Since I could remember I have always wanted to be somebody else. I grew up imitating my older brother and sister, so naturally when they went off to their first summer of UniCamp, I wanted to go too. When I turned 9 in 2004, I finally was able to get on that bus even though, at the time, I was oblivious to the role UniCamp would play in my life. Countless campfires, songs and Woodsey challenges helped me become comfortable with myself and become whoever I wanted to be. You see, that’s the beauty with UniCamp, it allows people to be better versions of themselves. It allows individuals to become someone they would never consider being: a mentor, a dancer, a leader or even a friend. Not until I was an OCP camper did I realize how much UniCamp meant to me. I would come home from camp and cry, wishing life at camp was life every day. As short as those moments were, they were some of the most formative experiences of my person.
Twelve years later, I have the honor of being a part of its leadership team for the 2016 camp season. Words cannot express the warm fuzzies I feel when I think how far I have come thanks to this organization. As a camper, I remember looking up to its volunteer so much that my last year, a fellow camper and I promised each other we would be LSHIP in 5 years .. here we are only 3 years later.
UniCamp taught me to lead, reach my dreams, shake my booty and constantly reminds me that no matter where you come from, you don’t have to try and be somebody else. You are unique, and no one can be a better you than you. This idea is something I want to bring to my session which is dedicated to Leadership Development and Nonviolent Communication for Urban Youth. This initiative is important to me because I see myself in the same position many of our campers may believe they are in, and having the opportunity to put on a week of camp and be that role model so many volunteers were to me comes to show just how powerful Woodsey Magic is. Being LSHIP is an awesome experience, but I will never stop being a camper at heart.
Woody is a third-year political science student at UCI and a Head Counselor Assistant for Session 5: Leadership Development and Nonviolent Communication for Urban Youth (2016).
Compiled by Viridiana “Chancla” Flores UCLA ’16.