Melanie Sandoval

1/31/2014

I chose to seek the opportunity to fulfill my second year as a Youth Leader for my church’s annual week long summer camp for all the young women in the youth program. This stake-wide activity, which include the congregations from a few cities that make up one stake, is available for all girls ages 12-17. All girls in their Junior and Senior year of high school are expected to be leaders of a selected cabin. The other responsibilities include coming up with songs, choosing hymns and scriptures to read and sing, and constructing the main spiritual activity we do near the end of the week. In the two years available for Youth Leadership, you have an expectation for be patient, prayerful, virtuous, and a role model to the younger girls you will be around for 4 days. I felt very accomplished having gone every year since I was 12 because I really love the outdoors and everything camping has to offer.
As preparations came to a close and camp was in less then a week, we received our assigned groups. I was to be in charge of the year campers- green 12 year olds. I never had any doubts before, but at that moment I had second guessed my abilities. The good thing about serving with my 3 other Youth Leaders was that we decided to throw a get together to get to know who we were leading before camp even started. It was nice seeing all the enthusiastic faces, but I had noticed particular girl who was shyer than the others. Also, she was annoyed by the leg brace she had on. Something in me had pushed me hard enough to talk to her, a feat for someone like me. I could not believe how nervous I was to talk to a 12 year old. I broke the ice by introducing myself and asking her about her interests. We got on the subject of shows and I saw her just start to have this aura of enthusiasm and we talked for the rest of the time. I was relieved that I got off on the right foot with her. As soon as the real deal of camp came around she looked up to me for guidance and support as well as some sort of humor because I seemed to let loose as a leader. It was great having her and the other girls around because I felt like an older sister with a younger sister that really seemed to like me. It was just so joyful and happy. I was with them all day, everyday of camp. Whether it was archery, hiking, crafts, or quiet spiritual time. I felt like all the Youth Leaders had done a great job of organizing and pulling of the 2013 year of Girl’s camp in spite of all the lack of ideas we started with in January. I happened to run into the same girl at another activity a short while ago and it was as if we picked up where we left off, still great friends.

5/31/2013

I began this semester of my volunteer hours with some creativity. I teamed up with some classmates to make blankets and give them to children on Valentine’s Day. A friend contacted Mrs. Gallegos, the woman in charge of the Covina section of Blankets of Love, and we set up a meeting. The team walked to her room at Cedargrove Elementary school to get the rules and dates. Mrs. Gallegos explained to us how to make the blankets and when they would be taken.I really loved how she explained the enjoyment on the faces of the young children who, even though face turmoil through illness, they receive a simple delight in the form of a blanket. A few days later we set a date to meet and make the blankets.It was really fun taking a usually boring Friday night and turning it into a productive, creative night. We took longer than expected making the knots on the blankets, but no one complained. We all bonded over this wonderful act of service. After making the blankets, we wrote small letters to be sent with the children, wrapped them up, and game them to Mrs. Gallegos.

Another thing I did this semester was participate in Charter Oak’s Track team. This marked my 3rd consecutive year of being a sprinter. At every home track meet I would make use of my free time by setting up the field for the events. I would mainly setup hurdles, take them down, and pick up trash when the meet was over. I enjoyed seeing everyone come together and use their talents to compete. There was always a unifying team spirit present on the field. The track meet would always be something I looked forward to in the season. I’m glad I could not only participate but also serve in the ways I did.

Another event I volunteered to help in was to help create the annual Unity Fair at Charter Oak. My interest in the event peaked when my English teacher, Mrs. Wilcox, explained to the class that the event was in danger of being canceled, thus breaking the tradition. I offered to volunteer. I was glad to be a part of the creative team behind advertising the activity. I remember a specific meeting where we were trying to come up with a theme. A friend of mine was offering up one, but he doubted anyone would have interest. We all encouraged him to speak up and offer his idea. After he said that the theme should be about the “celebration of celebrations” we adopted it as the fair’s theme. Another enjoyable moment was when I was creating the poster that was eventually hung around school. I was proud that I could use my knowledge in graphics to be a part of a small but vital part of Unity Fair.At the actual event, we had a pretty good sized crowd. It seemed like everyone enjoyed themselves with the food and music. The atmosphere gave all the volunteers an accomplished feeling. I am certainly looking forward to next year’s unity fair.

