next week, so Camden Yards can be baseball stadium number 4!

This week, we're heading back to Ocean City, MD for a festival! Then it's New York, Disney World, Hersheytown PA, and the cruise!

Also coming up, my 6 month anniversary of working at Melwood! It may not seem like long, but it is flying by!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

The End!!

I'm currently writing this post from Colorado, which means that I survived the summer! 9 straight weeks of trips, and one rental group later, I made it through what may have been the craziest time of my short life! There was always something, but I'll try and capture the highlights of each trip


We went to Busch Gardens, which was pretty cool! We also went to a water park and the Revolutionary City. One of the funniest travelers went on this trip, and he kept us laughing the entire time. My favorite memory from this trip was when this traveler went to the Revolutionary City, and asked a colonial lady (who was in full costume) if she knew who John Wilkes Booth was. The lady, not missing a beat, said that no, she hadn't heard of him. This wasn't a good enough answer for my traveler, so he went on and on about John Wilkes Booth. Finally, the lady said yes, she knew him, and started to tell us about him. My traveler kept on walking, not even bothering to listen to her. 

Virginia Beach

We went back to Virginia Beach, and while the first time there was fun, the second trip was difficult. We had a tough group of travelers, and on the last night, one of our travelers sat on the floor of the restaurant and would not move for 45 minutes. That was the low point of the summer, and I'm happy to report that from there, the rest of the summer went wonderfully. I guess it's times like these that remind you to always be on your toes. 
This is how much luggage we take on our trips. This week, I was the lucky one who got to haul all of this upstairs while everyone else went to dinner. Lucky me!

Carolina Beach Tour 

After one horrendous week, we took a tour of the Carolina Beaches. We started in the Outer Banks, made our way to Myrtle Beach, and then back to the Outer Banks. This amounted to us spending a lot of time in a bus, which the staff got to drive. (Oh boy!) It was a fun trip, but by the last day, I was done with driving! 

Myrtle beach was a lot of fun, and we spent about 45 minutes in the ocean, which, for Access Adventures, is a summer record. Another one of my favorite travelers went on this trip, and he was hilarious as always. The best part of this trip was on the last night when we went to a Mexican restaurant, and he ate a ton of food, then proceded to walk around the restaurant, asking everyone to look at his food baby. Inappropriate, yes, hilarious, absolutely! 

Ocean City!

Ocean City concluded the away trips for us, and it was another adventure, but it ended up being one of my favorites. We all finally had the routine down, and it was the last trip. The finish line was so close...just one more sprint and then we were done. 

The first thing I had ever heard about Ocean City is that it's often referred to as Ocean Sh****y because of the amount of clogged toilets AA was responsible for. Unfortunately, we experienced the same thing, but it was only on the last day.
Doris was another of my favorite travelers. She was always smiling, and rocked the floral print every day! She was just fantastic! 

Club Venture

One experience sums up my role of the whole summer. At the end of the last week, we had a lunch cruise around Washington DC. Everyone was going to get to go on it, and after a disastrous drive to DC  (I hate DC traffic soo much!) We were ready to get on the boat. I always go last at any activity, and, just as I was handing my ticket to the man, I hear a loud "No!" I instantly knew that was one of our travelers, and that that would conclude my lunch cruise. She wouldn't get on the boat, so we drove off to find the nearest McDonalds. I drove around for 45 minutes in a two block radius trying to find parking, then eventually gave up and settled for Quiznos. 

After everyone got back, and had a fabulous time (which was the whole point anyway) I had to go pay the bill. As I paid the bill and got off, the gates to the entrance were locked. I started panicking after I couldn't find anyone, and then finally found someone, who told me to push the glowing green button right by the exit. Ooops. 

That's not the only time I've had to sit out while everyone else had fun. In fact, that's part of my job. It's frustrating, sure, but as long as the travelers had fun, that's all that matters. We got to go back to camp and have a talent show that night, and it was there that I realized how much I love this job, even if I have to sit out of the lunch cruise. 

That's it for the summer! This past week has been full of good byes, and it's always sad saying goodbye to everyone. Camp is a weird place. We sleep, eat and work with each other all day for 9 weeks, and then say goodbye. It'll be weird to go back to such an empty place, but we have some very exciting trips planned for the fall. 

I'm spending the week in Colorado, spending my days watching netflix and napping. We're off to the Rockies game, because honestly, what good would a trip to Colorado be without a Rockies game, and I get to go visit my kiddos from my middle school job. I'm really looking forward to seeing them, and hoping that they remember me :) My grandparents are coming down to visit, and we're having a pre-birthday celebration for my Aunt and I. Then it's back to work I go. Since this time last year, my life has changed a lot. At this time last year, I was unemployed, and now, I've been able to work at two wonderful jobs. I've got to meet some wonderful people, and I've done a lot of growing up. Here's to another incredible year!