Hello Summer!

Hello everyone! I am so excited to share my summer adventures with you all.

Throughout my life, summer has never been something to look forward to. Usually all of my friends went on exciting trips and I was always stuck at home, working and doing nothing. Not this year! I’ve always wanted a summer that I would never forget, and this year I think it’s safe to say that I will not forget this summer.

For me, summer started two weeks ago after my last high school final ever. It has only been two weeks and I feel like I’ve already had all the fun I could possibly have!

On the first day of summer, myself and a couple of my wonderful friends went to Letchworth State Park to see the beautiful views and hike on a couple trails.

Izzie, Tristan, me, and Evan at Letchworth!

Seeing Letchworth got me in the mood to go on more fun adventures with my friends. We decided to start doing as much as possible before we all left for our vacations this summer, and so we did!

We went to our first drive-in movie in a small town called Avon, about 25 minutes from Rochester (where I live). We all crammed into my friend Tim’s pickup truck and saw Now You See Me 2. The movie was mediocre but the experience was super fun.

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A very poor quality picture of all 6 of us in the bed of Tim’s pickup truck at the drive-in!

Next on our list of summer adventures was to go to Grimes Glen, a park with a mile long creek walk, along with three different waterfalls to climb. I’ve been scared of heights my whole life, so climbing waterfalls did not seem to be up my alley. I tagged along anyway, and I’m so glad I did! I don’t know what inspired me, but I was able to climb up the steep and challenging ropes course that led up the waterfalls. It was terrifying, but I did it and it felt amazing to conquer one of my fears. The waterfalls were gorgeous and it was so refreshing to swim in the natural pools that formed at the bottom of each waterfall.

Me and my amigos after climbing all three waterfalls and then climbing all the way back down at Grimes Glen.
This is me looking at the first waterfall we were going to climb… I was terrified.

Our adventure continued through to that same evening, when we drove out to a town called Spencerport, 20 minutes away from Rochester. Here I conquered my fear of heights again… by jumping off of a bridge into a river (don’t worry, it was safe and legal!). Again, I was absolutely horrified at the thought of jumping off of a bridge. I told my friends that I would not do it. Luckily, I have amazing friends and they all jumped off the bridge first, showing me that it was fun. I still wasn’t convinced and I was just about ready to pee my pants, but I did it! I ended up jumping off two more times after my first jump. It was so scary but also exhilarating and again I felt so amazing about conquering my fear! The rest of the night I felt like I was on top of the world.

One of my favorite things to do in the summer is to watch the sun set over the many lakes that are nearby. After a couple of my friends’ graduation party, we all decided to watch the sunset over Ontario Lake in Webster, NY. It was an absolutely beautiful night. Being with my friends is my favorite thing, so watching the sunset over an incredible horizon was wonderful.

The sunset in Webster with Carley, Brooke, myself, Kate, and Maggie. 

That just about wraps up what I’ve done with my summer so far, but there is so much more ahead! In exactly one week, my best friend Maggie and I will be traveling to Denmark to visit her exchange student from last year, Liva. The three of us had the best times last year together when Liva was here, so I’m beyond excited to spend two weeks together in Denmark! This is the first time I’ll be traveling outside of the country (besides Canada) and I’m extremely ecstatic.

Liva, me, and Maggie shopping in Chicago last year!

After Denmark, I am going on a road trip with two of my friends, Mandy and Katie, to go visit a friend in Canada! I’m a big fan of road trips so that will be very fun. Besides that, my family and I will be going on our first family vacation at the end of July! Me, my parents, my two brothers, my sister-in-law, and my niece will all be traveling up to Maine and Boston to visit family and to relax at our favorite beach in Maine: York Beach. Besides all of that fun stuff, I’ll be hanging out with my adorable niece, Addison (I’m obsessed with her if you guys aren’t able to tell by all my snapchats), playing volleyball weekly at a local beach on Ontario Lake, and saying goodbye to all of my incredible friends who will be going to school all over the country. I’ll miss them but I’m super excited to make new friends and teammates at Geneseo this August! I can’t wait to meet you all and play the best sport in the world with you guys: VOLLEYBALL!

