• Together Apart: Lauren

    By Marie McGrath | Posted Friday, May 22nd, 2020

Welcome to Together Apart, a community effort to establish mindfulness, connection, and presence, even when we cannot be physically together. Each week we will feature guest writers from various careers, places, and moments in life to discuss how they are Living More in the time of COVID-19.

This week's guest writer is Lauren Earls, a member of the Admissions team at Overland Summers.

As a year-round staff member at Overland Summers, I spend nine months a year planning for eight weeks of world-wide adventure. Our team of about 20 enrolls students, hires leaders, answers thousands of questions from nervous parents, reserves campsites, and anticipates the day in June when it all falls into place. At Overland, we seek to inspire our students to see how beautiful and exciting, how full of promise the world is. Our groups travel all over the world biking, hiking, camping, exploring, and working together to accomplish incredible things.

When the world as we knew it came to a crashing halt in early March, I couldn’t imagine a reality in which these trips wouldn’t be possible. For six summers (both as a leader and full-time staff member), I’ve poured my heart into helping provide these experiences and I was so, so excited to do it again. As March turned to April and April to May, it became clear that, this year, there would be no Overland summer. We communicated our plans to cancel all trips to our staff and families and, as we did, my own feelings of sadness magnified and my busiest months of the year were suddenly wide-open.

As I wrap up my work for the summer and think ahead to the three-plus months of free-time, I dream of quiet nights outdoors with people I love. I look forward to having time to enjoy beautiful weather, to pushing myself physically on long hikes and bike rides, and to waking up at sunrise in a tent. Now, more than ever, the outdoors has become a place of solace and a place to connect responsibly and meaningfully. As the sadness of a canceled summer dissipates, I find myself feeling incredibly grateful for the upcoming time to reconnect with myself, with the outdoors, and with my community.

While this time has been full of uncertainty, professional and personally, I’ve become more certain than ever of one thing: I am so fortunate to be part of a community that supports and loves one another, that holds one another accountable, that faces challenges head-on, and that finds the silver lining in all things. The Overland community is diverse in so many ways, but the universal emphasis on exploration, togetherness, and presence are resonant and relevant, even during a summer without students. I look forward to important conversations, beautiful moments, and lots of laughter, both in-person and electronically, with members of my special community and can’t wait for a world in which Overland students can gather once again to discover the beauty of this incredible world.

 

 

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