My time at the Virginia Beach Surf & Rescue Museum this summer has been a wonderful experience! I have learned so much here and feel like I have grown, both professionally and personally. Even though I was only here a few months, I got to experience many once-in-a-lifetime events. I was able to understand and start to love a town’s history and culture, so much so that it feels like home now. It was fascinating to learn all about the history of the Coast Guard and the Life-Saving Service, but more importantly, the individuals who brought these institutions to life in Virginia Beach.

I was able to jump right in and experience the crazy and amazing world of a small museum in my first week. I gave tours, helped physically put up exhibits, worked at the front desk, and did a million other small jobs during my time here. I was never bored and always had some new, exciting challenge to tackle. The programs I was able to work on and create for the museum were awesome, and I am so excited to see them implemented in the future. It is such a humbling feeling to know that your hard work and creativity have positively impacted a place as special as this. Also, working with other staff members to collectively get assignments done, and using our combined creativity and problem solving skills was great. It made me realize that having supportive and wonderful coworkers is so important, and I was so lucky for all the people that worked at this museum.

The most impactful part of this experience was interacting with visitors from all over. I was able to talk to and get to know lots of interesting and unique people, some Virginia Beach locals, and some from far away countries. Being able to connect with them and explain the amazing history of this place was extremely rewarding. I learned so much from hearing about their homes, why they were traveling, and especially what attracted them to our museum. Many visitors had a particular interest, and I was able to help teach them some things they might not have known. Other visitors simply found our place by a happy accident, and were astonished when they found out just how rich our history and connection to Virginia Beach community is.

All in all, this is one summer I will never forget. I will forever cherish my time here, and I hope I will be back to visit soon!