Kat Vernon, Freshman

My dad, me, my mom, my brother Josh and his wife Jessica, and my brother Patrick after I graduated from high school!
Me and my niece hanging out in the sun!

A Long Island Summer

WOW. I truly cannot believe that I have already made it through one year of college. Not only that, I can’t even believe I’m already a month into summer. It really seems like the older I’m getting, the quicker time goes by. But, I’ve already done so much this summer.

Long Island summers are a lot different than summers spent in other areas of New York. Not only do we have the ocean and it’s beautiful beaches, but we have the greatest city in the world right in our backyard. If you know me, you know that the majority of my summer is spent on either one of my family’s two boats. Since as long as I can remember, my family has spent every  summer Sunday out on the boat, tying up to our friends’ boats, and spending the entire day lying out in the sun or swimming off the stern of the boat (the stern is the back side). With the smaller of our two boats, we participate in just about any water sport you can think of- water skiing, tubing, wake boarding, knee boarding, skurfing- you name it. On some Sundays, rather than dock our boat in the bay, we’ll take it to Short Beach, a small beach with boat slips that you can only get to by boat. It has a long boardwalk adjacent to all the boat slips with a small shop at the end. At the other end, there’s a small river that separates the boardwalk from a sandbar- a beach that only shows up when the tide is low enough. At high tide, the beach basically disappears.


This is one of our two boats! We’ve had it now for probably about ten years. Along with taking it out every Sunday, every summer we spend a weekend sleeping on it in Zach’s Bay. Zach’s bay is the small bay that surrounds Jones Beach Theater. If you’re unfamiliar with Jones Beach Theater, it’s a theater in Wantagh that hosts so many awesome concerts every summer. Just this past weekend, my siblings and I took the boat to Zach’s Bay to listen to Dave Matthews Band performing there. It was amazing being able to listen to the voices of the band members singing and the fans screaming and cheering.


This is just to give you an idea of what Jones Beach Theater looks like. It’s an amazing venue and is a must for anyone spending summer on Long Island. I’m really excited because in a couple weeks I’m actually going to see my two favorite bands, Sublime with Rome and The Dirty Heads, at the Theater with my two sisters. We bought tickets really close to the front row so it’s going to be such an amazing experience.

As far as volleyball for this summer, my older brother, Peter, and my older sister, Devan,  and I made a beach team in the Long Beach recreational league.  We play every Wednesday night with a few of our other friends that have played volleyball before. We’ve been doing so well so far- I’m pretty sure we’re in the top 10 out of at least 60 teams right now! Even though playing beach is a lot different than playing indoors, I’m still getting a lot of practice. I also play on our front lawn with my younger sister Brooke all the time. She’s a junior in high school and plays middle. It’s fun playing with her because her skill level and style of playing is so similar to mine. We spend hours outside peppering or just hitting down balls at each other. Brooke also does the volleyball workout packet with me. It makes it so much easier to workout when you’re doing it with someone who shares the same goals as me.

Here’s a few pictures of me with all my siblings. My family is very close knit so Devan, Peter and Brooke are my best friends. We spend so much time together over the summer doing things like going to the beach, fishing, or just hanging out in the backyard. Just recently, Devan and Peter participated in a shark tournament. It’s basically just a competition to see who can catch the biggest shark in a certain amount of time. Devan and Peter went out with two of their other friends and ended up catching the second place shark- a Thresher shark that weighed 283 pounds! They brought it to the dock and we got to see it up close. I had never been that close to a shark before so it was a really cool experience. I’ve also never gone shark fishing before, so that’s definitely on my bucket list for this summer.


Here’s a picture of my sister Devan with the second place Thresher! You can’t see in this picture, but the sharks tail fin extended probably another 6 feet.

So basically, other than going on the boat, going to the beach, playing volleyball, and working, I don’t really have anything exciting to do this summer. And I’m completely fine with that- I’m just enjoying being home with my family and preparing for the upcoming school year and volleyball season. There’s so much to come!

