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Emmett Peterson, Vanguard '21

Where are you from?

Chicago, Illinois

Why did you choose to pursue the Vanguard Gap Year program?

I was planning on going to college, but then COVID-19 came and threw a wrench into my plans. I didn’t want to take online classes, so I decided to pursue other options and it just so happened that Vanguard was the door that opened.

What do you intend to do after Vanguard?

I intend to attend Valparaiso University’s Christ College honors program studying history.

What has been your most memorable moment so far?

I would say it is a tie between our Pictured Rocks backpacking trip in the Upper Peninsula and an impromptu worship night we had at the end of the first semester. As far as the backpacking trip goes, the hike was right next to Lake Superior the whole time, which meant a lot of really beautiful views. We had a lot of good laughs around the campfire and got to know each other better. For the impromptu worship night, we all sat scrunched up in a room together as a couple of Vanguards led us in worship. It meant a lot to join in praise with the people in my community!

Which HoneyRock activities and events have you been enjoying?

I’ve been enjoying winter activities like broom ball and cross country skiing, as well as our Vespers services on Sunday nights followed by small groups.

Do you have a favorite spot to hang out on camp?

When I’m with other people I like to hang out in Upper Loberg lounge. The couches are pretty comfy and there’s a nice fireplace in there. When I’m by myself I like the prayer room.

What work rotations have you done and how have they been going?

My first rotation was grounds, and although it was a lot of hard work, it was really rewarding. We maintained trails, felled trees, and split a lot of logs. Now, I’m in auto shop and it is a lot of fun! I’m learning a lot of new things: how to fix a car window, how to build a new front bumper, and how to weld a basketball hoop together.

What are new practices that Vanguard has provided in your life?

I think simply getting up early— even just a half hour earlier than I normally would, and spending time in devotionals, reading my Bible, and having intentional prayer time. I hadn’t incorporated this practice into my life and I’m trying really hard to make sure that’s part of my daily routine.

How have grads and fellows been influencing your time at HoneyRock?

While we’re close in age, grads and fellows are a few steps ahead—It’s been good to have people who are pretty close to your age but also have more life experience than you. You have someone who is your friend, but who you can also look up to. It’s great that there’s not much of a generational gap or age disconnect; that makes it easier to talk to grads and fellows.

What is one interesting or intriguing thing you have learned recently?

I learned how to weld recently in the auto shop. There’s two types of welding and the kind that we learned is called MIG welding. MIG stands for metal inert gas, and uses a fed wire through a welding gun that makes a spark and melts two metals together.

What is your favorite part about living in the Northwoods?

Definitely the wilderness aspect. Growing up in Chicago, I didn’t have any wilderness experience, so it’s just cool to be able to set foot in nature every day. Doing things like walking out on the lake or cross country skiing are things that you just can’t do in the city.