Growing Up With Summit: Interview with Noemy Serna

Noemy Serna is a three-time Summit Junior Counselor and high school Senior at Divine Savior Holy Angels High School in Milwaukee. She has been a part of Summit since she was in the third grade, and has been a part of the Summit Summer Olympics Program, One-On-One Program, College Bound Program, and Junior Counselor Program. Here is her experience growing up with Summit:


Noemy, what was your experience like as a camper during the Summit Summer Olympics Program, and how did it help you improve in any way?

My experience at Summit started a long time ago; I started out as a soon-to-be 3rd grader who was extremely nervous and anxious to see how the summer program would go. I guess it went well, because I have been coming back ever since! I was already a doing well in school and didn't have any major academic problems before I came to Summit because of the dedication and rigor that my parents instilled in me at a young age for my education. However, although I did not realize it at the time, I had previously had trouble coming back to school in the fall and having forgotten the previous school year's material. I now realize the advantage that Summit gave me to practice my math and reading skills over the summers in order to continue to excel in school.


What was it like transitioning for a camper to a Junior Counselor? What does it mean for you to be a Junior Counselor?

As a Junior Counselor, high school students aid the Counselors - who are college students - to lead various academic and athletic activities for the campers every weekday for seven weeks. To be a Junior Counselor means to be a role model. The most important aspect of this position is to be a constant role model for the girls in the program. Having been a camper myself, I know the instant admiration that campers have for the Junior Counselors simply because they are Junior Counselors. One of the reasons why the girls automatically marvel at their "JCs" is because we are someone that is close in age to them that they can connect with and it is a position that they can see themselves in one day. Therefore, our most important job as Junior Counselors is to set the example for the campers and be a friend that they can trust in and learn to respect - there is a beautiful bond that the campers have with the Junior Counselors!


What are the different parts of the Junior Counselor program, and what have you gained from it?

Because Junior Counselors are still continuing their journey in growth, we too have character classes during the day and reading classes in the afternoon after the campers leave. The program does a great job of teaching us that we can continue to learn and grow, even though we aren't campers anymore and have leadership roles. Personally, through this position and the daily Character classes that the Juniors Counselors receive, I have grown to be a leader and role model for the campers on my team and also for the additional Junior Counselors that are younger than me. Being a JC no longer feels like a job to me because I believe that I have gained more from it than what I have given. In many ways I have come to know myself better, I have served the community that helped raise me into the person that I am today, and it blessed me with many cherished memories of the appreciation that even one person alone can have for one's hard work and presence.

Nicole Heger