The Summer of a Country Girl.


           As the lazy days of summer begin to unfold, the time to enjoy a life with a slower pace begins. As the sun lingers overhead, birds chatter from every tree, the crickets sing us to sleep, the ability to take time and relax is upon us. Summer is a chance to gain a new perspective while stepping away from cramming for final exams, writing that last paper and finally graduating from high school.

          Living in the country, I have learned two things. Number one: never forget your muck boots. Number two: make your life an adventure. As a rule in my life, I believe in seizing every opportunity that one is given no matter how unexpected. Small towns often come with limited opportunities or as I see it as unlimited possibility. The summer after senior year is a time to take every opportunity before life begins to speed up including spending time with family and accomplishing the unthinkable.

           Even though my summer vacation does not begin until this weekend, the start of the summer season first began for me as my father, cousins and I traveled to Philadelphia. Every year we take a trip to a new place, a new city to explore and to run the Tough Mudder. Our team, Team Die Trying, began many years ago with more people than we have today, but the feeling of running 12 miles in overcoming over two dozen obstacles leads me every year to believe “Why do I do this to myself?” The feeling of accomplishment of crossing the finish line and receiving that headband allows me to know that I am capable of doing anything I set my mind to even when it seems a little crazy.

My cousins Corey and Ryan, my father and I after completing our last Tough Mudder.

          The ability to alter my life has allowed me to take chances on different experiences. My parents are able to give me amazing opportunities and even live through them with me. My father once asked me if I would take scuba diving lessons with him and today it has become one of my favorite pastimes. Whenever we have a free weekend, my father and I will grab our gear and a couple of friends and head out to the lake. Each time we head out, we look for new spots or shipwrecks that have just come up on the map. One of our favorite dives is the Niagara River drift. Starting at the top of the river, the current will carry you downstream toward Niagara Falls. Every time, there is something new to see from fish and wildlife to old glass bottles from the 1800s, and if you’re lucky gold coins from a shipwreck that happened up river over 100 years ago.

           Every year, our family takes a trip up to the thousand islands the first week in August. In this part of the state, there are larger shipwrecks and deeper dives. Every year, we dive the ship named The America. On this old freighter, all of the cabin doors are left open, so there’s always a new room to explore. The best part of the ship is sitting at the bottom in the captain’s chair with the entire glass window still intact. From this seat, you can see the entire ship, as well as the new reef that has grown around it.

Diving The America.
This is an image of The Keystorm; another shipwreck that we have dove.

         Before I leave for college, I want to spend as much time with my family as I can. I love spending time with my sister who understands me wholeheartedly and my very spontaneous younger brother.  We do everything together from ATVing with my brother to painting with my sister. Even if this time means helping build my Dad’s crazy tree house or making a new recipe with my mom, every adventure is new and unique.

My sister, Madi and our best friend Jack.
My brother, Tyler, as we ride through local trails.


One of my family’s favorite pastimes is to make pizza in our pizza oven!

        The rest of my summer is pretty simple. Spending time with family, relaxing by the pool, and working as a teacher’s aide for a local summer school program. I cannot wait to start my newest adventure at Geneseo. See you all in August!

Abbey Scheffler



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H.A.G.S.- Have A Great Summer

“Have a great summer!” is the last thing most people say before going our separate ways for the summer. Summers are a great time for relaxing, catching up and enjoying the outdoors.

For me, summer is a time for working and working out.

Summer is when I work to save up for my next adventure. And as I am about to start my last semester of college, my next adventure comes soon. I am hoping to save up this summer so I will be able to travel for six months when I complete school in December. I can’t wait to return to Geneseo to play volleyball with my best friends one last time before the real world starts.

But enough talk of school, summer has just started. And to begin my summer I returned home to Florida for a couple weeks. It was nice to be home and enjoying the sunshine. While back in Gainesville I returned to many of my favorite spots to explore.

Devils Den- This is a prehistoric spring near my home that is one of the coolest locations I have ever dived in. I went this summer and saw various fish, turtles, and other marine life.


