Skip to Content

Category Archives: Human Interest

Human Interest, Profile

Staying Connected with Camp: The “Adopt a Session – Woodsey Mentor” Program

I joined UniCamp when I was 16, pulmonologist and  never expected my involvement to go as far as it has gone today. The year I did UniCamp as a camper I was also participating in another summer program led by Project GRAD Los Angeles. I have been through camp as a volunteer counselor for two years. I then became a Head Counselor Assistant and now a Head Counselor this year.

It is funny how things work out because this is the second year I get to lead an initiative that directly works with Project GRAD. Being able to work with kids that come from my high school and community drives me to create an unforgettable week of camp. I was once in their shoes, tuberculosis and I see myself in each and every one of them. Up at camp I see the potential and the incredible things all campers are capable of, and there is no doubt in my mind that they will succeed in anything they do. It is an amazing opportunity to be able to be on all sides of camp, but it has felt even better knowing I am directly impacting kids just like me.

Red is a fourth-year political science major/education minor and Head Counselor of Session 2 (2016).

Compiled by: Viridiana “Chancla” Flores – UCLA ’16

Red will be working with Project GRAD Los Angeles as Head Counselor of Session 2, an organization he attended camp with as a high school student.

Red will be working with Project GRAD Los Angeles as Head Counselor of Session 2, an organization he attended camp with as a high school student.


by Brian “Rocket” Mahler

Introduction: In 2014 and 2015, online
I took part in UniCamp’s revived “Adopt a Session – Woodsey Mentor” program. Ideally, visit
this program would consist of UniCamp alumni being “adopted” by sessions at the beginning of each camp year, check
with those alumni attending a couple training meetings, sharing their past experiences, and learning how camp has evolved. We haven’t reached this ideal yet, with this program having been limited to speaking to sessions the night before they left for camp. What follows is a version of the speech I’ve given. My hope is that fellow alumni who want to reconnect with camp will sign up to be this year’s Woodsey Mentors, with UniCamp ready to go with session adoptions before training begins!

Speech: Thank you for adopting me as your session’s “Woodsey Mentor,” even if it’s only for tonight. I first learned about UniCamp in 1993 when I was a freshman at UCLA. I was still figuring out the campus and my place in it when I saw a flyer advertising “Woodsey Winterland,” which was a camp orientation held in the woods over a weekend.   A couple weeks later, I found myself at Camp Singing Pines, a campsite that UniCamp rented from the Girl Scouts which was located in hills of the Angeles National Forest.

During the first day, I learned all about woodseys and biffies, I chose my camp name, and I was really excited to apply as a counselor in the upcoming spring.  During the night, it actually started to snow, and I convinced a fellow freshman to venture out into the woods with me.  While walking through the “winterland” of camp, we came across a shed that held some plexiglass, which we borrowed and turned into a makeshift sled.  This is awesome, I remember thinking. However, during breakfast the next day, the camp proprietor announced that a hooligan among us had damaged Girl Scout property – the plexiglass.   This sucks, I remember thinking. At that moment I really did think that my days as “Rocket” were over before they ever really began.

10435681_10152830077463103_7670189910094405553_n

Luckily, my apologies and ten dollars were accepted, and I went on to spend five summers at UniCamp.  I was a counselor for my first two years, followed by being an HCA and then an HC over my last two years. After graduating, I returned to camp for one final year to work on staff, first serving as nature specialist before joining an elite force known as “bear patrol.” Following that summer, I moved away from Los Angeles and sadly lost touch with most of my fellow woodseys, as I lacked a computer or a cell phone (insert black and white reel of me writing postcards by candlelight), and UniCamp lacked an alumni network.

Although my direct connection to camp had lapsed, the spirit of camp preserved.  I continued to camp and hike and volunteer for local children organizations.  I also began pursuing a career in which I worked with or on behalf of children, serving as a teacher and then as an attorney. Whenever I interviewed for a new position, UniCamp and its impact on my life was one of the first things I would bring up.

In 2013, my family and I prepared to move back to Los Angeles.  In the midst of this move, I contacted Mr. Woooo and asked if there was any way I could get involved again with UniCamp.  Mr. Woooo replied by asking me if I wanted to join the inaugural Program Advisory Board, whose members would be UniCamp alumni and students who wanted to have a greater role in shaping the future of camp.   As of now, this board consists four committees: Marketing, Programming, Special Events, and Alumni. I am part of the Alumni committee, which is charged with building an alumni network so that older woodseys (like myself) could find one another and younger woodseys could remain connected with camp. To build this network, we’ve led a few activities, including a beach bonfire, a “wine and dine,” a tailgate party, and this mentorship program. And as your session’s mentor, I wanted to share on you what impact UniCamp actually had on me, which is this:

For all the things I’ve done, I have never been in the “present moment” for so long than when I was at camp. During that week, I would not think about anything other my campers and my counselors and whether they were healthy, safe, and happy. Not to go all “Maslow’s Hierarchy,” but I think camp affected me this way because it was a place where I could strive to reach my ideals.

