Honors Summer Snapshots: Emma

Ever wonder what Honors students do during the summer? Honors Ambassadors and students will be taking you into their 2017 summer routines via photos. Emma is a Camp Adventure counselor in Italy this summer, a role that has given her lots of practice with patience and a lot of weekend adventures:

My name is Emma Chizek, and I am a sophomore majoring in marketing and international business. I am spending my summer in Vicenza, Italy, interning with the United States Department of Defense through the Camp Adventure Youth Services Program. For ten weeks, I am living on an army base and working at a Child Development Center on an army base fifteen minutes away. Camp Adventure Headquarters is located at the University of Northern Iowa and offers multiple program types (CDC, Day Camp, Teen Camp, and Aquatics) on military bases around the world. Before going out in the summer, interns must train for an entire semester. We are also required to wear a uniform, which consists of khaki shorts, a white “Camp Adventure T-Shirt” t-shirt, tall white socks, and white shoes.

One of my roommates from Martin Starbuck, Katie, and I at a training in April. She is a Day Camp Counselor in Japan this summer.

On a normal day, I wake up around 0700, eat free breakfast at our hotel, and bike two miles through the Italian countryside to get to the center by 0830. Once I arrive at the center, I sign in and check my assignment for the day. I move around a lot between infants, toddlers, and preschoolers. Lately, I have been working the most with toddlers. This age group is fun because the kids are cute, and they say the most comical phrases. We spend most of the day doing different activities – singing songs, reading books, playing outside – in which everything is basically under control. A few times a day, however, the kids get crazy, and it ends up being exactly what you would expect when you hear the term “toddler room.” My shift is over at 1730, so I leave the center and bike back to the hotel on the other base.

How I feel at the most chaotic times of the day

When I am not negotiating with toddlers to try their vegetables, I spend time on the weeknights with the other fourteen Camp A’s at my location. We go to the bowling alley, eat gelato, explore Vicenza, and plan our weekend trips. Getting to know the other counselors has been an amazing experience because they are from all over the United States (Iowa, Oregon, California, Ohio, Illinois, Minnesota), attend different colleges, and are majoring in completely different subjects.

Most of counselors at the 4th of July Celebration on base

On the weekends, we split into smaller groups and travel. So far, I have been to Venice, Murano, Burano, Verona, Lake Garda, Florence, Cinque Terre, and Vicenza in Italy. I have also been to Munich, Dachau, and Garmisch-Partenkirchen in Germany. We still have four full weeks until the internship is over, and we have trips planned in Croatia, Switzerland, Austria, and Rome!!

The bright houses on the island of Burano, near Venice


Touching Juliet’s left breast for good luck in Verona


Spinach and Cheese Tortellini ~ yum!!


Manarola, one of the beautiful towns that makes up Cinque Terre


Visited Dachau Concentration Camp Memorial in Germany – “Work Sets You Free”


Incredible view of mountains at Lake Garda


Can’t even fit the Florence Cathedral into a picture because it is so big and beautiful


Found a little bit of Iowa downtown Florence


Delicious German Spätzle (essentially Mac n’ Cheese but 100x better)


Hiked Höllentalklamm, which translates to “Valley of Hell” in English, in Garmisch, Germany

Because of this experience, I have gained so many personal, professional, and problem-solving skills. Traveling has truly given me a whole new perspective on life, and I can’t wait to see what the rest of my summer has in store.

THANKS (Danke = Thanks in German) for reading about my summer adventures!!


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