Ichnatuctnee River- This river offers the most beautiful natural view of North Central Florida. They allow individuals to take floaties down it almost like a lazy river, just to see the amazing the clear water. Every time I go home, I make sure to go down the river at least once. And yes, there are alligators there.


Somewhere on a Beach- Even though I live about an hour and a half from the beach, I still try to go whenever I am home. My best friend Esther and I went to celebrate our birthdays this year.


I was born and raised in Gainesville, Florida.  The University of Florida is in Gainesville, and I am a huge Florida Gators fan. I live about six blocks from the stadium and have been going to sporting events there since I was little.

Spice in the Swamp-This is me in my favorite place, Ben Hill Griffin Stadium at Florida Field with my favorite companion, my dog Spice. While I was in Florida, this is where I was doing my summer workouts and trying not to die of heat exhaustion. I worked on “Gator Mountains” which involves climbing up 90 rows of bleachers in the stadium.


Birks and Baseball- Not much happens in the summer in Gainesville, besides for Gator Baseball. The Gators have been number one in the country for the majority of the season, and are really fun to watch play. This summer I watched the Gators play in the SEC, round one and two of NCAA’s, and was there when they earned their way to the College World Series. I plan to continue to watch them while they are in Omaha, as the Gators will be going for their first national championship in baseball. Go Gators!


Earlier this week my mom and I made our annual road trip to our lake house with our dog Spice. This year we made a stop along the way to spend time with my brother in Morgantown, West Virginia.

My family- This is me, my mum, and brother Jeremy on Cooper’s Rock right outside of Morgantown enjoying the sunset.


Happy Dog- After the long journey, we finally returned to our lake house on Keuka Lake. This is Spice swimming when we first arrived. This makes Spice’s 12th summer at the lake.


Camp Good Days- For the rest of the summer I am working at Camp Good Days and Special Times. This is a summer camp made especially for kids and families who are fighting cancer. This is my third summer working here, and I couldn’t be most excited for another summer working with these kids. Working at camp puts everything in perspective, and I leave every summer with a new outlook on life. In addition, I have a gym membership here and continue to work out and prepare for season.


Paddling with Pup- On my off days, I will be spending time with friends and family at my lake house. So if you need me for the rest of the summer, I’ll be right here.




Summer ’16: Closing my Chapter on High School 

In the summer of 2015, two friends and I went on a 20 day European excursion with a tour group through France, England, Switzerland, and Italy. 

Because of this lengthy trip I went on last summer, I decided to stay local this summer and make the most of my time with my friends before college. As all of you know, I just recently graduated from high school on June 4th. 

These past four years have been so amazing and even though I’m sad to leave high school and my friends, I could not be more excited to start my new journey through college. 

I won’t be having too many crazy adventures this summer, unlike the last,  but I really look forward to relaxing on the beach, making memories with my friends, and playing an unhealthy amount of beach volleyball. 

This is the beach in my neighborhood where I play in a weekly volleyball league every Wednesday. 

This picture was taken right after my team won the Division 1 championship in the Rockaway Beach Volleyball League last year and we plan on taking home the chip this year as well!!

I’m sad to leave my friends and town, but I can’t wait to see what college has in store for me! SUNY Geneseo will without a doubt host the best four years of my life and the volleyball team will be a major part of that! I’m so excited to start college with the team and begin making life-lasting memories ! ♥️

A summer to remember

Hello friends! I hope everyone is enjoying their summer so far.

Even though it is June 11th and school has been over for a month, I feel like summer just started…I haven’t been up to too many exciting things and I don’t have any crazy plans for the rest of the summer, so I’ll go more in depth on the few things that I do have going on.

For starters, let me introduce you all to the greatest part of my everyday- my pups, Loki and Thunder.

This is Loki!
This is Loki!
and this is Thunder !
and this is Thunder !

