2015 marked Marta's first year as a counselor. At camp this summer, she consistently served as a source of comfort and advice for campers. Many of them expressed that she was an amazing listener and was always thoughtful and measured in her approach to problems. Her commitment to volunteerism and service has been expressed throughout her life, but it manifested this summer in the kitchen -- Marta was consistently the first to take on the dirty dishes when no one else wanted to. She could often be found singing along to ABBA songs while scrubbing away! Her energy and enthusiasm were infectious, and many times, campers would start "5 second dance breaks," a concept she brought to the 2015 season. We asked Marta to tell us about herself and her background.
"I was a camper from Lithuania at Stendis in 2006 and 2007. Had it not been for Camp, I would have never had the courage to seek out challenges abroad. Actually, I wouldn't have even known that learning from interactions with people of diverse socioeconomic backgrounds and nationalities could be such a powerful experience. Already one year after Camp, I was attending a boarding school in the US on a full scholarship, followed by fully-funded Bachelor's studies at a small liberal arts school in Maine - Bowdoin College. The choice of subject for my Sociology degree was strongly influenced by the thinking process that began at Camp, too - when I observed inequality and social fragmentation, I sought to understand them in my seminars. To contribute to the well-being of those less fortunate than I, throughout my college years I volunteered in an after school program for underprivileged children in the economically depressed town of Camden, NJ, served as a big sister to a local middle-schooler, served as a member of a philanthropic committee that raised and allocated funds to local projects, and co-organized a photography exhibition showcasing the diversity of students' socioeconomic backgrounds.
"Partly due to my own international background, I have always been intrigued by issues of transnational movement and migration. When I spent one semester in Jordan, I volunteered at a school for Somali refugees. Since returning to Germany after working at CRS this summer, I have been eager to get involved in the Syrian refugee crisis. Every week in Berlin, I go to my local town hall, which has partially been converted to temporary housing quarters, and help with any task that's most pressing at the time, such as organizing the clothing donations or simply cleaning. I am registered as someone who can interpret Russian and some Arabic, and once I got a phone call and helped somebody understand the procedure for acquiring a free public transportation ticket. I am now studying in Berlin in a Sociology Master's program with an emphasis on European issues."
Thank you, Marta, for all that you have given to Camp and your community. Your thoughtfulness, awareness, and kindness make us proud to call you an alumna of Rising Sun.