Meghan Gayter Leaving CROYA in June


Shaffer Franklin

If you have ever been to CROYA or been approached by a CROYA staff member during lunches on Wednesday, then you have met Meghan Gayter. Meghan is CROYA’s high school youth worker; anything high school related, she does. Recently, we, LFHS students, just discovered that Meghan is leaving CROYA after 3.5 years working in her position. In June, she is leaving to attend her sister’s wedding in France, and she is staying in Europe for as long as she feels right.

Her plan is to mostly travel alone around Europe from country to county. She decided to go because she wants to challenge herself in her personal life. She informed me that she typically gets stuck in her comfort zone and she wants to broaden her horizon. She will be staying in a work away program, which is where you stay for free and they feed you; you just have to work while you stay there. She will be working on a vineyard. Meghan is able to get a job in England because of her dual citizenship and could even settle down there.

Her journey starts off in France for her sister’s wedding. Then, with her brother and her friend, Molly, she will be traveling to Barcelona and Lisbon. She will also be traveling to Switzerland to visit another friend. A goal of hers is to make her way to Berlin and Germany as she wants to see World War II places and create a tour for herself.

Gayter states she wants to go, “Anywhere and everywhere. See where my journey takes me.”

Meghan has always wanted to travel the world. It has been a dream of hers for a long time as she almost applied to colleges in other countries her senior year of high school. She also has family in other countries which has made her want to travel even more. After she graduated college, she believed her desire to travel would subside; however, it never did. She recently reached a crossroad for what to do next and traveling around Europe seemed like the best thing to do.

Meghan has a lot of favorite memories at CROYA. Her favorite memory from high school was being a retreat leader as it had a big impact on her confidence. “Being a part of CROYA and leading helped me discover what I wanted to do and who I wanted to become.”

Her favorite memory from working at CROYA is anything to do with Matt Carr after school, the retreats, work trips, working with retreat leaders, and helping students navigate through the hardships of high school.

Meghan has made an impact on everyone at CROYA whether it is meeting with executive members, dealing with those who come once a week, or those who have only been on the retreats. She will be missed dearly by everyone around her, but we all wish her the best in her travels abroad.

As a farewell, I asked students and other CROYA staff about how Meghan has impacted their lives. Here’s to you, Meg, an article of Warm Fuzzies.

“Meghan means a lot to a lot of people. She brings a new sense of community to CROYA that we will miss. I’m so happy for you and this next big step, Meghan, and thank you for all of the things you have done to keep a smile on my face. take out club forever.” – Maddy Moore

“It is been a pleasure working with Meghan for the last 3 1/2 years. Her dedication to the youth and her incredible passion for both fun and meaningful programs has made her an outstanding member of the CROYA team. We will miss her a lot, but she is leaving a great lasting impression on the entire CROYA organization. We wish her all the best!” – Todd Nahigian

“Meghan Gayter, in my opinion, is the unsung hero in our community. The evidence can be found after hours at CROYA talking with students, during lunch periods corralling new people to attend the weekly Wednesday CROYA meetings, or teaching peer training classes. To many, Meghan is a noble friend and wise confidant. To others, she may just be a smiling face around the halls and at CROYA. I cherish my friendship with Meghan and all the wise advice she has given me along the way, and I can say in confidence that, CROYA and the youth community of Lake Forest and Lake Bluff will not be the same without her.” – Kate Reinhardt

“It has been such a pleasure working with Meghan over the last three years! She always brings a great positive energy to everything she does. I don’t know what I am going to do without her!” – Leslie Walton

“Meghan is one of those people that just feels comfortable, whether you’ve known her a minute or for a year. It sounds really cheesy but it’s true. High school is one of the most confusing, awkward, and wonderfully transformative times, and sometimes you just need that- someone you can just talk to without any other expectations. Meghan was that for me. It’s a pretty rare attribute to find in people, and I think for Meghan it’s derived from her down to earth personality. She’s can level with anyone. Wherever she goes, she’ll bring a light, and everyone in her future is extremely lucky to have her, as I am to have spent time with her.” – Natalie Allen