They’re so funny, cuddly and cute. I wish I could bring them up to school with me 😦

The biggest thing I have going on this summer is my internship with Canon at their Canon USA Headquarters. I am interning in their corporate Human Resources and Communications Dept. Among the many tasks I have, the two most important are the projects I will be working on throughout my 10 weeks there & that I will present to all the executives on my last day. Pretty scary, but pretty exciting. My first project is redesigning our online intranet that all Canon employees worldwide use, and my second project is highlighting the internship program on our social media pages. Although I help Coach out with our GSUVB social media accounts and have some experience, the process is so different and much more complex at Canon. For example, in order to post a tweet, it needs to go through several different departments, and finally the legal department in order to be approved for posting….crazy right? I’m learning so much and it’s only been one week. On my first day,  they gave every intern a backpack full of Canon swag and informed us that they will be taking us to Yankee Stadium in July on “Canon Night” (they’ve sponsored the Yankees since 2000), they’ll be taking us to a famous nature preserve on Long Island one day for an intern photo shoot contest, and they’ll be periodically inviting in speakers and catering lunch for us for what they call :”lunch and learns”. Their headquarters is the size of two football fields (largest corporate property on Long Island), and it is complete with a cafe/cafeteria, a gym that all employees can use for free, beautiful landscaping outside with several ponds, and three different trails employees can explore during their lunch breaks. Needless to say, I consider myself extremely lucky to have landed such a wonderful and enriching opportunity like this.

FOR INCOMING FRESHMEN: I want you to know that not knowing what your major is, or switching it at any time is COMPLETELY ok. I was an accounting major for two years and decided at the end of my sophomore year that I wanted to switch to Communication. Although the process was stressful and I was nervous I wasn’t going to graduate on time, I found a major that I fell in love with, I’m graduating on time, and I have a wonderful internship. Your teammates are always here to talk, give advice, and help you with anything you need help with.

Here’s some pictures of my experience so far:

This is the view from a  conference room next to my desk on the 5th floor. Here you can see the ponds in the front and the beautiful landscaping.
This is the view from a conference room next to my desk on the 5th floor. Here you can see the ponds in the front and the beautiful landscaping.
....but as far as I'm concerned I have the greatest view in the office :)
….but as far as I’m concerned I have the greatest view in the office 🙂
I'm not quite holding the logo in my hand, but this was from a practice run yesterday for my project where I was coming up with different picture ideas for our intern social media takeover!
I’m not quite holding the logo in my hand, but this was from a practice run yesterday for my project where I was coming up with different picture ideas for our intern social media takeover!

Other than my internship this summer I will be hanging out in Montauk any chance that I get, spending time with good friends, and enjoying my last summer as a college student.

One of my good friends Carolanne (Geneseo soccer player) and I sitting outside the Montauk Lighthouse
One of my good friends Carolanne (Geneseo soccer player) and I sitting outside the Montauk Lighthouse a few weeks ago.
The sunset at a beach 2 min from my house
The sunset at a beach 2 min from my house

Even though I’m trying to make this summer last, not a minute goes by that I’m not thinking about how excited I am to be back on the court playing with you guys.

To the sophs- I'm so proud of all you accomplished in your first year here at Geneseo. I love you guys so much and I can't wait to get back in the gym with you again.
To the sophs-
I’m so proud of all you accomplished in your first year here at Geneseo. I love you guys so much and I can’t wait to get back in the gym with you again.
To request a photo please contact Keith Walters at x5870, walters@geneseo.edu
To my lovely senior ladies- I think we can all agree that our last three years here has flown too fast. It has been such an honor playing with you all and I can’t wait to start our last season together. Thank you for all the laughs and love.

To the incoming freshmen-

Congratulations on making the greatest decision of your life in coming to Geneseo. I can’t wait to meet you all and start playing with you guys! As always, if you have any questions or concerns you can always come to us.

Lots of love to you all.

