Start Now to Plan Meaningful College Experiences

Start Now to Plan Meaningful College Experiences | Gretchen Wegner | Megan Dorsey | Teens | Parents | Summer | Colleges | Universities | Volunteer | Experiences | TravelTeens and parents! What will you do this summer to have experiences that are both meaningful and impress colleges on your applications? Looking for free and low-cost solutions?

Now is the time to start planning. We know it seems super early, but the truth is that many of these opportunities have application deadlines mid-semester. We don’t want you to miss out just because you put off planning.

Here are the 5 types of experiences that Megan suggests students and parents consider; tune into the episode to hear details about how to find each of them:

  • Subject-specific camps at colleges and universities
  • Hands on work in the field of study that interests the student most
  • “Big” volunteer experiences that meet or exceed 80 hours a week
  • World travel through organizations like your local rotary club or the state department
  • Full-time jobs that actually clock 40 hours per week

Click here to head over to the College Prep Podcast to listen to this episode.

Safe, Fun & Life Changing Adventure Travel Trips for Teens

Gretchen Wegner | Megan | Claire Perrone | Adventure Travel | Teen | Teens | Moondance Adventures | students |

This week on the College Prep Podcast with Gretchen Wegner and her co-host Megan Dorsey:

Ever considered adventure travel as an interesting summer option for your teen?

There are many companies that take teens on cool trips around the world and build their life and leadership skills, to boot.

On today’s podcast, we interview an expert in the field of adventure travel. Claire Perrone, of Moondance Adventures, started off as a 12-year-old on her first Moondance adventure. Since then, she has transitioned from the role of student to a leader to Community Service Director; so she can speak about adventure travel for teens from a few different perspectives. Specifically, she, Megan and Gretchen discuss:

  • What is adventure travel?
  • What are the benefits to students of participating in these types of trips?
  • How can you tell if your child is ready for this type of experience?
  • What should parents look for when finding the right trip for their child?
  • How is a Moondance trip different from the hundreds of other travel opportunities?
  • What is the affordability of adventure travel trips?

Moondance is a teen adventure travel company based in Nashville, TN. They offer 25 awe-inspiring summer programs for high school aged students, domestically and abroad. Check them out on their website or their popular Instagram feed.

Click here to tune into the podcast and learn more about adventure travel.

Tips to Wrap Up the Summer without Stress

Tips to wrap up the summer without stressThe beginning of the school year is always crazy and stressful for families.

But if you follow these tips for wrapping up the summer, you’ll save yourself some stress later on.

It’s an investment of time that’s well worth it. 

Here’s the basic checklist:

  • Update your resume
  • Get basic school supplies before stores run out
  • Finish the summer assignments
  • Make appointments to talk to people from school
  • Put all the dates from the school’s calendar into YOUR calendar
  • send thank you’s to anyone who helped you
  • Ask for recommendation letters
  • Attend orientation
  • Write goals for the year

Now listen in so that you can hear Megan and Gretchen’s commentary about each one!

Go Ahead and Fake It!

Children doing tae kwon do.

I stopped short when I stumbled upon the following quote yesterday:

“To pretend, I actually do the thing: I have therefore only pretended to pretend.” ~Derrida

My friend and mentor Meri Walker had posted it on her blog. She proceeded to ruminate about how she and her partner John are both artists, and imagine the craziest things into being:

John imagines something and then commits to fabricating it, come hell or highwater. That’s how he put skylights in the top of the TransAmerica tower, for instance. The union asked him if he could do that, he looked inside his imagination to see if he could “see” that scene, said “Yes,” and then set about discovering how to make what he had seen show up in the 3-D world.

When you are imagining something, you’re pretending that thing already exists. John and Meri have proved in their own lives that once you fake it, you can make it! I highly recommend reading the rest of her post.

When I read Meri’s words, though, I couldn’t help but think about the InterPlay classes I teach. InterPlay is an active, creative approach to unlocking the wisdom of the body. Classes include improvisational storytelling, movement, and singing.

During the InterPlay warm up, I’ll invite people to try on different movements by faking them. “Try some fake karate!” I’ll suggest. “Now, how about fake tap dancing!?” And finally, “Get into those hips with a little fake hula, why don’t you!?”

