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Humans of UniCamp: Bones

I joined UniCamp my freshman year when I was looking for a fun extracurricular to do at UCLA. I never would have imagined that in a short time it would grow to influence almost every facet of my life. Through UniCamp, I’ve found a family within UCLA, people who I call my best friends and who have shaped me to be the person that I am today. Even outside of UCLA I’ve met people who have done UniCamp and we instantly bond because camp is such a fiercely special experience. I think most notable of all, UniCamp’s the reason I chose to pursue a career in education. Every summer I meet the most amazing campers, and even though we’re here to teach them something, it is me who ends up learning the most from them.

I chose to do LSHIP after talking to a lot of amazing people who encouraged me and pushed me out of my comfort zone. I have a distinct memory of someone suggesting to me that I should join LSHIP my freshman year and my automatic response was that there was no way! Five years later, I feel so grateful to be surrounded by people who believed in me before I did because it has given me the opportunity to pursue my passions and make a real difference in the world.

AcademiCamp is an initiative close to my heart because of its tie in with education. I was so inspired to learn about all of the initiatives of UniCamp this year. To me, a lot of the needs we are addressing could be traced back to how the education system is failing our students. There is no simple solution, but the mission of our initiative is simple: we want to reignite a genuine love of learning and curiosity in our students. Using the principles of social justice education, we can empower our students by honoring social diversity and advocating for social justice in the educational system and environment.

Bones is a UCLA alumna (’15) and Head Counselor of UniCamp’s Session 4: AcademiCamp (2016). 

Compiled by Viridiana “Chancla” Flores UCLA ’16

Bones will be working with the AcademiCamp initiative as Head Counselor of Session 4 (2016) in her fifth year with UniCamp.

Bones will be working with the AcademiCamp initiative as Head Counselor of Session 4 (2016) in her fifth year with UniCamp.

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Humans of UniCamp: Spearmint

I initially joined UniCamp as a camper and instantly fell in love with the magic that is so specific and unique to camp. Now eight years later, I am coming back to camp as a Head Counselor Assistant for Session 3, The Village Session. I came back as a counselor to be a role model for other people like me because I feel there is a lack of inspiration, and that is a huge motivation for me.

This year, Session 3: Community Empowerment will be partnering with The Village Nation. The Village Nation is a wonderful organization that focuses on supporting African American students to achieve both academically and holistically. Their approach isn’t just to get their kids to test higher or study better. They educate their kids on their heritage, celebrate their culture and provide them with a space to communicate openly about strong members of their community. I couldn’t be more excited to start our training and get up to camp with our kids.

Spearmint is a fourth-year Psychology major at UCLA and a Head Counselor Assistant for Session 3: Community Empowerment (2016).

Compiled by Viridiana “Chancla” Flores.

Spearmint will be working with The Village Nation as a Head Counselor Assistant of Session 3: Community Empowerment (2016) in his eighth year in UniCamp.

Spearmint will be working with The Village Nation as a Head Counselor Assistant of Session 3: Community Empowerment (2016) in his eighth year in UniCamp.

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Humans of UniCamp: Feather

Every time I really start to think about my time as a Woodsey I am overcome by waves of gratitude. UniCamp has acted as so much more than just a student organization for me. It’s given me a family, a reason to keep moving forward and most of all a powerful outlet in which I’ve discovered myself and my passions.

As a second year at UCLA I struggled with depression and came alarmingly close to dropping out of school entirely. The only reason I stayed in college was because of UniCamp – this organization gave me a family, and with that family came resilience to every mental twist and turn I had been experiencing throughout two years of darkness and insecurity.

UniCamp gave me direction.

I applied to UniCamp as a last ditch effort to find something that could give meaning to my life, and the universe threw its most valuable card right in front of me. My world has flipped upside down since that first week at River Glen with Session Pi, 2014. I know it seems like everything we do is for the kids (and don’t get me wrong, that’s 90 percent of it), but everything I’ve experienced these past three years has inspired so much growth in me and so many of the volunteers I’ve worked side by side with that it’s impossible to say that it isn’t a two-way street. We’re never prepared for how much these kids teach us when we’re supposed to be the ones teaching them.

This year I chose to apply to be a Head Counselor Assistant because I needed to give back to the organization that’s given me so much, and it’s incredibly fitting that I’ve been placed at the forefront of Session 2’s initiative: College Readiness, so that I can help in the guidance of Project GRAD Los Angeles’ students who may find themselves in exactly the same place of insecurity and doubt that I inhabited in the earliest years of college. It’s almost impossible to be ready for the myriad of changes a university is capable of throwing at you, but those changes will have much less of an impact if you’re secure with your own existence and aware of the intrinsic qualities that have led you toward the pursuit of higher education. I hope, by sharing our own experiences, we can help lead them toward stronger ties of community and resilience and a greater awareness of mindfulness and self-care so that they have the tools necessary to develop their passions and traverse the tumultuous path toward their biggest and brightest dreams without a flicker of uncertainty.

Once you’ve experienced the Woodsey Magic, you’ll never be the same. Take it from personal experience.

Feather is a fourth-year Psychology major / English minor at UCLA and Head Counselor Assistant for Session 2: College Readiness (2016).

Compiled by Viridiana “Chancla” Flores UCLA ’16.

Feather will be working with Project GRAD Los Angeles as a Head Counselor Assistant of Session 2: College Readiness and Retention (2016) in her third year as a UniCamp student volunteer.

Feather will be working with Project GRAD Los Angeles as a Head Counselor Assistant of Session 2: College Readiness (2016) in her third year as a UniCamp student volunteer.