Tricia Baxley, Senior outside hitter




My Summer 2016 Edition

Summer is the time of year when the weather is warmer, the nights grow longer, where time itself seems to almost slow down as we unwind from our last four months of stress and pressure that coincides with each college semester. I prefer to spend my summer days relaxing with my friends by the pool in my backyard or if it is too hot, being comforted with two of mans greatest creations; air conditioning and Netflix. If neither of those two things are happening chances are you can find me sitting in the outdoor patio area at one of my many hometown ice cream parlors. Any one of us Batavians could tell you that “Blondies Sip and Dip” is the first place to go when looking for a frozen treat due only to the fact that a single cone is actually enough ice cream for two people. Needless to say, when my parents first moved to Batavia and my dad ordered a large…it was bigger than his face. However, if you’re looking a tad rough, like I know I am after doing those extreme off-season workouts every day, there is another ice cream parlor just up the road that would be your go to. The prices are cheap and they have a drive thru! Sometimes when they’re super busy and the drive thru line is all backed up, the owner himself comes out to each individual car and takes people’s orders so you do not have to wait nearly as long compared to anywhere else.

I am very passionate about many things, and one of those would be photography. I took a few photography classes in high school and then my senior year joined the yearbook staff and was in charge of taking pictures of the athletes at all the sporting events. Ever since then I haven’t been able to put my camera down. My parents were extremely generous and gave me a red Nikon D3200 camera two years ago for Christmas and I try to find and capture anything and everything with “Ol Red”. For those of you who aren’t country music fans, I named the camera after one of my very favorite Blake Shelton songs. I have made countless trips out to the County Park which is a little park not too far away from Batavia and it has all kinds of nature trails and ponds where, if you’re lucky, interesting wildlife can be found. I have photographed that place from top to bottom and have been very pleased with the results. I also enjoy taking photos of my friends, dogs, neighborhood, and even GCC’s baseball and lacrosse team. Having a passion for photography has taught me so many things, one being that beauty can be found even in the smallest of things. A tree,  a blade of grass, or a man sipping his morning coffee at Tim Horton might just look like an average every day thing to most people, but to me each and every one of them can be beautiful and I think its amazing how we can capture that beauty or single moment in time and have it last forever in the form of a photograph. So my goal this summer is to hopefully make it out to Letchworth State park and other local nature sights and take as many photos as I possibly can.

A photo I took of a beautiful purple flower up at Lily Dale and psychic town in NY.
County Park 035
A photo I took of the trees at the County Park the first time I went!

I was blessed with the opportunity of playing volleyball all throughout high school and for two years at Genesee Community College. I have learned so much by playing this sport, and I’m talking more than just teamwork and leadership, commitment, and hard work. I learned, especially recently, about life itself and the skills needed to handle any situation it throws at you, all from just playing one sport for so any years. I have been actively trying to get my two younger sisters to take up an interest in volleyball as well but they’re still young and would rather play soccer (I wont give up!). As my volleyball career grows further by becoming a part of the team at Geneseo in the Fall, I am willing to do anything everything it takes to be an asset to my fellow teammates and coach. Already this summer I have played in two tournaments of Challenge Court up at the indoor beach courts in Rochester. On top of that I just joined a volleyball league that I will participating in every Wednesday with my cousin Jordan and will be playing beach volleyball tournaments with my best friends little sister who will be starting her first year of college volleyball this fall. I have also been trying to tackle the off-season summer workouts that was given to us to do this summer and I have been trying my hardest to stay on top of those every single week.

My GCC team and I playing at our final match during offseason play this Spring.

In conclusion, I haven’t been able to do anything overly exciting thus far this summer but it is a work in progress. I will most likely be continuing my long hours as a sales associate at a fashion merchandise store in Batavia. I also have plans to attend the occasional country concert to see my favorite artists such as Sam Hunt, Toby Keith, and Florida Georgia Line perform at Darien Lake Performing Arts Center through out the months of June and July. My oldest sister, Lauren, is in the Air Force and is stationed down in Florida. I have high hopes of flying down there and spending a few weeks with her as well before I have to leave to go to Geneseo in August.

Another photo I took, this time of my sister walkthing trough the water at the beach on my sisters Air Force Base, the place I hope to travel to this Summer!

