Navy Women's Lacrosse Summer Highlights
Sept. 14, 2012
Summer Photo Gallery | 2011 Summer Highlights
ANNAPOLIS, Md. - After advancing to a third straight NCAA Tournament, the Navy women's lacrosse team saw the world this past summer. Members of the team traveled to locations such as the Sahara Desert, Morocco, Senegal, Israel and Alaska. The Mids participated in a variety of Naval Academy programs, such as LSAP (Language Study Abroad Program), NOLS (National Outdoor Leadership School), LREC (Language, Regional Expertise and Culture), PROTRAMID and summer cruise.
Morocco and PROTRAMID
Junior attacker Aimee Gennaro
Gennaro in the Sahara Desert
For first block of summer training I was selected to go to Morocco through LSAP (Language Study Abroad Program). I spent the month of June with four other midshipmen living in Rabat, the capital of Morocco, to study the French language and francophone culture. We stayed with families who lived in the oldest part of the city in order to get an authentic Moroccan experience, complete with lessons on cooking, Moroccan Arabic and bartering with the local shop keepers. Our afternoons were spent sampling Moroccan cuisines, learning to surf and taking field trips to museums and landmarks in the city. As a part of our program we also got to take trips to Casablanca, Fez, and the Sahara desert. I always thought that Annapolis had the prettiest sunrises until I had the chance to watch the sun rise over the Sahara dunes on the back of a camel!
Immediately after returning from Morocco I flew out to San Diego along with a few other of my teammates for PROTRAMID, a four-week training program for rising Second Class to experience the different communities with the Navy. When we weren't flying with the aviators, playing paintball with the Marines, or underway with Sub and Surface communities, we were on the beach in Coronado!
This summer I had the opportunity to go abroad to study French with a program called LSAP. LSAP stands for Language Study Abroad Program and offers trips to many different countries in several languages. I spent the month of June in Dakar, Senegal (a country in Western Africa) studying both French and a local language called Wolof. This experience was more than I could have ever imagined. I stayed with a host family of two women, one man, and an eight-year-old boy who opened their home up to me and treated me as one of the family. I had the chance to eat from the large communal family meal bowl and participate in birthday celebrations. As a gift, I brought two of my lacrosse sticks over to Senegal for my host brother and took the time to teach him how to play along with some of his friends.
Coughlin and Hauser in Senegal
However, our real highlights were on the weekends when we went to destinations slightly farther away. The first weekend there, we visited Goree Island, which is an island off of the coast that played a huge role in the African slave trade. We participated in a high ropes course through the top of baobab trees (the huge ones like the one in Animal Kingdom in Disney!). The next two weekends we visited more touristy locations such as St. Louis and Toubab Diallo. St. Louis was a larger fishing town where we visited a local zoo and saw lots of wildlife. In Toubab Diallo, we spent the weekend relaxing in more of a resort with a beach, classes in African batik and drumming, and horseback riding.
I am so thankful to have this opportunity to see the world. This experience opened my eyes to how fortunate we are and how much we have to share with the world. I know that I will definitely think twice before taking anything for granted (some people do not even have toilets over there!). Everywhere we went in Senegal, people wanted to know about us: who we were, what we did, where we were from. They were genuinely interested in our lives and that taught me a lot about hospitality and selflessness. During my stay there, my conversational French improved greatly along with my confidence to speak to others. I definitely would love to go back later in my life to visit the family I stayed with and all of the other welcoming people associated with our school there.
Dennis and Hamilton mountaineering in Alaska
Last June, Sam Dennis and I spent 25 days on an Alaskan Mountaineering Expedition with the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS). We traveled 90 miles during our trip up the Marcus Baker glacier in the Chugach Mountain Range. We climbed to 11,000 feet and saw the glacier from toe to peak, knowing that we climbed the entire way.
During our expedition, we learned about first aid, leadership and basic mountaineering skills. NOLS was the best training experience I have received at the academy and I would go back to Alaska in an instant!
