Summer Gulfing

While we’re kicking off another amazing year of academic pursuit and sorority friendship, leadership and service, I’m holding on to the last remaining days of summer. I live in central Florida where “Mickey is King,” the roads are crowded and the pace is hectic. So what do I do to get away from it all? I go to our river house on the Gulf. Homosassa is still “old Florida” – the pace is slower, everybody knows your name, and bathing suits, flip flops and shorts reign.
The view from my house on the river.
When I get there and walk out to the river, all deadlines and worries fade away. It's called the “Nature's Coast” for a good reason. At any given time we see manatee at the dock, dolphins jumping in the river and Mikey begging for some food. “Who's Mikey?” you might be asking. Mikey's the Great Blue Heron who knows when I'm there and comes to the screen and stares into the house until I see him. Honestly, I think he would come on in if the screen door was open! 

My favorite pastime besides relaxing is fishing! I love to fish, whether it's with my husband, Bob, in our boat for sea trout or with my favorite fishing captain, Charlie Harris, fishing for redfish. Redfish are one of the best fighting (and eating) fish on the planet. There's nothing like getting one on the line, reeling him in and him taking off. The line just hums.
Fishing with my husband Bob.
From July 1 through mid-September is scallop season, and we call it adult Easter egg hunting season! Don a mask, snorkel, fins and take your net into the Gulf in about five feet of water. My mouth waters thinking about fresh sautéed scallops over linguine.

Well, I can't stand it anymore. Got to go grab my bathing suit and get over to the Gulf!

Sorority Olympians – In the Heat of Competition

If you’re a fan of the Olympics and tuning into the London games, we have a secret worth sharing. Sorority women are among the greatest athletes of this season competing in everything from cycling to water polo. And here’s another tidbit – we’re not just on Team USA. Sorority women are also representing Canada and New Zealand, according to our member groups.

Sharing what we do in all corners of our lives is important to the National Panhellenic Conference for more than one reason.

For starters, we like to bust image-bending stereotypes whenever we can.

Olympians who practice discipline, grace under pressure and team camaraderie, surely deliver on that order.

We also like to share in our successes so sorority sisters can emulate a work and personal ethic that takes us all to the next level. What inspires one woman can inspire many women.

And here’s another X chromosome factor you may be unaware of: For the first time in Olympic history, every country will have a woman competing on its team, according to the International Olympic Committee.

Today’s competitors are fierce and driven.

Nikola Girke, a Gamma Phi Beta, has qualified as the sole Canadian representative at the London 2012 Olympic Games in women’s windsurfing. She is one of the few who successfully switched from one sport – crewing on a sailboat in the 2004 games in Athens – to windsurfing in the London games this summer.

Abby Johnston, competing in the 3-meter springboard synchro event for the U.S. Dive Team, is a Delta Delta Delta from Duke University. As her Duke coach pointed out to Sports Illustrated, Johnston knows how to balance sports and education – a sometimes grueling path for anyone with diverse goals.

Even more impressive, Duke and Stanford are the only schools to place multiple divers on the Olympic team.

Johnston might have made a different turn. As a young gymnast, she gave up her first sport of choice because of back injuries – but was encouraged by her coach to train in diving starting at the age of 12.

Like many sorority women who persevere, Johnston has shown us you can continue on with your dreams no matter the obstacles that beset your path.

We have many other sorority women who’ve added the title Olympian to their resumes for the London games, including Delta Zeta’s Allison Aldrich, Alpha Xi Delta’s Suzanne Stettinius and Kappa Kappa Gamma’s Kristin Armstrong.

These ladies have no time to waste as they continue on with competition, including gold medalist Armstrong who recently broke her collarbone.

August 12 marks the end of the games this summer. Let’s applaud the achievements of our Olympian sisters and remember that these sorority women have built a foundation for future successes while providing us with role models along the way.

For a list of our Olympians, click here.