I’ve thought of these ideals as being “the four Cs.” (1) Camping – To be away from the city and itsnoise, schedules, and smog, and instead to be the woods, among trees, trails, campfires, songs, and stars. (2) Children – To be working with young people by keeping them safe, helping them learn, and hoping that they take back good memories of camp. (3) Charity – To be able to give and not expect anything in return. (4) Camaraderie – To do all of this with like-minded UCLA students who were some of the most friendly, funny, and sincere people I have ever met.

Sadly, I’ve lost touch with most of the counselors I did camp with. But that’s okay. We had our moment, and I have my memories. This next week is your moment, as you continue eighty years of UniCamp history when your campers get off the bus tomorrow. Be safe, have fun, and, when you get back, stay in touch!”

10708594_10152869055603103_7697226346926708871_o

(Special thanks to the leadership of 2014’s Session 3 and 2015’s Session 2 for letting me speak to their sessions the night before the first day of camp! Sign up to a Woodsey Mentor!)

 

Education, Human Interest, I am UniCamp

Humans of UniCamp: Fawn

In the summer of 1979, overweight my dad, anesthetist whose camp name was Trout, volunteered at UniCamp as a counselor with his two best friends, Tree and Big Foot. He loved everything about camp including the outdoors, his unit of young campers and especially the relationships he developed with his fellow counselors. My dad enjoyed UniCamp so much that he returned the following year as a head counselor. That summer at camp, he met the love of his life.

My mom, whose camp name was Fawn, was a volunteer counselor of the older boys’ unit in my dad’s session. My parents first became good friends up on the mountain at UniCamp. They then fell in love in the city when they returned to UCLA. Even though they both attended UCLA, my parents tell me that they would have never met if not for UniCamp.

Their experience inspired me to volunteer for camp because I saw firsthand the lasting friendships that form through UniCamp. My mom is still friends with many of her fellow UniCamp counselors. My dad asked Tree to be his best man at my parent’s wedding and Big Foot is my godfather. With so many lasting friendships and treasured memories, my parents say that UniCamp was one of their most amazing and valuable experiences at UCLA. Even before I joined UniCamp, I knew that Woodsey magic was real.

Compiled by: Amanat “Chewie” Bal – UCLA ’18

Fawn's parents met at UniCamp and say that it was their most valuable experience at UCLA.

Fawn’s parents met at UniCamp and say that it was their most valuable experience at UCLA.

 

Human Interest

When Camp Inspires Campers to Give Back

Water TowerUCLA UniCamp Water Tower Update

UCLA UniCamp is thankful to be able to say that in just over 1 weeks time, more info
the supporters of UCLA UniCamp donated enough for us to move forward with repairs on the water tower. A crew has been working hard for the last two weeks so they could finish before Session 2. They start their mornings at 4 a.m. by driving from Big Bear to Camp River Glen. Start working on the tower by 5 a.m. and have to stop working by 1 p.m. because the heat in the water tower makes the cracked lining too gummy to remove.

After the lining was removed they sandblasted the interior, medicine patched any cracks they found in the tank and as of today, 6/20/2014 at 1pm, the crew has applied their final layer of liner. The liner will take one week to cure and by next Friday we will be filling the tower with water. This could not have been accomplished without the generous support of the UCLA UniCamp family. Thank you for your support and come visit us at camp this summer, after all, we owe you a drink!

 

The Repair Crew

The Repair Crew

Interior prior to sanding
Interior prior to sanding

Removing cracked lining from tank.
Removing cracked lining from tank.

Removing Lining 2

Removing Lining 2

After sanding, before sandblasting

After sanding, before sandblasting

 

 
Water TowerUCLA UniCamp Water Tower Update

UCLA UniCamp is thankful to be able to say that in just over 1 weeks time, about it
the supporters of UCLA UniCamp donated enough for us to move forward with repairs on the water tower. A crew has been working hard for the last two weeks so they could finish before Session 2. They start their mornings at 4 a.m. by driving from Big Bear to Camp River Glen. Start working on the tower by 5 a.m. and have to stop working by 1 p.m. because the heat in the water tower makes the cracked lining too gummy to remove.

