Skip to Content

Category Archives: Why do I do UniCamp?

Why do I do UniCamp?

Being a Kid Again- “Touchdown”

As volunteer recruitment draws to a close, we finish our “Why Do I Do UniCamp” series with Touchdown. Although he was only able to do one year of camp, his article shows just how much of an impact UniCamp had on his life. 

When I graduated from elementary school, I I couldn’t wait to get to middle school…
When I graduated from middle school, I couldn’t wait to get to high school…
When I graduated high school, I just wished that I could go back to elementary school and do it all over again…

So when I found out about Unicamp – about the songs, the games, the activities – I thought that, as a college senior, it might be the closest I could get to being a kid all over again.  That is what initially drew me to UniCamp.  Once I educated myself on UniCamp and found out what it was all about, my focus immediately shifted from “How can being a part of UniCamp impact my life?” to “How can I impact others’ lives by being a part of UniCamp?” More

Why do I do UniCamp?

The Meaning of Woodsey Magic – “Bubba”

I do camp for the Woodsey Magic.

Sometimes I ask other counselors what exactly “Woodsey Magic” is to them. Usually the answer comes back as a smile from ear to ear, a touching camp story, and some comment about how difficult Woodsey Magic is to explain. If you’ve felt it before, you know what it is, though you might not be able to describe it. I think it’s probably a little different for everybody, but here’s my version:

From the moment we’re born, much of our lives are decided for us; our names, our families, our environment. As we grow up, these things build stresses, pressures, and expectations upon themselves. Before we know it, we’ve become products of our environment; molds of what the people and circumstances around us have designed. Perhaps more often than not, that mold doesn’t quite resemble the person we wish we were. Maybe we wish we were more brave, outgoing, confident, happier, friendlier. Maybe it’s something completely different. But whoever you are, my guess is there’s something about yourself that you’d like to change a little.

What if I told you that you can be exactly who you want to be? More

Why do I do UniCamp?

Memories from the 50’s- “Chatty”

In today’s “Why I Do UniCamp”, Don “Chatty” Chatelain, a Woodsey Alumni, recounts his experiences with camp in the 1950’s, and demonstrates how even decades later, UniCamp still holds a special place in our hearts.

My best personal memory is the aroma of the pine trees as UniCamp was opened for another summer during the 1950s. Irv, Charlie and Ken had to “turn on” the Camp which included our generator and volatile water system. I was in charge of administering SRBs. Luke presided as the staff and counselors prepared for the continuing rush of camper sessions throughout the summer and into the beginning of our busy fall school schedules.

Each fall we worked on camper event follow-up from the past summer and recruitment with the Los Angeles agencies to provide kids for the next summer – coupled with a successful Mardi Gras and UniCamp drive on campus, we counselors and staff were eager for each UniCamp summer of serving 1000+ deserving, low income kids, return once again. More

Why do I do UniCamp?

The Impact of Kindness- “Vision”

We continue with our “Why I Do UniCamp” series as the last week of volunteer recruitment begins. In this article, Vision focuses on her own personal journey with UniCamp, and how it impacted her in ways she never expected…

When I walked into my first ever Unicamp meeting, I was greeted by a pretty, Asian girl with a beautiful smile. She shook my hand and introduced herself to me as “Evi.” “Evi?” I thought, “That sure is a weird name.” Then, I met Twinkle Toes, Obey, Mumble, and Raydio.  The LSHIP members’ devotion to the UniCamp cause inspired me and being a part of UniCamp has taught me a lot about what it takes to inspire oneself.

I learned a lot about life through my experiences with UniCamp. What I had previously believed to be true about people had become greatly questionable. UniCamp is comprised of some of the most amazing, life-loving, and inspiring groups of people I have ever met. The bonding us Woodseys experienced during training never felt forced or uncomfortable.  Despite their personal struggles, the volunteers of UniCamp step outside of their own lives, inspire others, and give back to their communities. Woodseys see the bigger picture: the impact of kindness.   More

Why do I do UniCamp?

Community- “Ton Ton”

Today’s post by Harlequin shows the perspective of a graduate student in UniCamp and the third in our series of “Why do I do UniCamp?”

Last year I applied to UniCamp for the first time. It was my second year here at UCLA and I had heard about camp from a few friends, but hadn’t paid it much attention. When recruitment season rolled around, I started seeing posts on Facebook with a link to There’s a wonderful short documentary on the website that was filmed recently and shows interviews with volunteers and campers talking about what camp means to them. As I watched it, I was struck by how profoundly the volunteers talked about their experiences and how happy the campers were to have this unique week away from home. It was clear that this camp was more than just fun and games; campers and volunteers alike seemed to feel a deep connection to each other and to Camp River Glen (where UniCamp is held). More

Why do I do UniCamp?

UniCamp Inspires- “Harlequin”

Today’s post by Harlequin shows the perspective of a graduate student in UniCamp and the third in our series of “Why do I do UniCamp?”

