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.
I continued to do camp and applied to be an HC after my year as an HCA because I wanted to give back to camp what it had given me. A shy freshman turned into a Woodsey who finally was able to be himself after training meetings, camp events, and session. Finally I found a place where I could be surrounded by people who were not afraid to be themselves either. I want to keep doing camp because without it, I will feel like a part of my life is missing.
It is hard to explain how camp becomes a part of your life. Some jokingly say that Camp is like a cult and that camp people hang out with camp people only. I would never put a bad connotation on it though. I would say that like-minded people who are willing to try and make a difference in a young person’s life together, in a fun atmosphere, where they can learn about and be themselves, is bound to create passion and a universal bond amongst all involved. I wish I started camp earlier and submitted an application as a Freshman. It is hard to explain and convey the wonder of camp to someone who has not yet done it and who is shy; it is something that just needs to be experienced first hand. The hardest job of today’s world is educating others.
Unicamp is a way to inspire, play games, sing songs, impact lives, and do fun activities. Often overlooked, all of these actions and activities have a huge educational component. As Woodsey’s we are not only educating for social justice and greater opportunity, but also for empowering today’s youth.
750 miles. $10,000. All for UniCamp.
John “Sleepy” Reilly has taken on the challenge of running 750 miles (the length of California) to raise $10,000 for UniCamp. Yes, $10,000 or enough money to send 20 kids to camp, filling 2 cabins.
Cookie Monster: When did you start volunteering for UniCamp?
John: I got involved with UniCamp when I was an undergrad student, back in 1987-1992. Now I’m serving as the Vice President of the Board of Directors.
Cookie Monster: Wow, that’s dedication! What experiences have you had in camp?
John: I was a counselor for 5 different summers, including regular counselor and a floater. I stayed in touch with a lot of people from camp. It really made a big difference in my life, and I grew as a person through UniCamp and contacted me about 5 years ago I was asked if I wanted to join the board of directors.
Now we’re trying to expand camp to make it possible for additional campers to go to camp by getting more cabins and trying to expand the sessions. We’re constantly trying to raise money for UniCamp. This year the board President challenged the board members to come up with other ideas to raise money. There was a beer tasting last year, which raised about $2,000-3,000. We’re all friends affiliated with UniCamp getting together to raise money. Last year we had a silent auction, too.
Cookie Monster: So now you’re trying to run 750 miles in one year?! What brought you to this idea?
John: Well, 750 miles because that’s the length of California. I’m challenging people to sponsor only if I finish all the miles, and all the money will go to UniCamp. People can donate additional dollars per mile. Some people have thrown in side bets for me to run in a superman outfit or Mexican wrestler mask.
So far I have pledges for $3,625, but I’m trying to raise $10,000 so that we can send 20 kids to camp next year. That’s 2 cabins.
Cookie Monster: That sounds great! How much have you already run?
John: I’ve already run 143.25 miles and should be over 160 at the end of the month. 11.3 miles was my longest run. I’ve completed 4 races, including a 10k trail run in Malibu. But the thing is, if I don’t make the goal, then they don’t have to pay anything. I’ve been sick lately, so it’s been hard to get some runs in.
Cookie Monster: Where do you usually run?
John: I do early morning runs by the beach: Redondo, Palos Verdes, Long Beach. I run longer races on the weekends. I might do a half marathon. I don’t have enough time to fully train for a marathon. I’ve never been a great runner, so it makes it a little harder.
Cookie Monster: You’re not a great runner, and you’re choosing to run!? Now that’s real dedication. Well, I only have one more question for you… so why did you do camp?
John: I initially did camp when I first got into UCLA. I was a student and worked at the radio station. I was given an assignment to do an interview about UniCamp, and I didn’t know what it was about. I interviewed one of the counselors and became really interested. So I decided to join, and it was the best thing I have ever done. I always wanted to work with kids, and these are kids who needed guidance.
As a student, I got to know some really wonderful people that were volunteering for a good cause. It was a good way to give back to the community. It was a great experience, it really was. I felt so good about giving back.
