You’ve seen her in our recent open house flyers, now here’s her story. Janae, a middle school student at Margaret Brent, expands her verizon daily and rises to the occasion. A recent attendee of Baltimore’s Outward Bound Summer program (a summer program focusing on youth development and leadership in the outdoors), Janae talks about her love of teamwork, leadership, and her favorite 29th St Community Center afterschool program: Robotics!
1. Why did you participate in the Baltimore Outward Bound Summer program?
I was immediately interested in the program when I heard it had a strong focus on leadership development. I asked my mom more about it and whether or not I could participate, she seemed to agree that it would be a good experience. The Outward Bound program involved 10 days on the Appalachian Trail in Pennsylvania without any access to showers/bathrooms. It was definitely a different experience for me and a bit out of my comfort zone.
How did you feel before leaving? Were you nervous or hesitant?
Yes, of course! I was totally nervous and hesitant because I had never done something like this before, but two days in I found my stride. It was the people, the other attendees, I was with that really helped me feel more at ease. I was a little homesick at first though.
3. How did you feel during the program? What did you learn?
During the program, I could feel my confidence growing and I felt more at ease getting to
know the other kids I was with. I felt really proud of myself for doing things outside of my comfort zone like climbing really, really big rocks or reaching the top of a mountain. It made me feel like if I can do this, I can do anything. I know this might seem small to someone else or “so what”, but it’s important to me. I also learned more about teamwork and just how important that is. Before I left for Outward Bound, I didn’t enjoy working in teams; I really preferred working on my own. After Outward Bound, I love working with other students. Also, I still wake up at the same time every morning since Outward Bound: 6:30am.
4. What advice would you give other students considering this program?
Bring deodorant! No, what I really recommend bringing is some sense of confidence, not“cockiness”, but enough confidence that will allow growth. Be comfortable with yourself.
5. What do you enjoy the most about the 29th Street Community Center Robotics Program?
I really enjoy creating things; starting something from scratch and making it real. I really like to express myself and the Robotics program at 29th Street allows me to do just that. It’s fun but also educational and allows for a space where we can teach each other. Outward Bound helped me be more suited to the teamwork/inclusive environment that exists within the Robotics Program.
6. What are the competitions like?
Oh, they are crazy. I still get the jitters every time before I go to one. I think I have been now to around 10 and they are all held at different schools or community centers.
7. How about the award you won?
I won the innovation award last year with the Robotics Program. You receive this award for maintaining your engineering book well and keeping notes that are understandable. I also built the only robot in my competition that could hang. It was suspended 2 feet in the air.
8. Finally, what do you hope to accomplish in your future?
My mom always tells me, “don’t bite off more than you can chew”. I try and do as much as I can to keep me motivated and happy even on top of school work and babysitting. I really just want to be like Beyonce. I am an expressive person and love pursuing the arts and singing.