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I also have begun planning for this upcoming summer’s girl’s camp trip. Since mid January, the junior and senior girls of the Glendora Stake of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints have met once a month, every month. We have coordinated, planned, and discussed about the expectations for camp. We mainly discuss what we should accomplish as cabin leaders for these girls that go to the camp (the younger girls of the stake). We were also assigned groups to teach a specific first aid tactic at the first meeting between the leaders and the girls going. We presented a skit, introduced the theme, and taught the young girls about treating heat exhaustion, heat stroke, and hypothermia. My group worked out well and the girls really learned. I am highly anticipating being a youth leader for a cabin of these elementary and middle school girls again in the summer.

Another act of service I accomplished took place in early May at Huntington Beach. Charter Oak High School’s Earth Club had a party to finish off the year with. Not only did we enjoy the refreshing feeling of the beach, but a group of us picked up trash in the sand. There was so many bits of plastic scattered everywhere. The beach is such a luxury and it should not be taken for granted by having trash mindlessly tossed on it. What I picked up and threw away was minuscule compared to all the trash throughout the whole beach, but I like making any kind of impact.

Finally, a bulk of my time came from volunteering time to my dad to make the invoices his work. My dad works as a commercial plumber for a Mr.Joe Timko in Glendora. He runs a business called Equity Saver. Mr.Timko sends my dad an address to a new house that needs plumbing done. My dad does all the plumbing of the house then comes back to me. Then I word process the bill as I listen to my dad verbally recall all the things he does on the job cites. Along with the work, I calculate and list the total for the materials and then my dad will calculate the total of his labor. I make these invoices about 3 times a week. After I print out 2 copies of the invoice (sometimes I must make 4, 6 was the most I did on one day). I total them, put them in an envelope, and write the total of all the invoices at the bottom right of the envelope. From there my dad gives Mr. Timko the envelope and Mr. Timko gives my dad a check. I find this work not to demanding, but it is so important that I complete it. I always do this for my dad and I never ask for money. Along with Mr. Timko, I make some invoices for Mr. Dave Greaves of Spectrum Plumbing. He is my father’s main employer. I have a great responsibility tied with this job, so I always step up and make sure to always be accurate when I type up invoices.

Service 1/22/2013

”    This past summer I had the pleasure to lead a wonderful group of 14 year old group of my church’s annual LDS Girl’s Camp for the 2012 summer at Camp Rancho Alegre in Santa Barbara, CA for 5 days. Ever since I started going to the camp, I had longed to become a leader myself. In order to become a successful leader I had to gathered the confidence and know how in order. Being a 1st time leader I had this notion that I would have to always report and console to the adult leaders present on this trip. To my surprise, it seemed as though all the focus and work towards this experience actually shone through on the 20 girls and 3 other girl leaders I was rooming with in this small and humble cabin. What I hoped for was to lead as an example, to show the girls that being a woman of all the principles we learned in our average Sunday school were not limited to the Sabbath day. The other youth leaders and I personalized the cabin in order to welcome the girls. Besides being an example, my other sole responsibilities were to make sure all the girls were physically safe and had a feeling of soundness. I remember an instance where it felt like 2 specific girls were always on edge when near each other. I had an idea to come together as a cabin and kind of confront some issues that had accumulated for the 2nd day. After a large discussion, all was resolved and the spiritual reverence we strove for was back into balance. At times I had missed home. I adore being around nature and peers, and I could have asked to go home, but this determination to somehow not fail these girls stayed within me. By night 5, after our biggest spiritual activity that was a play on “burying of our weapons” all the girls from years 1 to 4 and the youth and adult leaders created a unity. This experience taught me that escaping from the hustle and bustle of idle summer life that would be lounged away on social networking sites and heading into nature could achieve a heightened sense of serenity and spirituality. I was a teacher and a friend with a determination to find the perfect balance of the 2 positions I had to take. Going to camp as a 1st year leader was a great experience that I devoted a whole week 2 and I am glad to say that I am going to participate again in this coming summer.”

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