As a sophomore this was my second year being a part of the Association of Recreation and Event Professionals (AREP). This organization was developed for students majoring in Recreation and Event Management and was designed to provide its members the opportunity to gain firsthand experience in the recreation and event management industry. These past two years I’ve been able to network, gain event experience, make friends, make memories, and have hands on education as a member. I have gone on many volunteer trips that not only allowed me to provide service but have enabled me to learn more about how events run while connecting me with professionals in my field of study. A really cool aspect of AREP is the industry tours they do every year to different sites around the Mount Pleasant and Michigan area such as golf courses, resorts, hotels, etc. This spring AREP took its members to the Little Caesars Arena in Detroit, MI to tour the facility and network with event professionals. These industry tours have given me a lot of insight and perspective to where event management graduates are working now and what places I could potentially seek job opportunities at after CMU.

What I love most about AREP is its volunteer opportunities. There is always work to be done in our community and I love being able to supply extra help at a local event. This year, AREP gave their time and support to mParks Foundation, Camp Daggett, Hob Nobble Gobble, Mt. Pleasant Community Church, and many other institutions. I’ve recently blogged about a volunteer experience I had with Mt. Pleasant Community Church at their Kids Hope event. I love volunteering for this church because they have a passionate for the Mt. Pleasant and CMU community. In their words, “our goal is not to be a great church in the community, but a great church for the community”. They live this out in on a regular basis with the many programs they put on and the many partnerships they have with organizations, agencies, and other churches to serve those in need. Every year they contribute to Operation Christmas Child which is a ministry project created by Samaritan’s Purse to bless children in need around the world every Christmas. Mt. Pleasant Community Church serves as a distribution center in mid Michigan for the surrounding communities to drop off shoebox gifts full of different goodies for all ages of children. Thousands of volunteers in the nation serve annually inspecting and preparing shoeboxes for international shipping. I was able to contribute my time towards this wonderful cause by helping the church with box drop-offs. As a drop-off location, the church receives hundreds of boxes each holiday season and is unable to create an impact without the help of many hands. I’m so glad I was able to be a small part of this program and without AREP I wouldn’t have known about Operation Christmas Child.

Being a member of AREP has been so beneficial for me these past two years. The people I’ve met and the places I’ve been has truly given me an advantage in so many ways. I would highly recommend incoming Recreation and Event Management students to become a member of this organization and I can’t wait to begin my third year with them in Fall 2018.

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