In honor of National Bosses Day, we sat down with Kaylie and asked the important questions...
Grilled Cheese Gazette (GCG): First things first, have you ever found the teriyaki tree?
Kaylie (K): I’ve found many phantom Teriyaki Trees, but am still on the quest to find the real Teriyaki Tree.
GCG: How did your #SwiftStory begin?
K: My #SwiftStory began when I was 15 years old and volunteered at my first session of Camp Swift. I was immediately hooked, and I haven’t missed a session of Camp Swift since!
GCG: What’s your favorite Camp Swift tradition?
K: My favorite Camp Swift tradition is the flashlight pass we do in cabins on the last night of each session of camp. Campers and counselors sit in a circle and reflect on their time at Camp Swift – they talk about the activities they especially enjoyed and relationships they’re especially grateful to have built. The flashlight pass is an intimate and beautiful culmination to a session filled with new experiences, new friendships, and new opportunities and dreams for the future.
GCG: What’s your most impactful #MissionMoment?
K: My favorite #MissionMoment was the first time I got to see one of my previous campers as a counselor. With the introduction of our Club Swift program in 2010, former campers were – for the first time – able to return to Camp Swift as counselors. Club Swift provides former campers who are now in high school with leadership development training that prepares them to provide the same impactful experiences that they benefited from when they were kids. Getting to experience seeing my former camper now inspiring campers of her own was a true full-circle feeling of happiness and pride in knowing that what we do at Swift truly does make a lifelong impact.
GCG: What’s your favorite part of working for Swift?
K: Besides getting to see first-hand the life changing mentorship experiences we provide, I love that I get to talk to people all day about the organization that truly inspired me to get involved in nonprofit work in the first place! Plus, I get to bring my dog to work, so that’s pretty cool too.
GCG: Would you rather eat grilled cheese for lunch every day until you are 108 or only wear clothes from the Krazy Keppies store?
K: While both of those options sound pretty darn good, I’d say Grilled Cheese because 1. I can’t get enough grilled cheese! and 2. If eating grilled cheese every day is the secret to living to 108 I’ll take it!
Swift Youth Foundation is excited to welcome a new member to the family. This is Niamey, she will be working with Club Swift and Swift After school program as the Program Coordinator. She is serving with the Swift family for the next 10 months as part of her professional/leadership development program, “Public Allies” which is an organization within the Americorps. Public Allies is an organization committed to creating a “just and equitable society and the diverse leadership to sustain it.” Niamey’s main job is to increase Capacity building (process of developing skills and abilities within organizations) within our programs. She will be creating and implementing the curriculum for Club Swift and Swift After School program. We are excited to have her, she will be in the office so please feel free to stop by and give her a Grilled Cheesy welcome! Here’s what Niamey has to say:
Camp was full of fun and exciting activities today planned by our unit heads and special programming director! Oldest unit had an exciting game of capture the flag on the sports field after ‘Golden Broom’ cabin clean up. Two cabins were paired up and then played against the other two oldest cabins. One team wore red pennies and the other wore green pennies to help teams differentiate each other. It was a playful game of two hand touch and the winners made it all the way to the flag and back without getting touched.
Middle unit planned an afternoon of water Olympics! Cabins got in their bathing suits and met on the sports field for 2 hours of water related games! The cabins started out played Drip, Drip, Drop, a version of ‘Duck, duck, goose,’ where the players use a sponge to drip until they find who they want to tag and then they squeeze the sponge out on top of them. Then the campers played a couple water relay games and then ended with a water balloon toss which eventually turned into a water balloon fight.
After dinner, campers headed down to the barn for the Swift Carnival! There were games from mini golf to bowling and a photo booth to a friendship booth. There were a couple performances through the night, one by support staff rapping about camp and another by campers who went to the dance class during camper’s choice and learned a choreographed dance by support staff members, Ellie and Allison.
Campers went back to their cabins and had flashlight pass, this is where campers pass a flashlight around and when the flashlight gets to them they have a chance to share a favorite moment or activity from their time up at camp.
The next morning campers were served a healthy breakfast of yogurt and cereal and then packed up their bags to say goodbye to their cabins. Each camper enjoyed a packed lunch on the bus and were accompanied by a counselor and support staff member to help with their journey back home.
Session 1 Camp Recap
Leaving home can be hard for both the campers and their parents but the amount one gains from the experience of camp is worth more than one may ever know. Campers enjoyed a home cooked meal 3 times a day and slept in cabins with 11 to 14 other people. This week campers learned about Japanese culture while making dessert sushi, they worked on controlling their emotions with stress relieving activities like Play-Doh, they learned team building activities at the ropes course and the Rock Wall, and did science experiences with creating a parachute to keep an egg from breaking! Campers made new friends and became closer with old ones. The values that are taught at Camp Swift can be brought home and used during their everyday lives. Staff and counselors look forward to seeing campers at after school programs and other youth activities the organization puts on throughout the year. To learn more, follow our blog or read more on the about page!
The Grilled Cheese Gazette features blog posts from Swift staff, volunteers, and community members! Contact Us if you're interested in contributing to our blog!