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Profile, Why do I do UniCamp?

Chipmunk- “Why Do I Do Camp?”

When I graduated from elementary school, 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 drew me to UniCamp initially.  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?”
As a high school sophomore I got involved with a youth organization called Young Life that, over the next three years, changed the course of my life.  I spent one of the most memorable weeks of my life at a Young Life summer camp.  And the organization remained constant as a positive guiding force in my life, as did the mentors I met and grew to model myself after.  I know first hand how a youth organization and/or camp experience can impact an adolescent in his/her formative years.  Young teenagers and pre-teens are at a stage in their lives where their minds and conceptions about the world are most malleable and susceptible to outside influence.  Thus, I know my interaction with them and belief in them could potentially leave a lasting impression on them, much like the impression Young Life left on me.  Frankly, I want to leave this world a better place than I found it; and I firmly believe that youth outreach is one of the most direct and effective means of doing so.  I volunteer with Unicamp because my personal goals blend seamlessly with its mission to provide a positive experience and inspire young children in a way that could change the course of their lives.  I do UniCamp because I want to make a difference; and because I know I can.
As camp season began and I saturated myself in the UniCamp experience/culture, I found myself getting more out of UniCamp than I could have ever imagined.  UniCamp was the light of my life throughout my final quarter at UCLA. Never in my life had I grown so close to so many amazing people in so little time.  I relished every minute of the trainings, socials, and retreat that had been planned for us.  I hadn’t even experienced a week at camp yet, and UniCamp had already become the glowing hallmark of the time I spent at UCLA.
And then came camp…  50+ volunteers, 150+ campers, and countless hours spent in preparation for a week that would change everyone who was a part of it.  And as I sit now, reflecting on the week that was, I can’t help but smile.  It stands today as one of the best weeks of my life, and the cherry on top of the banana split sundae otherwise known as my UCLA experience.  I got to know the stories of 17+ kids.  I was able to interact with so many others.  I learned from them, and all of the individual experiences/perspectives they had to offer.  I soaked in the joy and exuberance that so many of them projected.  I witnessed their bravado.  Then, I watched them throw it out the window in exchange for unadulterated silliness.  I was allowed to free my gloriously unrestrained inner child for substantial chunks of time.  And most importantly, I got to help show campers that, despite what they may believe in the present, life isn’t always about being too cool for school…   Sometimes it’s about playing games and singing songs.  Sometimes it’s about being as silly as possible, regardless of what anyone else thinks or says.  Sometimes it’s about stepping up and being a leader, even if you’re uncomfortable with it.  Other times it’s about listening to what other people have to say, even if you feel like there is something you need to share.  Sometimes it’s about family.  Sometimes it’s about friends.  But it’s alwaysabout treating the people around you the way you want to be treated.  It’s about grace and compassion.  Benevolence.  That’s what life is about… Always.
As counselors our primary agent of change is our behavior.  Lead by example first.  All week, we wanted our unit to be a brotherhood based on trust and respect for one another.  We wanted campers to understand/trust that we had their backs.  My co and I did everything we could to communicate that.  And while they all took different paths in warming up to these notions, what was important to usI was that by that final night in the cabin, they were all down to bunk and/or sleep on the floor together; by the end of the week, they had each other’s backs.  Lead by example first…
While we were focused on opening kids’ hearts and minds to us and to one another, they were returning the favor without even knowing it.  Everyone wins… That’s UniCamp for you.

I do camp because it is filled with Woodsey Magic. I do camp because no matter who you are, where you come from, or what you have been through in the past, you have the chance to let it go and choose to be whoever you want to be. I do camp because it gives the opportunity to be silly, goofy, sing camp songs, have weird names, and at the same time achieve major strides in personal growth and leadership development. I do camp because it creates memories that will last a lifetime. I do camp because I recognize the awesomeness in every camper and the potential that is unleashed when they learn to believe in themselves. I do camp because it is awesome.




Why do I do UniCamp?

Otter- “Why Do I Do Camp?”

I do camp for one because I love being up in the mountains. I love the wind in the trees and the stars at night and just being away from the city for a week.

More importantly, I love sharing that experience with campers, many of whom have never been in nature before.  I remember walking my campers to the cabin the first night. When I did a head count, one was missing. I found him behind me, motionless, staring at the stars.  I said that the stars were really beautiful in the mountains and asked if he had ever seen the Milky Way before.  He said he had never seen stars. We stood there a few minutes and then went to the cabin to sleep. Each night after that before we went into the cabin we would look up for a few moments at the sky that we never have a chance to see in Los Angeles.

In short, I do camp because it’s a place to see the stars.



Why do I do UniCamp?

Fiji – “Why Do I Do Camp?”

Camp was something I was approached about as a freshman. My roommate was doing camp and told me to apply. I, like many other UCLA students, was hesitant and did not apply that year because I did not know if I would have the time. I also laughed at him while he was doing a phone interview and had to sing a song. His new name also was interesting to me. The following year when I was approached about Camp, I gave in. I saw how close and how much of a bond the people who were fliering had amongst one another. So, I decided to turn in an application.

After an amazing year as a counselor with boys who I stay in touch with until today, I decided to apply for a larger role in camp and decided to apply for LSHIP. I knew I wanted to be LSHIP the day of my first meeting as a volunteer. I thought that being able to make an impact on 60 volunteers and 200 campers would be amazing. I saw how much fun they had and the magic they created through fun training topics. All for the greater cause of inspiring LA’s underserved youth to be the leaders of tomorrow. More


“Lucky” UniCorps Program Director Interview

Lucky – as interviewed by Nutmeg

Nutmeg: This upcoming year is your fourth year in camp! What experiences have led you to become a PD?

Lucky: My first year I was an alpine specialist and I was in Session 1, and then I was asked to do Summit Gold, so I did two sessions my first year and that was actually really fun! That was the first year they did Beyond the Bell, so I got to do both Classic Camp and Beyond the Bell in the same year, and it was interesting to see the differences between those two different kinds of sessions.

Nutmeg: What were the most notable differences that you noticed? What made an impact on you? 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, 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.

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, 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