“I’ve known Meghan for over 10 years, and what has always stood out to me is just how much she cares for the people around her. Whether it’s her family, her friends, or someone she is just meeting, she’s always willing to give the extra effort to help them out however she can. Add this in with her fun-loving attitude, passion for so many causes, and her genuine, inclusive personality, and it’s clear how she has made an impact on so many during her time at CROYA. Meghan is leaving to do something many of us will only hope to do, and that’s follow her dreams – and I have the highest level of respect for her being able to take that risk. I know that so many will miss her, and I know that I (and the rest of the CROYA staff) will miss not only a phenomenal coworker, but a friend. Luckily, if there’s one thing I’ve learned through the years, it’s not a goodbye, it’s a see you later.” – Rick Day

“Spending time with Meghan has been one of the best parts of my CROYA experience. She has been there for me on my worst days and my best. Meghan very clearly loves what she does and loves every one of us and has treated us so. Whoever has the pleasure of meeting Meghan on her next adventure is awfully lucky.” – Gina Sobhy

“Meghan has played such an important role in my life and I’m so so grateful for her. She has always been there for me since the day she started working at CROYA, and I still feel that she is one of the most trustworthy and reliable people I know. I will always look back at high school with fond memories of hanging out in Meghan’s office, goofing around with her and Matt Carr, and always having something interesting to talk about. I can’t say enough how thankful I am for my friendship with Meghan and for having her as a role model! She will be missed at CROYA!” – Adele O’Neill

“Meghan’s friendship is one of the many blessings that has come out of me being a part of CROYA over the years. Her friendly personality and genuine care for others not only had a huge effect on the high school kids, but the adults too. She has become one of my best friends and I can’t wait to see what she is going to accomplish in this next chapter of her life! London baby!” – Joseph Santello

“Ever since I met Meghan, she has been one of my biggest role models. She has the biggest heart and never fails to make me laugh. She always made CROYA an exciting, happy, positive & safe place. Some of my favorite memories were spending Tuesday afternoons at CROYA with her and Emerson. I can’t wait to see her thrive in London.” – Jenna Grossman

“I was so devastated to hear Meghan was leaving CROYA next year, but I’m so excited for her to go on and do big things! Meghan is such a role model and someone I always felt comfortable talking to about anything. Words can’t describe how much she’ll be missed!!” – Julia Hender

“Meghan, you have made a huge impact on my life more than you can imagine. You were the first set of CROYA eyes I saw at the end of sophomore year, asking about being part of the exec team. You guided us through peer training gracefully, and I was always encouraged to be myself. I was so terrified, yet you were willing to work with me, the awkward me who really didn’t know what she was doing at first. That willingness to take a deeper look at each kid, and give them space to be themselves is so powerful. If it wasn’t for you I’m not sure I would love CROYA as much as I love it now.” – Jenna Gonzalez

“Meghan has been such a positive adult figure in my life these past 3 years. Not only has she been a person I can go to at CROYA and talk or rant about anything with, but she has truly been a friend to me all of these years. Meghan’s positive energy is unmatchable and her sense of humor is one I will always cherish. She is going to have huge shoes to fill 🙂 I, as well as the entire CROYA community, will miss her so much!! 💗💗” – Ava Manelis

“Meghan has honestly become one of my best friends the past few years. She is so easy to talk to and I have spent so many days at CROYA with her telling ghost stories, talking about our favorite movie and shows, and getting advice. She’s not only important to me but has made a huge impact on anyone who has come to CROYA the past four years. We are all really going to miss her but I’m so so excited to see where she goes next- knowing Meghan it will definitely be amazing!” – Haley Banta

“Meghan was the type of herson you could go to with anything — big or small. She is a role model, confidant, and friends to any that stepped inside CROYA. No matter what type of day you had, Meghan was always ready to listen and give the best advice when needed. I can say, without a doubt, that Meghan exemplifies exactly what CROYA stands for every day.” – Morgan Kamholz