This summer Beth (Young) and I were accepted to do an LREC trip to Israel. Along with West Point, Air Force and Coast Guard cadets as well as other midshipmen, we spent two-and-a-half weeks touring all over the country of Israel. The trip was sponsored by JINSA (Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs), which is a Washington, D.C.-based non-profit organization.
We got to see many different aspects of Israel that make it so unique, including its current political and military situations, its rich religious history, the history of the state of Israel and much more. It is crazy to think this influential, prosperous country is only the size of New Jersey!
We started the trip in Tel Aviv, which is a beautiful, bustling city along the Mediterranean that was mere sand dunes about a century before. We visited a nature preserve outside the city that tries to recreate the landscape and plants of Biblical times. In the city itself we learned about the establishment of the Israeli state in 1946.
Next we traveled to the Sea of Galilee where we walked in the footsteps of Jesus through towns such as Capernaum and Nazareth and swam in the Jordan River and Sea of Galilee. Although it is hard to pinpoint which part of the trip was my favorite, the Mount of the Beatitudes looking over the Sea of Galilee was breathtaking. Since the region is so quiet, you really could imagine how it might have been 2,000 years ago.
Continuing through the very green, northern part of Israel, we took a jeep tour through the Golan Heights, which is a region along the border of Syria. We learned all about the Yom Kippur War and Israel's relationships with its neighbors.
The Youngs in Israel
We then went back to the coastal city of Haifa where we celebrated a Shabbat Dinner, the Jewish Friday night dinner to start the Sabbath. It was interesting to eat "kosher", which means among other things, that milk and meat cannot be served in the same meal or prepared in the same kitchen. This means a cheeseburger or ham in an omelet is impossible. McDonalds even had separate kitchens and lines to serve hamburgers and milkshakes. The food there is incredibly fresh though and delicious - a lot of pitas, hummus, vegetables and falafel. They sure love their falafel and hummus!
Next we headed to Jerusalem. Last summer a few of us traveled to Rome and thought the Coliseum and other ruins were very old. Israel's civilizations make those look young. It was so interesting to spend time within the walls of the Old City, which is home to religious sites of three of the world's largest religions. Within a few hundred feet of each other are the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, the place where Jesus was crucified and buried, and the Via Dolorosa, also the Western or Wailing and the Islamic Dome of the Rock.
For about five days we toured the southern desert region with a dozen IDF (Israeli Defense Forces) officers. In Israel everyone serves for a few years or more after high school (the girls' minimum is two, while the boys' is three). As interesting it was to learn about them and their experiences, they really enjoyed learning about us as well. We visited some air force and army bases, hiked to desert oases, got close to the Gaza Strip and visited the Holocaust Museum in Jerusalem with the IDF officers. This was undoubtedly the most emotional day because it was so personal to them, most if not all of the IDF officers had families that were completely changed due to the Holocaust. Finally, we got to visit the Dead Sea, which was wild! With about 33 percent salt (10 times more than the ocean) the water was uncommonly warm, had no waves, and it was creepy how easy it was to float and glide across the water.
Casey Browne, Annie Foky, Sara Nardone and I were on the LSD-50 Carter Hall this summer, which is stationed in Little Creek, Va. We spent time working with the enlisted crew as we shadowed them learning how to do the jobs that they do on an everyday basis for the Navy. Casey spent her time with the boatswain's mate. Annie and Sara both spent time in the engine room working with the engineers for long hours of hard work. I worked with the operations department and spent time with in the CIC (Combat Information Center) where their primary focus was working with confidential information regarding the operations of the ship.
We still managed to find ways to play lacrosse and workout every day. We somehow got to the gym and if we couldn't we ran sprints off of the well deck on the ship. We carried our sticks with us as we traveled around the base as well as all over Little Creek and tried to play wall ball or have a pass when we were off the ship. While we were on the ship we passed around on the wale deck. No matter how busy of a day it was we always made time for working out and playing lacrosse. We had so much fun together!
Foky, Abad and Browne passing on the ship