Even today, I think about some of the kids I’ve had as a counselor. I tried to stay in touch for a couple years after camp, take them out, and do things with them.
UniCamp was a great experience, great all around.
If you would like to donate to John please contact him at: firstname.lastname@example.org
750 MILES OR BUST: RUNNING FOR UNICAMP
01/01/12: 6 miles (started New Year with a run from Redondo to P. V.)(wt: 208)
01/08/12: 4.5 miles
01/09/12: 2 miles
01/10/12: 2 miles
01/11/12: 2 miles
01/12/12: 1 mile
01/14/12: 4.5 miles (also played 1.5 hrs soccer and did 2 hr P.V. hike)
01/16/12: 5 miles (with Bob Bond, Rossmoor) – reached 1st milestone: 25 miles
01/17/12: 2 miles
01/18/12: 1 mile (on beach in Redondo, saw pod of dolphins doing flips in the air!
01/19/12: 2 miles
01/22/12: 8.5 miles (Redondo to P.V., saw lots of surfers and huge waves) (wt 199)
01/25/12: 1.0 mile (ran with Django and Sophia)
01/26/12: 1.0 mile
01/27/12: 2.0 miles
01/29/12: 6.0 miles –reached 50 miles!
01/30/12: 1.5 miles
01/31/12: 1.5 miles
January total: 53.5 miles
02/04/12: 1.0 mile
02/05/12: 7.0 miles (incl. 6.2 miles for R.B. Superbowl 10k with Michael O’Shea)
02/07/12: 1.5 miles
02/09/12: 5.0 miles
02/11/12: 4.0 miles
02/12/12: 7.0 miles (incl.6.2 miles for Chinatown 10k)
02/13/12: 2.2 miles
02/15/12: 2.8 miles
02/17/12: 2.2 miles (injured lower back)
02/19/12: 3.5 miles (in Big Bear with Jessie and Vivian, with snow on ground)
02/21/12: 1.0 miles (with dogs)
02/22/12: 1.0 miles (with dogs)
02/23/12: 2.0 miles (at beach)
02/25/12: 11.3 miles (longest run of the year! South Redondo – north Manhattan)(passed 100 mile mark!)
02/26/12: 3 miles
02/29/12: 2 miles
February total: 49.5 miles
03/03/2012: 6.2 miles (Malibu trail run with Jesse, Zeth and Rene, one of the hardest, hilliest courses I’ve ever done)
03/04/2012: 3.0 miles
03/06/2012: 1.5 miles
03/08/2012: 1.5 miles
03/10/2012: 6.5 miles
03/12/2012: 2.75 miles
03/18/2012: 3.00 (in San Francisco, Marina Dist., past Palace of Fine Arts to beach at Chrissy Field toward Golden Gate Bridge)
03/19/2012: 1.30 (with dogs)
03/20/2012: 3.00 miles
03/22/2012: 2.50 miles
03/24/2012: 3.0 miles (in the rain)
03/25/2012: 5.75 miles (in the pouring rain, lots of wind, rain past Redondo pier and marina and saw seals, sea lions, and dolphins)
03/27/2012: 3.0 miles (1 mile with dogs!)
03/28/2012: 3.0 miles (at sunset, 1 mile with dogs. Sophia is getting faster!)(That last mile put me at 150 miles, 3/15 done.)
03/29/2012: 3.50 miles (1.5 miles with Bernard Labat)
03/30/2012: 2.50 miles (including hills and sprints, with Bernard)
03/31/2012: 5.00 (Hermosa to Manhatan Beach)
March total: 58.0 miles
04/01/2012: 3.0 miles (got injured playing soccer today)
04/05/2012: 2.5 miles
04/07/2012: 7.5 miles (ran trails in Palos Verdes with Bernard)
04/08/2012: 6.0 miles (Easter Sunday, saw a whale at Torrance Beach, ran P.V. hills)
Grand Total: 181.50 miles
Total Raised: $3,625 plus…