Staff Blogger: Lexie Digby, Marketing & Graphic Design Manager

Molly McConnell (left) and Naomi Hutchison (right)

As the Teen Center enters its third year of operation, two new leaders are preparing for another great year.

Molly McConnell, of Wilmington, N.C., is pursuing a degree in secondary English education at East Carolina University. After just earning her associate’s degree at Cape Fear Community College, she’s using the experience of working with teens this summer as preparation for a career as a high school teacher.

“I’m so excited to work with the age group that I’ll eventually be teaching,” she said. “It’s important that I learn how to effectively interact with the teens and learn how to earn their respect while also being friendly.”

Naomi Hutchison, of Canton, is working towards a degree in youth ministry at Indiana Wesleyan University. She is also excited to use this summer as a learning opportunity for a future career.

“It’s so vital that I learn how to plan and work with groups of teenagers,” said Hutchison. “Aside from that, I really enjoy meeting new students and learning about their lives. I’m hoping for a lot of opportunities like that this summer.”

Both McConnell and Hutchison are familiar with Lakeside, as they have both spent many summers here. McConnell has been coming here since she was born to visit with close family friends who own a home in Lakeside. Hutchison has been coming here since she was 12 years old; her father is a Methodist pastor and they enjoy coming here for the annual East Ohio Conference.

“The experience of working in Lakeside has been great,” said McConnell. “Working here is a lot different than just vacationing here, but I’ve met so many amazing people that have supported me and it’s made for a great experience so far.”

This year, both leaders are excited about welcoming new faces into the Teen Center, as they realize it can be an awkward situation when you first arrive.

“Every week, we’ll have a Monday Mixer, where kids who have just arrived for the week can come meet some of the kids who have been here all summer,” said McConnell. “Sometimes it can be hard to walk into a new environment where other kisd already know each other, so we’re hoping this will be a good way to alleviate that.”

“We’ll really try to get out and about and meet students to invite them back into the Teen Center,” said Hutchison. “Whether it’s for a big event or just to hang out and have a snack, we want people to come check it out and make the most of it.”

Q: What is the #1 thing on your bucket list?

Naomi: I really want to go skydiving. I like thrills and I’m very spontaneous and so I’d love to jump out of an airplane.

Molly: Take an RV trip across the country and see as many national parks as I can. I’d love to do it for a honeymoon, but I’ll have to find a husband who will do that with me first!