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Growing up in North Carolina, June always kicked off the summer with unbearable heat and humidity. Upon traveling to Orange County, I expected to see clear skies and feel the warm California sun. To my dismay, California experiences a phenomenon known to the locals as “June Gloom,” where grey clouds take over the sky and I turn to my sweatshirt for warmth. The weather, however, did little to discourage my mood. From arriving at John Wayne airport to the first day of training, I was ready for whatever challenges Orange County might throw my way.

Walking into Girls Inc. for our first day of training, I was immediately overwhelmed with excitement. I felt empowered as I read the mission statement on the wall, “Inspiring all girls to be strong, smart and bold,” because I realized that I finally had the opportunity to make a real impact on a community who needed it. With both the support of Girls Inc. and my incredibly passionate cohort, we faced that first day of training head on and came prepared for the rest of the week. I made sure to approach each day with a positive attitude, eager to learn and returned to the dorm from training each day even more ready to take on the busy weeks of camp to come.

As the week ended, so did “June Gloom.” The sun began to emerge from behind the clouds and the temperature each day slowly increased. No longer was I reaching for my sweater, instead I had to remember to bring my sunglasses. I like to think that the weather is reflective of my mood; although I was nervous on that first day, every day since brought new successes. By the time the week ended, the sun came out and my cohort and I took the opportunity to start the new week with an afternoon hike in Orange County. It gave us all a chance to bond as a group, reflect on the first week, and embrace the beginning to the end of the dreaded “June Gloom.”