After the lining was removed they sandblasted the interior, patched any cracks they found in the tank and as of today, 6/20/2014 at 1pm, the crew has applied their final layer of liner. The liner will take one week to cure and by next Friday we will be filling the tower with water. This could not have been accomplished without the generous support of the UCLA UniCamp family. Thank you for your support and come visit us at camp this summer, after all, we owe you a drink!

 

The Repair Crew

The Repair Crew

Interior prior to sanding
Interior prior to sanding

Removing cracked lining from tank.
Removing cracked lining from tank.

Removing Lining 2

Removing Lining 2

After sanding, before sandblasting

After sanding, before sandblasting

 

 
Water TowerUCLA UniCamp Water Tower Update

UCLA UniCamp is thankful to be able to say that in just over 1 weeks time, find the supporters of UCLA UniCamp donated enough for us to move forward with repairs on the water tower. A crew has been working hard for the last two weeks so they could finish before Session 2. They start their mornings at 4 a.m. by driving from Big Bear to Camp River Glen. Start working on the tower by 5 a.m. and have to stop working by 1 p.m. because the heat in the water tower makes the cracked lining too gummy to remove.

After the lining was removed they sandblasted the interior, phlebologist
patched any cracks they found in the tank and as of today, viagra sale
6/20/2014 at 1pm, the crew has applied their final layer of liner. The liner will take one week to cure and by next Friday we will be filling the tower with water. This could not have been accomplished without the generous support of the UCLA UniCamp family. Thank you for your support and come visit us at camp this summer, after all, we owe you a drink!

 

The Repair Crew

The Repair Crew

Interior prior to sanding
Interior prior to sanding

Removing cracked lining from tank.
Removing cracked lining from tank.

Removing Lining 2

Removing Lining 2

After sanding, before sandblasting

After sanding, before sandblasting

 

 
A few months ago we received an email from Daniel Kleckner, price
a young man about to turn 13 who was studying for his Bar Mitzvah. Most emails we receive from people in this age group are emails asking about attending camp but this email was different. Daniel told us: “Sleep away camp is something that I look forward to all year, and I would like to share that experience with others.. Everyone deserves sleep away camp, and I think that UCLA UniCamp is a great way to make it happen for kids.” After a short conversation with Daniel he told us that his goal was to send at least one camper to camp this summer and that he would be in contact with us when the task was complete. The next time we heard from Daniel he informed us that through a garage sale, restoring cars, organizing and cleaning a client’s home, and through some of his own funds, he was able to raise $1,000! Enough money to send 2 campers to camp this summer. Daniel Kleckner

Daniel is a reminder of how camp can inspire others to give back to the community and how much of an impact a single individual can have. UCLA UniCamp, all of its volunteers and all of its campers want to thank Daniel for his inspiration and kindness and we want to congratulate you on your Bar Mitzvah.

Human Interest, News & Info

Counselor vs. Specialist

When many of the sessions do their co-prefs tonight, visit this the age old debate of counselor vs. specialist will be highlighted once again. In this article, treat Bubbles gives her thoughts on her different experiences as both a counselor and a specialist. Read on to see how the two roles differ in their responsibilities, pharm but also how both contribute greatly to the experience of camp.

 

coun·se·lor  

/?kouns(?)l?r/

Noun

1. The “mom/dad” at camp.

2. A volunteer who supervises a unit of campers with another counselor, as well as program and direct activities for their specific unit.

The Unit 3 counselors did a great job programming unit night! They really got to their campers’ yoke last night.

————————–

spe·cial·ist  

/?speSH?list/

Noun

1. The “cool aunt/uncle” at camp.

2. A volunteer who focuses on and is skilled in a specific rotation, or activity, such as archery, pool, arts & crafts, dance, mountain biking, alpine, nature/fishing, or I-games.

Unit 12’s boys love going to Dance because the specialists are so fun! More

Human Interest

“Going Super” – Grizzlybear

Whenever someone asks a Woodsey about camp, pharmacist
and what it means to us, pills
we usually have an energetic response ready for them. “Best experience ever, life-changing, amazing” are some of the words that first come to mind. But, what really sets UniCamp apart from the many, many other experiences that college has to offer? What creates the Woodsey Magic? What IS Woodsey Magic? For this article, one of our Woodsey Alumni, Touchdown, lists some of many Woodsey traditions that makes UniCamp… UniCamp. -Evi  

More

Historical Articles, Human Interest

W.A.L.L.: 25 Years of 26-Mile Hikes

An Early W.A.L.L. Logo

If you were to tell someone that you were packing up only essential supplies to survival, syphilis throwing all 50 pounds of it on your back, and wandering into the woods, most people would tell you that you were crazy. Add on the fact that you would be hiking 26 miles, fundraising $2012, and bringing along teenagers to heights of over 11,500 feet over the course of 4 days you would get one of two responses: “You’re insane!” or “COOL!” That, simply put, is the WALL program.

