Guest Columns

With Summer Canceled, How Are You Going to Reimagine Your Plans?

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By Sophia Spiegel

With the cancellation of summer camps, study programs and family vacations, students find themselves reimagining their summer plans within the parameters of social distancing and the new realities of COVID-19.

Imagination is an ability that children develop at a young age, which acts as the foundation of creativity and resourcefulness. Throughout one’s childhood, the main focus of imagination is the creative aspect of it, but as the harsh reality of a global pandemic sets in, young adults are forced to use their imagination to be resourceful as well.

COVID-19 has certainly had its downsides, but some students have been able to turn it into a new opportunity with some hard work and imagination. Rising college sophomores Spencer McGowan and Mac Yavner are Horace Greeley High School alumni and business partners who planned to be lifeguards and take college classes this summer. Having run a successful business during high school, the two friends realized they had an opportunity to come up with a new plan. 

They created Splash-N-Dash Mobile Car Wash, a service available to customers in the safety of their own driveways. The friends recognized that many cars were still dirty from the winter.

“We decided to create our own mobile car wash, wearing masks and gloves and using disinfectants, to make sure our clients know they are getting the best and safest wash,” Yavner explained.

The first hurdle was their lack of experience and equipment. But with resourcefulness, the two were able to learn quickly.

“Our biggest challenge was getting customers at first,” McGowan said. “We began by posting flyers on Facebook and now we are getting many referrals.”

Now that their business has become more widely known and they have received positive reviews, word of it is spreading like wildfire. In a time where everyday life is different than it used to be, McGowan recommends that students “use this time to your advantage and look for something you can do that you might not have been able to, if it weren’t for this crazy situation.” 

Rising college juniors Jeremy Block and Josh Weinberg, another pair of friends from Greeley, adjusted their summer plans into a productive and successful business. Originally, Block planned on working at a real estate company in Manhattan and at a summer camp when the pandemic hit. With a lot of time on his hands and an uncertain future, Block and Weinberg decided to revamp their basketball court painting business, Lines of Westchester, which they started in high school.

With summer camps and programs canceled, parents might be eager to have their driveways painted to encourage their children to get out of the house. The duo spent many hours practicing and perfecting how to paint the lines of a court, and invested money into obtaining the proper equipment. 

They advertised their business via the Chappaqua Moms Facebook group and quickly realized they could easily expand into other areas of Westchester. They recruited friends to post on Facebook groups in other towns, and even added a gift card referral program to help the local community and gain more customers. Those who refer them new clients receive a $25 gift card to a local business of their choice, helping other area merchants.

“Although we did this briefly as seniors, the pandemic presented a great opportunity to grow the business and help get kids outside,” said Block.

It also serves as a great introduction to the business world because they have experienced many of the problems that bigger companies face, including managing expenses and customer service.

While the past few months have presented a fair share of challenges, it has also provided opportunities for out-of-the-box thinking.

“Although you may be disappointed that your plans had to change, COVID-19 provides all of us with countless opportunities that maybe we would never have come across,” Weinberg said.  

Byram Hills High School junior Sofia Mahairas has proven that a love for the arts is not confined to a dance studio. Originally, Mahairas had plans to take weekly dance classes this summer. Instead, she will be creating weekly virtual dance classes and posting them on YouTube, free to anyone. Her motivation stemmed from her hope for the future and what it will bring if she continues to be committed to her passion.

“If you play a sport or have a hobby, keep going and push yourself to grow in whatever you are interested in,” Mahairas said.

She admits that at times she finds herself less motivated to post instructional videos; however, she plans to endure through these uncertain times, as she knows they are only temporary, and encourages her peers to do the same.

In life, we imagine our future and what it will look like, but as challenges present themselves, we are forced to reimagine the steps we take to reach our goals. This is one of those times. Whether kids join forces with friends to create a business or pursue passions and new hobbies, reimagining summer plans will help make this summer less of a disappointment and more of an opportunity.

How will you reimagine your summer plans?

Sophia Spiegel is a rising Junior at Horace Greeley High School in Chappaqua. She is an aspiring journalist who has a passion for the news, entertainment and social justice.

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