Other than that I might make an occasional trip up to Canada with a few of my friends and try to takle a couple of items on my bucket list such as cliff and bungee jumping. I am excited for the summer but I also cannot wait to officially meet all of my teammates and start a new chapter in my life in Geneseo come Fall.

Nina DiFante

Junior, Middle Blocker

10 Days in Israel


Traveling. A word that has so much meaning to my family, and one day I hoped myself. I had always had the desire to travel abroad, but never had the time or the money to do so. The opportunity finally came about that I would be able to travel to Israel with a group of 37 people through an amazing organization called Birthright.

I decided to go on Birthright this summer for a few reasons. 1. To finally get a chance to see the world and travel. 2. To learn more about myself and my culture. 3. To experience a country that my grandmother, a world traveler, was never able to visit. About 20 years ago my grandmother and grandfather planned a cruise together and one of the stops was in Israel. However, they never made it to Israel, my grandmother was diagnosed with breast cancer- that she would later end up beating.

After conquering her courageous battle with breast cancer, my grandparents continued to travel both together and apart. They traveled to Europe and even China, but they never made it to Israel. In 2014 my incredibly strong grandmother was diagnosed with stomach cancer. She fought with all of her might but eventually lost her battle in January of 2016.


The loss of my grandmother was hard, she was the most creative, honest, and caring woman I have ever met. But above all, my grandmother was strong. She was always everyone’s rock. She never complained. She was everything that I strive to be. I decided that I wanted to embody the strength and courage of my grandmother, because she is my inspiration.

Volleyball was one of my saviors, I would not be the person I am today without it. There are no words to describe how much strength and support my coach and teammates have given me this semester- so for those of you reading this, thank you. We talk a lot about our values as a team, integrity, humility, compassion, and dedication. Being part of the Geneseo Women’s Volleyball team has helped develop me into the person I am today. I would not have been able to get through this year without your endless guidance and support, and for that, thank you. You are all my family. You aided me in the strength that I needed to carry on and to ultimately step out of my comfort zone and experience the world.

May 19th 2016. I arrived in Newark airport and met the 40 people I would be spending the next 10 days with. The flight over seemed to be endless. It was 10 hours stuck in the middle of two rather large men who I didn’t know. To make things even better, I was flagged at TSA and searched. Once I arrived in Israel, I picked my suitcase up at baggage claim only to find that it was completely empty and that every last thing in the bag had been removed. Awesome. Contrary to popular belief, I didn’t completely freak out- one thing I’ve been trying to get better at on the court as well. Long story short, all of my belongings were in a rather large box at a separate location.


Look how empty it is!

When I was repacking my suitcase in the middle of the airport at 7 AM I found a luggage tag, boarding pass, and a rock that I didn’t know were in there. They all belonged to my grandmother. The boarding pass had Dotty Walker on it, she was flying from Newark to Paris. Just the first sign that she was with me. I’m not sure where the rock came from exactly, but in the Jewish tradition, rocks and pebbles are placed on the gravestone of loved ones because flowers will eventually die, but rocks last forever. I can also promise you that the rock, and others that I brought home from Israel will eventually make their way to her.

Every day in Israel was amazing. We started in the north and worked our way south. In Israel, the scenery will change every 30 minutes. We started in the mountains. No matter how I try to describe it, nothing will do it justice. No pictures and no words. The country is beautiful, and if you ever get the chance, please, please, PLEASE take my advice and spend a few days to engulf yourself in its beauty.



After a 10 hour plane ride being stuck in the middle of two strangers I FINALLY made it! We started in the north in Tzfat!


We spent three days in our first kibbutz which had no WiFi, so ultimately I was forced to get to know 37 strangers who later would become my family. The bonds that I made this summer with 37 strangers is remarkable. In 10 short days these people became my family.


To tell you about everything we did would be impossible. In 10 action-packed days we traveled almost the entire county. We saw waterfalls, swam in the Jordan River, the Mediterranean, and even the Dead Sea. Something ironic that I learned, the Dead Sea is the lowest point on earth at over 1,000 feet below sea level. A few months ago I was also at a low point, however, even being at the lowest point in the world, I couldn’t help but feel like I was on top of it.

