Summer 2016

This weekend has been so fun getting back in the gym with everyone. It really was so exciting to get to play with the newer players and to see what our future holds! Sunyacs here we come! It’s always hard to leave Genny but luckily we will all be back together in the gym in just a few weeks.
This summer I have been busy working, working out, and spending time with my mom and friends from home.
At the beginning of the summer I got a job at the Finger Lakes Distillery. I work in the tasting room and get to talk to people from all different walks of life. These are some of my coworkers and I in the tasting room.image

One day I got to work downstairs with the master distiller. The process is very interesting and complex. The master distiller actually has his PhD in biochemistry. This is me helping run water through the pot still to clean it.
It’s been really nice to be home this summer. Last summer I stayed in Geneseo so it has been really great to be back so that I can spend time with my mom! Here is a picture of us on Seneca Lake.
We also did Wine and Design, and it ended up being so fun! Notice I did not include a picture of the finished product, neither of us are artists haha…


I also got to spend some time outside in the beautiful weather! I am from Ithaca and we have a bunch of hiking areas around us.  This is a picture of my cousin Tommy and I at Taughannock Falls. Normally it is a gushing waterfall but there has been such a drought, there’s barely a trickle!

I got to see my moms side of the family when we went to the Thousand Islands. This is my cousins and I at Bohlt Castle. It was actually build by a man for his wife but she sadly died a month before it was finished. He was devastated and left the castle to ruin. Since then an organization has worked to raise money and rebuild it. It was good to see it in the process of renovation. image
With my other side of the family we also go up to Sebago Lake in Maine. My grandparents have a cottage and we all get to spend time together at the beach and playing games. It’s my favorite place on earth. We are going up there next week but here is a picture from last year! 11879148_410238999172746_1838512790522109373_o
After Maine I’ll be coming straight back to a school. I am so excited to be back in the gym and start a great season!

See you soon!


The Summer of My Life

This summer started out with my arrival home and leaving for the emergency room the next day. I could hardly swallow and every time I did it felt like a razor blade in my throat. Turns out I had mono during all of finals week and didn’t realize it. So that was exciting news because I was leaving for Australia in a week!

I packed all of the essentials in a tiny 40 liter backpack which I would be living out of for the next two weeks. Fast forward to the airport – I almost didn’t get on the plane. Apparently I needed to fill out an ETA and have it accepted by the US and Australian government before I could get my boarding pass. Luckily everything worked it and I was able to board the plane. The travel time was 22 hours on the plane and 28 hours total with all of the layovers. Honestly it was a lot easier to do than I originally thought. One of the best feelings was getting off the plane knowing I got to see my brother after four months of being all the way across the world from each other. After meeting up with everyone, we headed to our first hostile in Melbourne. The way I like to describe this city is a clean New York City with palm trees. Also, you could walk down an alleyway at night and find a cute cafe with string lights rather than a dumpster and crusty rats.

A picture of my brother and I in Melbourne on our first day.

We spent three days in Melbourne then rented a car and headed down the Great Ocean Road. We spent three days traveling on the road stopping at amazing places on the way. The first place we stopped at was actually a surprise. We took a random dirt road called beach forest because we thought it might be cool (we also wanted to see some kangaroos-which we did). There was a sign for a waterfall so we hiked down to the spot and it ended up being in a rainforest type setting and it was absolutely stunning. Another place we stopped on the great ocean road was the 12 Apostles which was breathtaking to see in real life.

These are just a couple of the 12 Apostles along the Great Ocean Road. Picture doesn’t do them justice!

Eventually after taking breaks at beaches and cute shops we arrived in Adelaide where we spent a day just recollecting for our next flight to Sydney. Sadly, there is no P. Sherman 42 Wallaby Way Sydney (otherwise we totally would have went). While we were in Sydney, the Vivid Light Festival was going on. This festival was so much more than we had originally thought. The entire harbor was lit up with vibrant colors.

The Sydeny Opera House all lit up during the light festival. The pattern would actually change every few seconds.
This was also at the light festival. The Harbour was absolutely stunning at night.

After spending two days in that fabulous city, my brother and I split from our traveling friends and flew to Cairns. This is where we snorkeled and dove at the Great Barrier Reef. This was probably the highlight of my trip. Videos and pictures don’t do the reef or any of the animals justice. While we were on the boat on our way back to land, we saw close to 30 whales traveling together and jumping out of the water which was also so amazing. The last thing we did in Cairns was go to see some koala bears. Those animals are probably the cutest little guys on earth. Our last stop in Australia was Brisbane where we met up with my cousin and our traveling  buddies again.

This was one of the Koala’s that we met. He decided to pose like a model for me.