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Humans of UniCamp: Suki

The summer of 2010 was one that changed the course of my life forever. It was the first summer that I went up to camp, but not in the way that you might think. I was actually just a 16-year-old camper who never thought that, in just five years, she would be running her own week of camp as LSHIP. The girl you see in that picture was initially stubborn, quiet and didn’t really understand the meaning of camp at all. It wasn’t until that first night that I slowly began to understand how magical UniCamp really is. At campfire, my counselor asked my unit to write down all their worries and problems they had back home on a piece of paper. She made us throw them in the fire. It lifted a huge weight off my shoulders and it brought me closer to understanding the message UniCamp wants to send to the kids. There began my love story with this organization. It instantly changed my mentality and I was in a place where I felt safe to express myself. Coming down from the mountain, I felt something change within me and it was something that my family noticed too. I had some sort of glow, and that’s when I realized, it was magic: Woodsey Magic.

It’s real.

Being a part of Session 1: Mental Health (2016), I am more than excited to be working with Project GRAD Los Angeles. The summer of 2011, my second year of camp, I had participated in Project Grad Los Angeles’ summer institution. I know the impact that both of these organizations have on students, and working together I know that we will create a continuum of care. We are shaping our camper’s of today to be the leaders of tomorrow. Being a product of both UniCamp and Project GRAD Los Angeles, I am glad I get the opportunity to work with students who were in the same shoes as I was five years ago.

Kids need the chance to grow, to learn and to express who they really are, and UniCamp is the place for that. Singing songs, playing games and changing lives is definitely more than just a catchy motto, and my story is a testament to that.

Suki is a third-year Linguistics and Psychology student and Head Counselor for Session 1: Mental Health (2016).

Compiled by Viridiana “Chancla” Flores – UCLA ’16

Suki will be working with Project GRAD Los Angeles as Head Counselor of Session 1: Mental Health, combining both organizations she was impacted by as a young student.

Suki will be working with Project GRAD Los Angeles as Head Counselor of Session 1: Mental Health, combining both organizations she was impacted by as a young student.

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Humans of UniCamp: Red

I joined UniCamp when I was 16, 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, 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.

Education, Human Interest

Humans of UniCamp: Fawn

In the summer of 1979, my dad, 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, 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 CrewThe Repair Crew

Interior prior to sandingInterior 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, 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 CrewThe Repair Crew

Interior prior to sandingInterior 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, 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 CrewThe Repair Crew

Interior prior to sandingInterior 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, 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.

News & Info

Water Tower Updates

Water TowerRED ALERT! RED ALERT! MAYDAY!                                Houston, we have a problem!

We have a water issue that threatens our camp season.

The water tower has failed and repairs are needed NOW! 

Without these repairs UniCamp CAN NOT operate.  We have no time.  As it stands, we have to reschedule the first session of the 2014 season, and if we don’t find some help to fund this unbudgeted emergency, other sessions could be in jeopardy.

We need your help and we need it NOW.  

The repairs will cost $36,350.00.  Work can start on Thursday and we’ll be back in operation with enough time to open camp before Session 2, but only with YOUR help and support.  No amount is too big.  Your contribution of any size will help.

Here’s the link to help us fix this water tower and still operate a full season of UCLA UniCamp.

Thank you in advance for your continued support of UCLA UniCamp!

More

News & Info

S.O.S. – UniCamp Needs Your Help!

Dear Woodseys, Alumni, & Supporters,

Thank you for your continued support of UCLA UniCamp. Without your help, this program would not be where it is today. This time last year, we sent out a questionnaire asking for feedback. We had just learned that 20% of our annual support was being redirected to other causes. It was a good time for UniCamp to question how we were addressing our mission. The questionnaire sought feedback on the direction we should take in light of a reduction in foundation support. Some suggested we shrink until we could find other funding sources, others suggested hiring more people to raise funds, but an overwhelming majority of people suggested we fight. Fight, be scrappy, and do whatever was needed to keep UCLA UniCamp as one of the best camps in Los Angeles.

Facing what seemed like an impossible hurdle, not only did we stand up to the challenge; we embraced it whole heartedly and began to see an upside to everything. This was an opportunity to push UniCamp further than it has ever been. It gave us creative license to diversify our contributed support efforts but more importantly, it allowed us to create additional, and/or alter existing program offerings, as long as we didn’t abandon the traditional “UCLA UniCamp” experience. A famous philosopher and former Yankee catcher is quoted as saying:

“If you come to a fork in the road, take it” – Lawrence Peter “Yogi” Berra More

News & Info

Changing Stars

Dear Woodseys, Alumni, & Supporters,

Thank you for your continued support of UCLA UniCamp. Without your help, this program would not be where it is today. This time last year, we sent out a questionnaire asking for feedback. We had just learned that 20% of our annual support was being redirected to other causes. It was a good time for UniCamp to question how we were addressing our mission. The questionnaire sought feedback on the direction we should take in light of a reduction in foundation support. Some suggested we shrink until we could find other funding sources, others suggested hiring more people to raise funds, but an overwhelming majority of people suggested we fight. Fight, be scrappy, and do whatever was needed to keep UCLA UniCamp as one of the best camps in Los Angeles.

Facing what seemed like an impossible hurdle, not only did we stand up to the challenge; we embraced it whole heartedly and began to see an upside to everything. This was an opportunity to push UniCamp further than it has ever been. It gave us creative license to diversify our contributed support efforts but more importantly, it allowed us to create additional, and/or alter existing program offerings, as long as we didn’t abandon the traditional “UCLA UniCamp” experience. A famous philosopher and former Yankee catcher is quoted as saying:

“If you come to a fork in the road, take it” – Lawrence Peter “Yogi” Berra More

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