Diary of a Discovery Girl: Mary Claire's Story

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How did you find out about the Summit? Why did you apply?

I found out about the Summit on the Discovery Girls website! I was really excited to apply because DG has always inspired me with their heartfelt advice, funny embarrassing moments, helpful articles, and of course, the featured Discovery Girls! The Summit sounded like a great opportunity and a great way to help other girls, not to mention a once-in-a-lifetime experience and trip to San Francisco, California.

How long did it take you to do your questionnaire? How did you feel after submitting it?

It took me several months to completely finish my questionnaire. In fact, I sent it in two hours before the deadline! I really tried to make sure it was as good as it could be. I felt nervous and really excited after submitting my questionnaire. I was really trying to imagine what it would be like if I actually got in and was worried that I might have submitted it too late.

One of the photos I sent in with my questionnaire

How did you find out you got chosen? Where were you? How did you feel?

I found out I got chosen from my mom. It was right after school when my mom told me she got an email saying that Discovery Girls had exciting news for me! I was over-the-moon excited! I was so happy that I started jumping up and down screaming! I had to wait all weekend until my mom could call DG’s office to get all of the information, and I wasn’t allowed to tell anyone until I knew for sure I was chosen. It was one long, but exciting, weekend of waiting.

Trying on a possible profile outfit

DG's packing list!

How did you feel on the way to the Summit? What was the trip like?

I was so excited, I can’t even describe it! My family and I took a cruise to Alaska a few days before, so I had to leave one trip of a lifetime to go to the next one! The flight to California felt like it took forever, but that was just because I kept wondering, “Are we there yet?” over and over again. The moment our plane landed I was ready to jump out of my seat.

On the cruise ship...just a few days 'til I'm at the Summit!

What was it like when you arrived?

When we arrived at the Summit, I saw this sign that said, “Welcome, Discovery Girls!” by the road. The lighthouse, right on the ocean, where we were going to stay was so beautiful. The second we walked into the door, everything was busy. Girls were getting to know each other and we had to do a scavenger hunt together! I felt at home right away. I found out I was in the June/July issue and that I was going to stay with the other girls also featured in that issue. Our bunk beds were decorated and we all got gift bags that had things like our schedules, a Discovery Girls T-shirt, a water bottle, and a pretty pink notebook. Later that night, all of us girls did some icebreakers and games to get to know each other.

What was it like meeting girls from other parts of the U.S. and Canada?

All the girls were super nice! We all shared experiences, ideas, and advice and made the Summit the best that it could be. One of the best parts about the Summit as a whole was meeting so many awesome, sweet, funny, and totally creative girls and sharing a great experience with them! All of the pictures of us in the magazine smiling and laughing and acting like we’re really good friends are genuine, because we are all really good friends in real life!

What did you talk about at the Summit? What did you enjoy talking about the most?

We talked about all sorts of things, like bullying, gossip, rejection, self-esteem, insecurities, anything that popped up really and that we thought was important for girls around the world. I really enjoyed talking about pretty much everything. It was interesting to hear all the other girl’s stories and I realized that the problems and difficulties I have weren’t so different from the ones girls all cross the U.S and Canada experienced. It made me realize how it’s actually pretty common to be freaking out about because of a zit one day or dealing with a mean bully that won’t let up the next.  

What was the funniest thing that happened?

The funniest thing that happened to me was when we were taking photos and videos for the Behind the Scenes section of the magazine. My group got to make crepes in the kitchen and put all sorts of toppings on them, like berries, Nutella, powered sugar, and whipped cream. Shelly, the photographer, was taking silly pictures of us messing around with spatulas and tossing berries into our months, when Gloria decided that we could use some whipped cream action. She let us put some on a plate and give somebody a whipped cream pie to the face! Maya, another DG, and I volunteered to go first: Maya smashed her pie on my face and I smashed mine on hers. I got whipped cream in my hair, on my face, even on my eyelashes!  It was hilarious, especially when one of the moms who was staying with us had to braid my hair to hide the sticky remains of the whipped cream!