Last year I applied to UniCamp for the first time. It was my second year here at UCLA and I had heard about camp from a few friends, but hadn’t paid it much attention. When recruitment season rolled around, I started seeing posts on Facebook with a link to There’s a wonderful short documentary on the website that was filmed recently and shows interviews with volunteers and campers talking about what camp means to them. As I watched it, I was struck by how profoundly the volunteers talked about their experiences and how happy the campers were to have this unique week away from home. It was clear that this camp was more than just fun and games; campers and volunteers alike seemed to feel a deep connection to each other and to Camp River Glen (where UniCamp is held). More

Why do I do UniCamp?

On Being a (Gentle)man

For the second day of our “Why I do UniCamp” series, and in accordance with Valentine’s Day, we take a look at Squirrelly’s narrative on what it takes to be a (Gentle)man. Even though a camp counselor is often perceived to be a traditional female role, UniCamp encourages our volunteers to challenge that notion, and show campers that we CAN be whoever we want to be, and bid “adieu” to societal norms.

On Being a (Gentle)man:

It is undeniable that within UniCamp and various service organizations focused on working with children, there is not a lot of male representation. Sometimes I wonder about the rationale behind this deficit. My guess is that the concept of working intimately with kids is perceived to be incongruent with a man’s role. Gender roles that dictate that caring for children is a distinctly feminine role may be preventing great MENtors from fulfilling their potential. Even as I write this, I am struggling to describe these ideas without coming off as “soft.”


Why do I do UniCamp?

Why Do I Do UniCamp? – “Tik Tok”

As Volunteer Recruitment reaches its halfway point today (apps due next Friday!), students walking down Bruin Walk, in their dorms, and in their fraternity/sorority houses are bombarded with fliers to “APPLY FOR UNICAMP TODAY!!”. And while the continuous streams of Facebook statuses, #uclaunicamp #woodsey, and the very passionate group of volunteers flyering on B-Walk are slightly overwhelming, it works, because a lot of potential new Woodseys out there are now wondering, “oh, UniCamp, maybe I should apply….”, and ultimately ends at the question, “Why should I do UniCamp”?

That, in itself, is a loaded question. “It’s for the kids”, “Woodsey magic”, “life changing” are some of the few, but honestly, there is a myriad of answers out there for this question, and each reflecting the different background and experiences of the responder. Here at the Breeze, we hope to answer that question with our “Why I Do UniCamp” series. From now until the end of Recruitment, this series draws answers from our very diverse group of volunteers. From South Campus to North Campus, counselors to specialists, current Woodseys to Woodsey Alumni, past campers to staff, we hope this series helps explain why we do what we do, and why YOU should apply to UCLA UniCamp. 

Despite all of the responsibilities that came with being an undergraduate at UCLA, UniCamp is the one place where I can feel like a kid again…


Why do I do UniCamp?

Unique to UniCamp – Touchdown

If you were to tell someone that you were packing up only essential supplies to survival, 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, from stop to stop, was not my idea of experiencing the Grand Canyon or Yellowstone.

In college I began rock climbing, camping, and hiking, and eventually backpacking through the WALL program. Although for the most part, I was only an hour away from my life in LA, those few hours spent in quiet were incredible. I would sit; watching birds, listening to water spill over falls, the whispering wind, and then write down my thoughts on paper, free from all the critical voices of the people I left at home. If I grew up in the inner city like many of our campers, I could only imagine feeling crushed by the constant noise and pressures surrounding me.

The need for children to experience nature is extremely important, Richard Louv, author of Last Child in the Woods, states: “Very few children in today’s society even play outside!” Call me a romantic dreamer of yesterday, but it bothers me that kids spend all day inside connected to their iPods, Facebook, and video games. What bothers me even more is my own attachment to these things! Given that a majority of American kids aren’t experiencing the outdoors, the WALL program seeks to provide the under-served an equal chance to explore in nature.

This year we will be celebrating the 25th anniversary of the WALL program and plan to serve close to 100 campers. In addition, we are in the midst of an experimental summer, hosting 2 hikes during Session 3, with the goal of expanding our reach, and allowing for twice the amount of WALL campers to be able to participate in the future. In an attempt to discover the roots to this program, I sought out the first WALL Program Director, Eric “Moose” Stein, who was pivotal in the formation of the program in 1988.

How did you get involved in camp?
My roommate in college, Coyote, had done camp in the summer of 1985. He had come back telling me about what a great experience he had, as well as the amazing friends he made. I was convinced, and joined camp as a result.

Why did you develop the WALL program?
I didn’t develop the WALL program alone; it was a group decision, in large part by the camp director at the time.  At this point, I was in my 3rd year in camp, and we had a junior counselor program. These kids were older, had their own unit, and served as floaters within the camp. We wanted to build a program for them that included high adventure and a challenge. Thus, the WALL program was started in 1988.

Did you have previous backpacking experience before, or did you have to learn it all from scratch?
During this time, I was a high school teacher, and had my summers free. I was an avid backpacker and so was able to train my volunteers on the various survival skills. I also became first aid certified, and would accompany the WALLers on their hikes.

What was special about WALL?
At that time, UniCamp was held at Upper and Lower Site. WALL stayed exclusively at Upper Site before taking off on their hike. However, upon return, the WALLers would join the rest of camp at Lower Site, sharing their experiences and encouraging the younger campers to participate in the WALL program in the future. As well, WALL was the only co-ed program at the time, and made for a unique experience for the campers.