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Just some beautiful falls on a hike and floating in the Dead Sea!


I was able to show my new friends my beach volleyball skill while mingling with the locals (thanks coach for letting us practice them on the last day of spring season)! I climbed Masada and was able to see Israel from a new perspective- above. There were no worries there.

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One of the most popular questions I’ve gotten upon arriving home is, “did you ever feel unsafe?”-No¸ I never felt unsafe once. While we were there we traveled with a security guard, two American staff members, and our amazing tour guide, Ofer. We learned about the conflicts in the Middle East, but again, I never worried about my safety.


Welcome to the top of Masada.

I’m able to say that I have slept in the middle of a desert in a giant tent and it even rained while I was there. I rode a camel, which I named Greg. I’m able to say that I left a note in the Western Wall, I ran around Jerusalem, and experienced the beauty of Tel Aviv.  10 days just wasn’t enough.



This is Greg, the greatest camel ever. Just kidding, Greg didn’t want to get up and didn’t like his picture taken much, luckily he stopped and smiled for this one!

Now for one of my favorite parts, THE FOOD! First off, America does iced coffee wrong, I’ll tell you that right now. I had the best iced coffee ever when I was in Israel, it is more of a slushy than an iced coffee. For breakfast they eat an unreal amount of veggies… and salad… One thing that I wanted when I got home was fruit, lots and lots of fruit. They do however, have the BEST bread in the world. Actually, carbs in general. My diet was a mixture between some type of chicken, hopefully an apple or some other type of fruit, and bread. Surprisingly, not a lot of people keep kosher there.

The last five days our trip we were lucky enough to be joined by eight Israelis. Three of them were IDF soldiers and the other five were college students studying all around the country. Men and women both serve in the IDF (Israel Defense Forces), women serve for 2 years and men serve for 2.8. It was an awesome experience to hear people my age talk about their life experiences that are so different than mine. I am in awe at how much pride and nationalism they have for their country, it’s remarkable.

Coming home was hard. Leaving some of my friends in Israel to have more adventures there or to continue to travel other parts of the world. Other friends live in Florida or California. I know that the friendships I made will last a lifetime and we all made a promise that it wasn’t a “goodbye”, it was a “see you later.” Staying in contact is hard when there is such great distance between us, but it is what makes you value your time together so much more when we finally do meet again.

This experience was exactly what I needed and really changed my life. After coming home, I feel rejuvenated and refreshed. I want to see the world and continue to learn more about it. I fell in love with traveling and I know my grandmother would be so proud of me. I learned so much about myself and Israel in 10 days. My hunger for traveling and new experiences is at an all-time high. And to be honest, none of this would have been possible without the love and support from my family and friends. This year has by far been the most challenging one in my life, but I’m thankful that I have come out a stronger person because of it. If this year has taught me anything, it is to love unconditionally and to be grateful and humble.


We went to an art museum which had art both inside and out. This says love. It’s how I feel about this entire country and every part of my trip.

The rest of my summer will consist of nanning for the same family that I did last year. Three kids ages 4, 6 and 8. They are such great kids. I also work at a local market research firm in my town- so if you get a call from Research and Marketing Strategies, please answer the phone and take my survey!

Other than that, the only traveling I intend on doing is to Canada and hopefully to Florida. My grandparent’s cottage is in Canada and I can’t wait to be reunited with my favorite place. It was also my grandmother’s favorite place. I’m looking forward to getting back in the gym this summer at camps and with my new teammates, but until then I’ll just have to settle for blog updates and stalking your Facebook- watch out!


Lost Bay, Canada

One final note, I know I mentioned this before but I feel the need to mention it one more time. Thank you to my family, my friends, and my teammates. You are my biggest supporters and I would be no where without you! I love you.


Dani Sayler

Senior (oh gosh), Defensive Specialist

Blog 1

Yours truly outside the Holocaust museum in Jerusalem. One of the best views in Jerusalem and such a powerful and meaningful day.