Island Times Blog

A Home Away From Home

December 23rd, 2014 by C.C. Mesenbourgh |

This Island Times blog entry is part of a series of personal essays illustrating how SeaTrek has impacted the lives of our students and staff. We thank CC Mesenbourg for this heartfelt account of what SeaTrek has meant to her.


I am from a small town in Michigan. Where I am from, people do not get out much. However, this small town girl had big dreams, and since her mother gave her wings instead of roots, this small town girl was going out to pursue her dreams.

 My dream to become a marine biologist has quite literally been a dream all of my life (since I was four years old). My parents were really supportive; so supportive in fact that they were willing to send me on the adventure of a life time 3,000 miles away, and this adventure was called SeaTrek. I was really nervous at first – new people, new places, and new experiences. A whole three weeks with limited contact and a whole new life waiting for me. I remember everything about my first year. The boat was called Retirement Fun, the captain’s name was Trey, and I still remember all of the friends I made over those three weeks.

 I was very nervous for my first SCUBA experience. I remember the internal conflict I had once my head went underwater, “You can’t breath underwater!” said my brain. “Trust the equipment!” said my heart. My head and my heart fought it out for about 3 seconds before my brain said, “Wait…didn’t you learn that this thing holds compressed air? Well let’s try it.” Then there I was breathing underwater. It was the most exhilarating feeling I have ever felt in my life.

 I came back the next year and experience my first summer all over again, but learned so much more. I helped teach the first year students, and as I was teaching I thought to myself, “Maybe I could be an intern.” I remember learning about ShIP (SeaTrek’s Hip Intern Program) my first year. I even applied, but I was not quite ready. So I applied again in 2012. I tried to learn as much as I could my second year as a student so hopefully I would feel more prepared. When the summer was over I was so sad to go. I felt like this place was a home away from home. I made so many new friends and SCUBA diving was now a part of my life.

 As soon as I got the application, I started filling it out and getting my letters of recommendation. Then on one October day, I was accepted. I couldn’t believe it; I became overjoyed to have been given the opportunity. I got to know the current and new staff members over time, before we went to SeaTrek. I started feeling like they were a family, and I now got to be a part of that family. I found a place where I knew I fit in, and I could become a better person.

 Then the time came to go back. I was excited, and I honestly thought I would be afraid, but I wasn’t. I had nothing to fear. Everyone was supportive, kind, and helpful. As I was working, I was also learning too. I became more and more confident in my skills and in my leadership. As the students arrived, I felt excited. I had so much I wanted to show them, and I wanted them to have the best summer of their lives. As the summer went on I watched them grow as divers, but more importantly as individuals. I was so proud of every single one of them. I was proud of myself too and how far I had come. Even though some may say SeaTrek is hard work, it is rewarding. You get out what you put into your experience, and I like to think I got the best out of all of the opportunities. Then my first summer as an intern ended, and I couldn’t wait for the next one to start.

 During our time off, I had an unfortunate event happen in my family. My sister was diagnosed with cancer and it took a toll on my family. My family got support from our friends and other family members, but all of the SeaTrek staff was there to offer their prayers and support as well. This was an overwhelming feeling. They had only known me for a short time and showed me tremendous support.

 During my second year as an intern, it was defiantly harder. I was constantly worrying about my sister and my family. But, I could always find someone to talk to. No matter what, I could talk to anyone and they would listen and help me cope. I could not be more thankful that I could talk to anyone and not feel uncomfortable. Even the Program Directors made time to make sure I was okay. My second year was hard, but it was also the most rewarding. I learned a lot and taught more. I refined my skills as a leader and helped to refine the skills of others.

 SeaTrek has been a major part of my life. Because of this program I am a more confident leader, teacher, diver, and sailor. I am very excited for the years to come. I know I have a lot to learn, a lot to teach, and a lot of places to go, but I will always have a home away from home, thanks to SeaTrek.

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