What does UCLA UniCamp mean to you? A couple of days ago, the marketing team sat down to decide on possible slogans for our PR campaign this year. One of our board members presented the idea of “I am UniCamp”, connecting the experiences and mission of our student volunteers. Funny enough, “I am UniCamp” already exists. Written by one of our esteemed Woodseys, Sheila Kuehl, the “I am UniCamp” poems were created for our 50th anniversary in 1985. In an arrangement of 21 short poems, Sheila chronicles the history of camp and its meaning to the campers, the volunteers, and to everyone else involved in our tradition. We think it’s high time that we introduce them once again, and see how the poems still resonate so strongly after 28 years . We will be posting several of them at a time throughout the month, so keep an eye out!
I am UniCamp. I am tall pines with tops lost in more stars than the city sees in a hundred years. I am a river that everyone will call The Stream tickling my way over rocks that seems to shift as you look at them. I am golden leaves in the fall and cobalt blue skies in summer. I am the bats squeaking at dusk, squirrels mistrustful of everything, blue jays always out of humor. I am more silence than your most peaceful dreams. I am waiting for you to find me.
I am UniCamp. I am Gram Gunther and her “boys”, looking for a way to practice humanity, not simply to preach it. I am Tony Berardo, sleeping on a cot in the basement of the first URC, thinking of a potent mixture of children and mountains and college students just beginning to explore compassion and love and service and unselfishness. I am a model A Ford, the first camp truck, rattling its wheels off on roads that are largely rocks and imagination, splashing through The Stream, carrying things that will become a camp.
I am UniCamp. I am a camp near Big Pines, but for ten days in 1935 I belong to the UCLA student and the little boys who make up my very first session. I am a baseball and horseshoes and a little swimming pool not very far from camp. I am the shyest camper, the one the counselors privately call Surly, but by the end of the session, I win the Camp Jokester award and everyone can hear me laugh. I am Jim Harding, a counselor at that first session, who comes away wondering… if camp is for the kids, how come I learned so much myself? I am a blank slate, a camp to be invented as we go along, nurtured by Gram’ concern for her sons and daughters and how they will grow.