Today is the first day of Junior High for me, I am now officially an 8th grade college student. One of the assignments every English teacher loves to give at the beginning of the year is an essay of “What I Did on My Summer Vacation”. I thought I would jump the gun on it this year and share it with you as I had a busy, but fantastic summer!
It started with my week on the University of Iowa campus for the Junior Scholar Institute. I did a writing workshop this year (Last year was Japan) and upped my skills while living in the dorm and connecting with other amazing young adults from across this country. We tried a few new restaurants this time so we hit historic places like the Hamburg Inn #2.
After that was my musical theater workshop – which didn’t go so well. It cemented my desire to quit dance and move on to something else. (read about it here). The summer heat had really started to kick in by this time and I cringed when I heard we were going camping for the weekend. Wyalusing state park is beautiful, but hiking in the heat was impossible. We zipped over to Prairie du Chien for lunch at Pete’s Hamburgers and to tour Villa Louis. We did see a rare Luna Moth – they only live a week so it is hard to find them outside of the caterpillar state.
My Mom had a travel writing assignment in the state of Indiana so we loaded up the camper and spent almost two weeks as their guest. It is amazing everything thta we did – just check out this list of places we visited while moving between three state parks : Salamonie , Mounds, and Charlestown. I loved their nature centers where you could watch the wildlife without disturbing them.
We met the family of Wick’s Pies as we toured and tasted our way through their facility, and I got to meet Jeff Watson – the bear man – and his grizzlies at Wilstem’s Ranch. In case you didn’t know – Hoosier Pie is amazing! It’s really a sugar-cream pie that they call finger pie, because you usually stop it half way through baking to stir it with your finger.
While in Southern Indiana we hit the Vintage Fire Museum and learned the slow changes and improvements in fire fighting over the last 250 years. We also hit Schimpff’s Confectionary and got a lesson in candy making!
After Indiana, I had Camp Hero through Girl Scouts – led by volunteer professional police, fire fighters, and paramedics. I learned a lot bout myself – like the fact that I don’t want to do any of those jobs when I get older, LOL! I have an incredible respect for anyone in those fields.
Fiddle Camp through the local summer school program filled the time until we journied to Door County and stayed at Peninsula State Park. While in Door County we hit a lot of great restaurants like getting pizza at the Wild Tomato, seeing the goats at Al Johnson’s, and ice cream at the legendary Wilson’s. The highlight of the trip might have been the Kayaking/Hike tour that my Mom tested out for the new spin off company of Door County Kayaks – Cave Point Paddle and Petal. I learned a bunch there – like flip flops aren’t the best for hiking, but work OK in the kayak. I’m also thankful my mom planned ahead and packed sandwiches, we needed the energy to paddle back to the base. I found muscles in my arms that I didn’t know I had!
I was a Junior Counselor for my church Vacation Bible Camp and then we hit Indian Trails campground. After that trip I went to my church camp for a week to do their Nature at Night Program. That takes me to my TV segment with Channel 3 in Madison and my Camp with a College Kid.
That pretty much wraps up what I did on my summer vacation: traveled, ate, played, mentored others all while learning new things and having fun! What did you do?