New Interplayers always giggle when we start faking it. Perhaps out of nervousness. But mostly, I think, because it’s fun and freeing.

In fact, some recent personal “aha!”s have emerged from the fake forms.

See, I’m a perfectionist. Big time. Which doesn’t always allow me to relax and have fun because I’m often worried about doing things right. That’s why the fake forms are so good for me. They let me off the hook for being perfect.

Now that I’ve gotten good at doing fake karate, I’m finding other ways to trick my inner perfectionist into letting go. For example, when I started my blog, I gave myself permission to be a “fake blogger.” Somehow, that allowed me to just start DOING it.

And before I knew it, my posts weren’t fake anymore. Somewhere along the way they turned real.

Of course, Derrida would disagree with me slightly. He’d say that pretending to do something is, ummmmmm, actually doing it. So my blog posts never turned real. They were real all along.

Yay for faking it! Because once you fake it, you’ve already started imagining that new thing into being.

This all just begs the question: What are you going to fake today?

(If you’d like to be a fake InterPlayer, come on down to one of my classes in San Francisco or Oakland. I’d love to play with you!)

Easy Focus

Binoculars

The following post is part of a project to share reflections about all 28 of the core elements of InterPlay.  For background information about InterPlay or this project, read What the Heck is InterPlay?! Subscribe by email to receive updates.

Easy focus. Eeeeeeeezy focus! Easy, now.  Easy!

I love things that are easy. So when I learned that the most fundamental InterPlay tool is called “easy focus,” I knew I was onto a good thing.

Easy focus is the process of widening our focus, relaxing our bodies, and using all of our senses to percieve the world around us.

A Personal Story

Just last week I was at a wine bar on a first date. Now, I don’t know anything about wine.  Nada. Zilch. So I got a little stressed when my date playfully suggested I do a blind taste test.  Always the good student, I prepared by studying a sip of each wine in our flight, willing myself to find words to describe their subtle differences.  I was concentrating so hard, my forehead wrinkled and my eyes squinted. Focusing too hard can be uncomfortable!

Luckily, I caught myself mid-squint and realized I was taking this taste test far too seriously. “Gretchen dear,” I told myself.  “How about just relaxing, and trusting that your taste buds know the difference?  You’ve tasted the wines once.  You’ll be fine!”

In other words — have an easy focus about the whole thing!

Immediately I relaxed. Smiled. Took a deep breath. Closed my eyes. Tasted…and voila! I passed the test with flying colors! Not a single wine misidentified.  Proud was I. Impressed was my date. Well played, Gretchen, well played.

Both a Physical Experience and a State of Mind.

Easy focus is a physical experience in that it involves relaxing the face muscles, loosening the eyes’ hold on any one object, and widening one’s peripheral vision.

Easy focus is also a state of mind in that it involves a loosening of our need to control situations.  It is an accepting state, a surrender of sorts.  Easy focus acknowledges that our bodies are capable of holding multiple feelings and ideas at one time.

Sheesh! The weekend after the wine bar date I had a bajillion feelings swirling inside of me — sorrow over a recent break up, thrill about this new connection, fear about all of life’s uncertainties, and more.  All these feelings, all at once! I’m grateful for the InterPlay practice of easy focus because it allows me to hold two or more seemingly conflicting realities at one time. As the facilitator’s handbook says so reassuringly,

We can go crazy trying to focus on one thing or another, or we can relax and have the fullness of all the elements that make up our lives.

How to Create Easy Focus

Tip 1: Take a deep breath and let it out with a loud sigh. Try it now (you’ll see; it’s really satisfying!): Deep breath. Loud side. We do that all the time during InterPlay.  In fact, there’s nothing sweeter than the sound of 10 people sighing together.

Tip 2: Roll the MuseCubes. They’re a set of dice that help people shake themselves into new mindstates.  Roll the dice, and then do what they say: Shake and howl! Twist and whoop! Most people report feeling more relaxed, more vibrant, and more open.

Tip 3. Take a walk outside. Recently, I blogged about the role that nature plays in calming our attention, which results in more brain power when we go back to trying to focus later.  This is exactly the effect Phil and Cynthia talk about when they say, “it can be quite wondrful to be in an easy focus state and then let the focus come out and do its wonderful work.

Tip 4.  What do you think? What creates a sense of easy focus for you? Please comment!