Was there anything that surprised you at the Summit?

What surprised me most was how involved and funny the photographers were! I thought they’d just be serious and kind of quiet and just take our pictures, but they were really funny and nice! They’d do anything to make you smile and would even jump up and down screaming like a maniac just to draw a natural laugh out of you. After a while, you just forgot that they were even there!

Do you learn anything new?

I learned so many new things I can’t even remember them all! Mostly, I learned that Discovery Girls isn’t just a magazine, it’s a family. There are so many people and moments that you don’t see when you get an issue of Discovery Girls. You don’t see the photographers acting silly, you don’t see how much work DG staff like Gloria and Holly and Linda put into making the magazine the best it can be, you don’t get to meet the founder and CEO of the magazine, Catherine. You don’t see all of us DG’s hugging goodbye and promising to keep in touch, because the Summit created some long-lasting forever friendships that we all don’t want to lose. Even if you don’t meet the people or see the staff, they’re there all the same. DG is a loving, welcoming, inspiring and creative family that works together, from the founder to the DGs themselves to the staff and to the photographers and editors.

I learned that being a Discovery Girl isn’t just about the magazine, it’s about all the inspiring people you meet along the way. It’s also about sharing stories and truly being open about your not-so-pretty experiences and insecurities or hardships. A Discovery Girl isn’t perfect or chosen for her looks. She’s just someone chosen who can be open about herself and can give advice and help to other girls. Someone who’s a leader. Finally, I learned that every girl has insecurities and times she wishes for a “do over”. I learned at the Summit that we’re all human and we all make mistakes. Nobody’s perfect and nobody ever will be.

What was your favorite part of the Summit?

I loved everything about the Summit! From the photo shoots to just the DGs themselves, everything was a blast! I learned a lot and met so many inspiring people. This experience will definitely stay with me for the rest of my life. I especially liked discussing topics like bullying, gossip, rejection, introverts/extroverts, and resilience on camera and knowing that what I’m saying could make a difference in the lives of millions of girls. It’s an inspiring feeling.

How have you changed since the Summit?

Last summer, I moved to another city in Indiana, and Discovery Girls gave me something to look forward to all year. I think Discovery Girls magazine has made me more confident and reassured because even if I have a bad day at school, I’ll still have a DG friend I can call if I just need to talk. The Summit opened my eyes to all the girls around me and I’m able to realize that even if they look perfect to me, they aren’t. They’re human, too. They might need advice or a friend and are just afraid to ask. You never know about people. Being a part of Discovery Girls taught me that everyone goes through tough times and they might not have a resource as good as DG to help them. Now, I’m ready to offer help or advice to anyone who needs it, no matter their situation.


I’ll always remember…

I’ll always remember the last night at the Summit. All of us girls went to the photo shoot studio and had a huge DG dance party! All the moms were snapping pictures and Gloria, Holly, Linda, and the rest of the staff were dancing with us! The song, “The Cupid Shuffle” came on, and we all did a conga line and made it “The DG Shuffle” instead of “The Cupid Shuffle.” We all were messing around and enjoying our last night! It was super memorable and I had a blast! We then took the last picture of all of us as a group. It was sad to be leaving, but I know I’ll be connected to my DG friends and DG experience for the rest of my life. That last night was unforgettable.

We don't want to say good-bye!

Is there anything else you want to tell our readers about being a Discovery Girl?

Being a Discovery Girl is really awesome! It’s worth all the time you spend on your questionnaire and all the worrying about whether you were chosen or not. You learn a lot about yourself and a lot about the girls around you. So if you get the chance to apply, do it! Put yourself out there and try your best! It’s worth it!

June/July 2014

This is a web exclusive from June/July 2014.

See more from the June/July 2014 issue of Discovery Girls!