My visit Australia was probably the best decision I’ve ever made. The fact that we had absolutely no plans scared me at first, but it was actually the best plan. It opened my eyes to a whole new world and gave me so much confidence to do things on my own. I realized that I can live off of two shirts and a pair of shorts. I also realized that Emma Lannon isn’t crazy for flying to Denmark over Thanksgiving break. It’s worth it.

When I got home I jumped right into my job at the F.X. Matt Brewing Company. I give tours of the brewery and also work events such as Saranac Thursdays and concerts. I absolutely love my job and everyone I work with. Other than working, I work out and play beach volleyball with my dad and brother at a sports bar near our house every Tuesday which has been extremely fun. I also love to go up to my best friend Grace’s camp in Boonville and float on the lake all day.

On Fourth of July weekend, some crazy opportunity came up where I was offered a ride to Long Island. So obviously I took it to go see Kaci, Tricia and Courtney! Our friend Kristen drove us down to Kaci’s on Saturday. We spent the entire day on her boat which was honestly so fun and relaxing. The next day we went to the beach and actually found a beach court! Kaci, Trish, Court and I took on some family and had a ton of fun. The last day we spent in Montauk shopping and walking around the beach. It was an amazing weekend that I’ll remember forever.

Kaci, Trish and I laying out on the bow. Definitely not one of the best places to take a nice picture.


Another little adventure I had this summer was to the Justin Bieber concert in Buffalo. I went with one of my really good friends on July 12th. Little did I know that Emily Ast was at the same concert! I met up with her and had a cute little reunion with my future suite mate.

My summer won’t be complete until I go on vacation to Poland. This will be my first time over in Poland and all of Europe! I’ll be staying there for two weeks and traveling with family. My brother, my cousins and I will be meeting up with my parents and other cousins after a few days of being there. I am extremely excited to see the country and to use some terms my Babci has taught me.

Overall, I have definitely had the time of my life this summer. I am forever grateful for every opportunity that has popped up this past year. I’ve been itching to get back in the gym and see the team. I’ll see you all in three weeks!

Summer ’16

Summer has always been my favorite time of the year. Hanging out by the pool with friends, spending time with family, going on hikes, and attending concerts. What more could anyone ask for? I honestly feel the happiest during the summertime (well except for when I’m playing volleyball of course) and wish it could last forever.

This summer has been the best one yet. To start off, I graduated from high school! The ceremony was so special and I enjoyed every second of it. It really hit me that kids I have spent my entire life with would all be heading their separate ways and I wouldn’t see them everyday. I was pretty sad about it at first, but now I am so excited to see what Geneseo has in store for me!

Some of my closest friends and I on graduation day! (Jimmy, Me, Jeff, Emily, and Aaron)


Following graduation and coming to realize how little time I had before I headed off to school, I really wanted to make this a summer to remember. I promised myself that I would try to make as many memories as I possibly could.

I really enjoy the outdoors and hiking. All past summers I was always so busy and could never find the time to get a group of friends together and go hiking. But this summer, I knew I had to make it happen. I hiked to the eternal flame (which is about 30 minutes from my house in Williamsville), as well as a place called Zoar Valley (which is about an hour and 30 minutes from where I live). Both of these places were so fun to adventure through and I would go back to either of them in a heartbeat.

My friend Calista and I at the Eternal Flame
This is Zoar Valley. There were so many cool waterfalls and areas to swim! (Sam, Me, Emily, Natalie, Liv)


I also really enjoy spending my time at concerts! This summer I have gone to a total of 3: Zac Brown Band (one of my favorites), Justin Bieber, and G-eazy. I don’t have one specific genre of music that I really love so I will honestly listen to any type. Spending time with my friends at concerts is one of my favorite things to do and those memories will be with me forever.

Calista, Emily, and I at the Justin Bieber concert. This show was so amazing, we sang the entire time!


Although I love doing exciting things with my friends, I always make time for my family. Whether it is tanning out by our pool, watching a movie, or having a nice family dinner, we always have the best of times together. My brother is going into his senior year of college and with me leaving in a few short weeks, I want to spend as much time with my parents as I can before they become empty nesters!

Throughout the summer I have also coached two volleyball camps at a high school , and a soccer camp called Little Champs at a middle school. I thoroughly enjoy being a coach and love seeing kids find a love for a sport. I played soccer a very long time ago and don’t know much about it, but I only coach 3-4 year olds so I don’t need to know very much! I teach them the basic skills (shooting the ball, trapping the ball, etc..) but my main goal is to keep them active and make sure they have fun. At the volleyball camps I have coached I worked with older kids about 12-13 years old. I really took it in my hands to improve their skills and get them prepared for their upcoming tryouts for their schools. By the time the camps were over I definitely felt like I prepared the players for their future careers in volleyball.

