We continue with our “Why I Do UniCamp” series as the last week of volunteer recruitment begins. In this article, Vision focuses on her own personal journey with UniCamp, and how it impacted her in ways she never expected…

When I walked into my first ever Unicamp meeting, I was greeted by a pretty, Asian girl with a beautiful smile. She shook my hand and introduced herself to me as “Evi.” “Evi?” I thought, “That sure is a weird name.” Then, I met Twinkle Toes, Obey, Mumble, and Raydio.  The LSHIP members’ devotion to the UniCamp cause inspired me and being a part of UniCamp has taught me a lot about what it takes to inspire oneself.

I learned a lot about life through my experiences with UniCamp. What I had previously believed to be true about people had become greatly questionable. UniCamp is comprised of some of the most amazing, life-loving, and inspiring groups of people I have ever met. The bonding us Woodseys experienced during training never felt forced or uncomfortable.  Despite their personal struggles, the volunteers of UniCamp step outside of their own lives, inspire others, and give back to their communities. Woodseys see the bigger picture: the impact of kindness.  

I had previously believed that people have very little power to inspire change and growth. Just as UniCamp inspired a great deal of change in me, I now know that I have power greater than I ever believed.  The same values of empowerment are instilled in the campers of UniCamp. That empowerment is the Woodsey magic.

Session 7’s LSHIP consisted of people from different walks of life that gathered together for a common cause, a cause to inspire kids that don’t know how powerful they truly are. A common will to educate kids about the possibilities of life. A common will to tell kids that anything is possible.And the kids believe it.  Because it’s true. I met a young girl that I saw a lot of my past self in.  She started off as an emotionally disconnected camper, closed off from the excitement of camp and unperceptive to the UniCamp counselors’ bubbling personalities. She had a sorrowful look on her face, the lines of the hardships of her life almost permanently drawn into her face.

She wasn’t talkative at the beginning of the week, but by the end of the week at UniCamp, this little girl was transformed.  She was smiling, laughing, running around with the campers, dancing, and having a great time. She had broken out of her shell. It was like she was finally free. That is the goal of UniCamp: to free the campers, to show them all the happiness and opportunities out there in the world. It was not just the campers’ creativity, artistic inclinations, proclivity for science, or intellectual curiosity that amazed me most. It was their optimism and hope.

In the midst of night in a cabin on the camp grounds, a few 12-year-old boys talked to me about how they attended weekend programs taught by high school teachers at the California Science Center. These programs inspire scientific thinking and a thirst for scientific knowledge in young students. These young boys informed me of profound aspects of theoretical Physics that I had never even known myself. A group of campers shared with me their artwork, ranging from miniature sculptures out of wire to comic strips to sketches. Other campers shared their school assignments and insecurities about their capabilities to excel in school, as well as to excel in life.

UniCamp was a place where the campers felt safe. A place where “you can’t” or “you won’t” does not exist. UniCamp is a place where campers can thrive. The volunteers of UniCamp are just so accepting. Nonjudgmental. Kind. Caring.

Qualities that physicians, lawyers, teachers, administrators, etc. should have more of.

Qualities that students should have more of. Qualities that the world should have more of.

Qualities that campers might end up having more of.

I don’t know where my fellow volunteers will end up in the future, but I know for a fact that they will make the world a better place. They’ve already started, by volunteering through UniCamp.