Is there any advice you would like to give to the WALLers this year?
For the campers I would encourage them to “relish the challenge.” The hike may be difficult and strenuous, but that there is a lot to be gained from the experience. Despite the pain and discomfort, the hike up to San Gorgonio is not a feat to be disregarded, because there are so many people in LA that will never achieve what you will

.For the advisors, I would tell them to have fun, and that WALL is a very special experience, as you are working with kids that are transitioning into young adulthood. This is a very important time in their lives, and there is a lot to be gained by the campers from have the WALL experience.

How has the WALL program impacted you to this day?
As a counselor, Head Counselor, and member of the Board of Trustees, I would say that WALL has provided me with the most lasting memories. As well, it is something that I am most proud of, not to say that it would not have happened without me, but that it was a great niche that I found in camp. It’s not about me but the lasting memories, and the fact that the program is still going strong to this day.

I would like to wish a happy 25th birthday to the WALL program, and to recognize all the time, dedication, and money that have been given by all the WALL Program Directors and Advisors over this time. This program is truly a testament to our Woodsey values, and the experiences and memories made can only be described as “Woodsey magic.”

I leave you with the following quote, as I strongly believe in the merits of the WALL program, and the experience it provides to the underserved youth of LA.

“And I also know how important it is in life not necessarily to be strong but to feel strong, to measure yourself at least once, to find yourself at least once in the most ancient of human conditions, facing blind, deaf stone alone, with nothing to help you but your own hands and your own head.”
— Bear Meat by Primo Levi


Sherlock “Squirrelly” Ho

WALL Program Director 2012



Whenever someone asks a Woodsey about camp, and what it means to us, 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  


Profile, Why do I do UniCamp?

Why Do I Do Camp? – “Buttercup”

Leadership 2012

As Week 10 of Winter Quarter begins, 400 UCLA students will have their first taste of UniCamp for the 2012 year. What are now referred to as “10th Week Meetings” are the first time Leadership teams will meet their sessions. It’s a time of excitement, anticipation, anxiety and fear as this group of 30 volunteers that has been training for the last 10 weeks are  sent out  to train and lead their own volunteers. To celebrate this momentous occasion we have chosen to revisit the day when 30 individual volunteers became 7 united leadership teams:

As camp season quickly approaches and applications have flooded in, the Leadership teams for the summer of 2012 were revealed in the early morning hours of Saturday February 11th. The Head Counselor Assistants, or HCAs, were led on a wild series of rotations by the Classic Camp Program Directors and the 2012 Head Counselors, who had already been notified of their respective teams. Recent changes in Unicamp also affected this year’s Leadership Co-Revelations. Due to generous grants and the increased number of cabins, Camp River Glen will happily hold the largest camp sessions ever this summer, serving more children than ever before. However, the number of sessions has decreased from last year’s eight down to seven, leaving several Leadership teams with five members instead of four. However, the slightly bigger size of two of the teams was welcomed with enthusiasm, with Co-Head Counselors Fiji and Funfetti donning “Mama Co” and “Papa Co” t-shirts at the end of the reveal.

Classic Camp Program Directors: Spiffy & Tails

The Program Directors, Head Counselors, and Head Counselor Assistants all rose before the sun itself- just after 5 o’clock in the morning! – to take part in the Leadership team reveal. Classic Camp Program Directors Spiffy and Tails, along with eight Head Counselors, planned out an elaborate course of challenges centered around Pokémon, complete with Pokéballs and different stations, or ‘Gyms.’ The HCs and PDs started the morning off with a rendition of the theme song “Co-kémon” before the HCAs divided into groups to take part in trials involving balloons, spicy food, and getting bashed on the head.

After the challenges led all the HCAs to Bruin Plaza, their teams were finally revealed through a series of clues, leading to laughter and surprises and a ridiculous amount of hugging. Just as the sun began to rise in the sky, the newly formed teams went in search of their respective Head Counselors at the top of Janss Steps, where the Leadership teams were finally completed and session numbers were discovered. Seeing firsthand the suspense and excitement of Leadership Co-Revelations really showed me how incredible Unicamp volunteers are. Dedicated enough to get up at the crack of dawn in the rainy cold (and singing and laughing the entire time), our 2012 Leadership teams have started off the camp season off on the right note.

– Nutmeg

Introducing: Session Leadership Teams 2012

Session 1 Leadership

Session 2 Leadership

Session 3 Leadership

Session 4 Leadership

Session 5 Leadership

Session 6 Leadership

Session 7 Leadership























Buttercup, Sodapop, Fiji ” src=”×224.jpg” alt=”” width=”300″ height=”224″ />

Session 3'11 LSHIP

My name is Buttercup. And that is why I do camp. The camp name, I mean.

UniCamp is one of the rare college groups that literally allows you to define yourself and not be defined by the group. When you pick your camp name you are asked to think about who you are; and during the camp journey (from training to your week on the mountain) you are asked to think about who you want to be.