Two of the girls I coach Addy and Syenna. How cute are they?!


Safe to say this summer has brought me so much joy! I can’t believe how fast it flew by and how close move in day is. As each day passes I get more and more excited to start my freshman year!

I hope everyone had an amazing summer as well. See you all soon!

-Sam Mendelsohn, Freshman


This summer has truly been relaxing and very enjoyable. I’ve been able to spend lots of time with family and friends, playing volleyball and softball, and of course working.

Most of my summers in the past have been filled with softball, and this one was no different. I played with my friends in 3 tournaments and we even won one of them! Besides the 23 open league, I also play slow pitch on Thursday nights which is really fun. Next week we play in the slow pitch championship game!

Here’s my travel team after we won our first tournament!!

One of the big things I had been looking forward to this summer was my cousin’s wedding! My cousin Jordan was the first of my cousins to get married so of course it was a very big deal. He and his beautiful wife Miranda got married last weekend and the reception was at the place where I work! I love my job since I get to see all of the decorations and dresses and watch people have so much fun on their wedding day. My cousin’s wedding was so fun and it was great to see my two cousins, one from Colorado and one from Virginia, who came in for it!

It was pretty tough to get a decent picture of all of my cousins but we all had a blast! My cousin Jordan who got married is on the far right!

The time I’ve spend with my friends has been mostly exploring Buffalo. I’ve been to a couple Food Truck Tuesday’s, which is one of my favorite parts of the summer. Every Tuesday food trucks gather at Larkin Square and people come out to enjoy the nice weather, live bands, and great food. Canalside is also a great summer hotspot in Buffalo. It lies on the edge of Lake Erie and host events like free concerts on Thursdays. It’s fun to go eat and spend time watching the kayakers and sailboats on the water. Another big event downtown this summer was the Justin Bieber concert that I went to with my best friend Hannah! I also got to see Madison for the first time since school at the concert so that was awesome.

Me and my best friend Hannah at the concert!

The furthest I have gotten away form Buffalo so far this summer was a short day trip to Toronto to meet my friend Nick’s girlfriend. In about a week though I’m going to Disney World which will be a fun trip to close a great summer!

Me and Garrett trying to get a picture in front of the CN Tower

Finally, I got the chance to play some volleyball this summer with Sarah Bain and two young girls that play for my club. One of my favorite old club coaches has been helping my get my setting workout in all summer and has introduced me to two great young players! Playing with them and Sarah this summer has made me so excited for this upcoming season and to be back in the gym with all of you! I can’t wait to see most of you on Friday and look forward to another awesome season!

Working with these girls has been so fun this summer!

Enjoy the rest of your summer everyone!

Emily Ast, Sophomore

Hi everyone! Hope everyone’s having an amazing summer filled with laughs and memories. Normally for my summer I would be working 5 days a week at a day camp. But this year I’ve decided to relax a little more and spend more time at home with friends and family, and of course playing volleyball!


To kick start my summer, high school officially came to and end with my senior prom and graduation! The prom was held at the Atlantis Aquarium in Riverhead, and we actually ate dinner and danced next to the sharks and many other sea creature tanks! Our graduation was the next day on our high school track and it was an emotional roller coaster. So many wonderful speeches from teachers, students and administrators.




My friends and I after our graduation ceremony!


Now that my friends and I have had all this down time, we mainly spend our sunny days at Robert Moses Beach on the south shore, and of course play tons of beach volleyball!


Here is my best friend holding her niece, Avery Hope!

Overall my summer so far has been relaxing and enjoyable but I can’t wait to move up to Geneseo this upcoming fall to meet all my new teammates and coaches and dive into my new learning experience. I’m sure I’ll miss the comfort of my home but I am so looking forward to the place that I will call home for the next 4 years and all of the people I will meet! Have a great summer everyone!!

Grace Cergol, Freshman

Our Yearly Trip to Canada

Every summer my family of seven takes a week long trip up to a camp in Ontario, Canada. The camp we rent yearly is located on Charleston Lake.  This year is our thirteenth trip, which I am currently on now.  I was six years old when we came here for the first time. There are five kids in my family.  The oldest sibling will be twenty two this year and the youngest is twelve.  There are four girls and one boy, who is the oldest.  I am the middle child.

