Today I spent most of the day with the rest of the girls from ILC, which was really fun. After we ate breakfast at the VDub, Jackie picked us up in the 12-seater van at 10:00, and we all piled in; it was a somewhat nostalgic feeling, a reminder of how different our lifestyles were just last week when we were driving to colleges all over the Northeast.
After a bumpy hour-long ride, we reached a crowded beach with white sand and warm water. Although it was crowded, overall it was much nicer and cleaner than the beach I went to yesterday. I am extremely worried about the amount of trash people leave on and around beaches; the "clean" beach of today was by no means free of trash, and when I have done beach cleanups at home in the past I always discover ridiculous amounts of small plastic that doesn't biodegrade and is harmful to the environment. I want to help people become more conscious of this, and other practices that hurt the environment. My passion toward environmental issues has been helping me develop my action plan, which I will discuss later in this blog.
We spent about four hours at the beach, swimming in the water, leaping through waves, and napping on shore. Napping was relaxing while it lasted, but it is currently coming back to haunt me, because I didn't wear nearly enough sunscreen today. This experience and my mom's recent advice to me to always wear sunscreen will motivate me in the future, because being burned is not fun. On the bright side, spending the day at the beach allowed me time to read The Kite Runner, which I brought along with me but have not found time to dive into thus far.
I was starving when we got home from the beach, so a few people and I went to dinner at the Ratty. After dinner, we had another Community Time session; all the Leadership Institute kids gathered together and listened to a few of the RA's share their experiences with creating and carrying out Action Plans. The information was useful; at this point, I think I know what I have to do, and now is the time to actually DO it. A major point of the Action Plan is that everyone actually puts what they have learned during this summer into practice. My personal Action Plan is going to focus on building trails in the El Cerrito hills and other local natural areas in an environmentally conscious manner. I am hoping to get connected to a local trail-building group, as well as the East Bay Regional Parks District. If volunteer opportunities to help build come up, I can also appeal to my school for this; I'm a board member on my school's Interact Club, which is a community service club, and trail-building would be a good volunteer opportunity. I still have a lot of details and issues to work out, but I'm glad that I have a foundation for my Action Plan.