My High Rocks journey started a little over year and half ago when, as a junior at Haverford, I was looking for a fruitful way to spend the coming summer. I was scrolling through the Haverford website when I came across a listing for the High Rocks Summer Internship. The more I read about High Rocks the more interested I became. One month later, I was going to spend the summer in Hillsboro, West Virginia. I arrived at 123 Elm Street on May 31st, 2017 to be greeted by my seven housemates who anxiously awaited my arrival as I was the last intern to get to the house. The next morning my High Rocks journey officially began. That first day changed everything. I heard the High Rocks story. I met Renae, Dana, Janet, Liz, Sarah and Susan and a couple of days later I met my first group of High Rocks participants. Together with that first group of girls we hiked down a mountain. It was during that long, and rainy afternoon that I first started to connect to High Rocks through those amazing young women. I fell about 25 times, which hurt, but I got to watch as the girls, using a map and a compass, led the interns down the mountain.
It wasn’t too long after that that New Beginnings was in full swing. Here I got to work as the Administrative Intern which meant that I got to do a little bit of everything for the next two weeks. I have to admit that first camp was challenging but it was those sparks that lead me to fall in love with this place and these people. It wasn’t too long before Camp Steele started. Coming into the second camp of the summer I felt more confident and prepared. I’d gotten into my groove and understood my role better after the junior counselors had taken the time to show me what it means to be part of the High Rocks family. As quickly as the summer had started it ended and it seemed like my High Rocks journey had come to an end.
I went back to Haverford and while I was happy there, my heart longed to be back in West Virginia. That feeling led to me coming back as part of a Haverford Fall Break Trip. I spent a week with some of my peers volunteering at High Rocks and it was during this trip that I officially decided to come back to High Rocks in September as a year-round AmeriCorps Member. I was excited at the prospect of coming back in September but was reminded of camp by a High Rocks girl. In talking to her, I was reminded that camp is the heart of High Rocks and it was the thing that made me fall in love in the first place. That in combination with a feeling that I wasn’t done learning and growing through my time in West Virginia led me to repeat the internship a second time around. Like the first summer, I felt happy to have been here and couldn’t wait to do it again but differently to the first time I knew when I’d be back. On September 2nd, 2018 I moved to Hillsboro, West Virginia and on September 17th I started as the AmeriCorps for High Rocks Academy for Girls. I’ve loved being a part of High Rocks. Every High Rocks girl I meet pushes me forward, reminds me why I am here and inspires me. I am constantly amazed when I see them navigate the world around them with grace, perseverance and courage.
Written by: Claudia Rivera
When: September 26, 2018
Edited by: Renae Hall