Even with all the kids home in the summer, we all seem to be going in a hundred different directions.  There does not seem to be a convenient time at home for us five to do things together.  If we are all actually at home and not at work or out with friends, it seems that only two or three of us tend to do things together due to the differences in age.  However, this is where our annual trip to Canada comes in.  This trip encourages us to be with each other for an entire week, and to find activities to do.  We genuinely enjoy and appreciate this trip together because there is no one to answer to, nor obligations to keep us from spending quality time with one another.


vball blog camp

This is the camp.  To the right is our little bay with a beach and a dock for the boats.

vball blog beach



This is the bay and dock looking from the deck.





To begin summarizing a typical week, we bring both of our boats up.  One is for fishing and one is for water activities such as water skiing and tubing.  I love tubing most, and prefer flat tubes that enable people to be whipped off of after holding on for dear life.  Fishing is something my dad taught us at a very young age, and that we all enjoy doing.  Typically we have competitions of who can catch the best or most fish.  Unfortunately, I do not usually win these competitions.


vball blog tube

vball blog tubing








These are pictures from today of my neighbor and I tubing.  They rent a camp next to ours.

Our favorite thing to do every morning is sit on the deck, eat breakfast, and watch the sunrise.  There are a lot of loons on the lake that are interesting to observe.  The parents often have their ducklings swimming alongside, and we watch as they dive down to get their babies food.

During the day we do water activities, fish, play corn hole, snorkle and relax.  Personally, I do a lot of relaxing and laying out on the beach to tan.  We like to go canoeing and kayaking, and to make trips to a little island known to us as “the rock”.  It is a large round rock that looks like the top of a turtle shell.  We go to jump off it into the water or to watch the beautiful sunset just prior to nightfall.  

vball blog sunset rock

This is the sunset from the rock.

We also enjoy making boating or canoeing trips to a little convenience store called Twist’s Outlet.  We tend to go here nearly every night for ice cream.  The couple that runs the little store knows us as the huge family that comes to Canada for one week every year.  It is nice to see someone here that recognizes us.

Before nightfall we are always anxious to see the beautiful sunset.  I mentioned prior that the rock is one of the places we go to view it.  We also have a spectacular view right from the deck that wraps around the camp.  The peninsula that the camp is named after (it’s called “Paradise Point”) has trees in front of the sunset.  The colors around the sun and the way the light shines through the trees is absolutely amazing.vball blog sunset point

This is the sunset from the porch.  The trees are on the peninsula.

My neighbors back at home came to visit us for a little for a couple years in a row.  They loved it so much that they decided to rent a camp right next to ours.  They have been coming to their own camp for three years now.  That is one of the kids tubing with me in the picture.

This trip never fails to bring us together.  It prevents us from doing unproductive and mindless things such as sitting on our phones or watching tv.  I will be forever grateful for this annual week of paradise with my family.




‘Volleying’ my way to fitness! My adventures at Camp Pocano Trails

This summer I am spending my time at the beautiful CPT,  Camp Pocano Trails, the number one weight loss camp in the world. Here, I’ve met so amazing and inspiring people; counselors and campers. The experiences and friendships I’ve made will last me a lifetime, and I am grateful to be involved in these kids’ journey to their healthier selves!

I journeyed off to Pennsylvania on June 11th. On arrival I was greeted by a friendly, caring staff who helped me transition into the camp’s environment and culture. During orientation, I met some of the most wonderful people, specifically my fellow counselors, each with their own stories: of why they were here, their upbringing, and overall life experiences. These group of people are my family. We share our frustrations, our spectacular moments, and lift one another when times get rough. Together, we’very made some amazing bonds and friendships! Some counselors were campers for previous years, and others, like myself, are fitness/health enthusiasts wanting to help change lives. The people that come here come from all over; the US and the world. Some are from as far as California or Texas,  and then all the way from France or the Caribbean islands. I am so thankful to have met each and every one of them.

I work nonstop. From coaching volleyball almost every period of the day’s activities, to hanging out and working out with my campers. During my practices my campers become volleyball players in training. We run drills I’ve made, learn the game, and for the few who play in school we perfect their already existings skills. Each practice is focused on one aspect of the game, whether it is bump passing, setting, hitting, diving, serving, or positioning. The drills refleet what they were taught and the last 15 minutes of the class is all scrimmage and games. Each practice it warms my heart seeing these kids improve and learn to love the sport!

These campers inspire me, because at their young age they are taking the steps to become their healthier and ideal selves. It wasn’t until my freshman year of college did I begin my journey. Seeing these individuals transform themselves is incredible. Each week they aren’t just losing weight, they are making friendships, maturing, and discovering themselves.

My goals for this summer are: to get into a healthier routine for myself, lose 8-10lbs of body fat, and to make a positive impact on every single camper I meet. At the end of the day I came here to help people, and to show them they can do absolutely anything when they put their minds to it.