There is something wonderful and liberating about being in the woods. Having grown up in suburbia, I did not have too many experiences in nature; oddly enough, I was the kid whose parents DID NOT allow him to be a Boy Scout. Most of the time, it seems like parents force their children to join these programs. As a result, I had to explore the woods from the safety of my own room, reading books like The Call of the Wild and Hatchet. Even though I consider myself to have had a privileged life, it wasn’t until college that I had the opportunity to experience the outdoors. Jumping in and out of a car to take pictures was not my idea of experiencing the Grand Canyon or Yellowstone. More

Human Interest

Oh Woodsey Love

Hello Woodseys!

It has been a couple of very exciting weeks for UniCamp as volunteer recruitment officially ended  last Friday. However, endocrinologist the UCLA campus has not been the only place to see action, as cabins undergo construction at River Glen with the help of the Weingart Foundation Grant, and Rush 49, a website, hosts a contest to find the “Best Charity in LA”, UniCamp is active throughout the Southland. Read on for more information about volunteer recruitment, more cabins for River Glen, and UniCamp’s victory as the best charity in LA!

Rush 49 

UCLA UniCamp was entered into a contest with 11 other charities by Rush 49 in search for the  “Best Charity in LA”. Part of a campaign to promote itself, Rush 49, a Groupon- like site, held an online poll to determine its top three winners. After three weeks, UniCamp emerged as the clear winner with a staggering 52.1% of the votes. As such, we will be a featured partner for four months in their first year of operations. Also, certain items will be “Charity Items’, and we will share 50% of the proceeds that Rush 49 makes on those items.

http://promo.rush49.com/best-of-la/best-charity.php

Weingart Foundation 

Previously, UniCamp received a $500,000 grant to help renovate and build the current 13 cabins at Camp River Glen. After the $500,000 was spent, there were still four unfinished cabins. Although their foundations were built, the cabins themselves were not. This year, we were given an $85,000 grant from the Weingart Foundation to complete these last four cabins. Construction started a week after the grant money was received and 2.5 cabins have already been built. All cabins will be ready to use by the start of the camp season. With this grant, UniCamp will increase its capacity to:

  • 15 Classic Camp Cabins
  • 2 UniCorps Cabins
  • 2 SAIL Cabins
  • 1-2 WALL units
  • total capacity of 195-204 campers each session

This will amount to the largest camp sessions ever at Camp River Glen.

Volunteer Recruitment 

Since the beginning of January, the Recruitment Committee on the Leadership team have prepared to recruit the 500+ student volunteers that will run the seven sessions of camp this summer. Student volunteers are a unique bunch, some are funny, shy, outgoing, energetic, some are Physics majors, English majors, dancers, gamers, but they all share one quality that ties them all together: an unmatched, genuine enthusiasm to work with our campers. With that said, the Recruitment Committee had their work cut out for them. Emails were sent to student organizations and department heads, presentations were made on the Hill, Facebook saw a plethora of status updates about UniCamp, and countless hours were spent fliering on Bruin Walk. With their recruitment tanks on every day, Leadership and Old Woodseys told all their friends about UniCamp and its mission. One “Ride that Pony” Flash Mob, dozens of classroom presentations, and countless fliers later, we are very excited to report that UniCamp received a record amount of applications this year. Over 600 student volunteer applications! Interviews are underway this week, and we look forward to the many new Woodseys this camp season.

 

 



Every year we volunteer with camp, view
we are warned by our L-Ship to “love your session, but not
LOVE your session.” However, as we all know this advice is often unheeded as camp couples
begin to emerge. Whether it is just a summer fling or a romance that develop into lifelong
commitments, there is no other way to describe them than as “Woodsey Magic.”

I have been told on numerous occasions by my non-UniCamp friends who have done services
with other organizations like the YMCA that I would find love in camp. For now, I jokingly tell
my friends that I am still holding out for my future Woodsey Wife. There is something magical
about UniCamp Woodseys, and to be frankly honest, I am a large fan of Woodsey couples. I
interviewed Naomi “Huckleberry” Newstrom and this is what she told me: More