Wednesday, February 22, 2012

We Love Our Summer Staff, Part 2: Taylor & Gemma

It's been a week, and you guys have asked for more staff bios— so here's two ladies you will remember from last summer and the summer before! Both of these young women plan on being Ad Staff members in 2012, and we are lucky to have them back again. So, without further ado, here's Taylor and Gemma!

Taylor, age 20,  studying in San Marcos, TX
University/Job: Texas State University at San Marcos, Site Director for YMCA of Austin Afterschool
State: Texas
Noteworthy skills/hobbies/talents: Singing, improv, planning & programming
Exciting things you've done this year: Moved into my first apartment!
Favorite memory of CFA 2011: All of my awesome cabins and Raggers!
Place on camp you could always be found last year: Ragger's Point
Favorite core value: Honesty
Favorite snack: Neopolitan ice cream sandwich
Must have items for working at summer camp: Chacos, sunglasses, CamelBak, sunscreen, deodorant and bobby pins!
Advice you'd give to counselors: Sleep on your 24s!
Advice you'd give to counselors: Stick it out and become and LIT, CIT and counselor!
Looking forward to: Being on Ad Staff!!!!
Quote to live by: "Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference."

Gemma, age 24, from England
University attending (and current job): Studying Access to Higher Education at Warwickshire College and working as a Gym Instructor
Country I'm living in: ENGLAND!!! :)
Hobbies, skills, talents: Random skill=Touching my nose with my tongue, Hobby=LOVE working out in the gym and Talent=Being amused by the simplest things...EVER
What exciting things have I done in the past year? Been offered a place on a degree to study Sport & Fitness Management starting on my return from Texas 2012 AND being asked to be a bridesmaid with my sister at my Mum's wedding in May 
Favourite memory from CFA 2011? Leaving the humming bird feeder full of yummy food on the tree outside the cabins and getting super excited with the campers when we spotted one out there (and giving the humming birds we saw their own names...can't remember the names now though)
Place I could most often be found? In the crows nest out at high ropes (once I'd got over the height issue), ORRR....making loads of lanyards down at the arts and craft shed
Favourite core value: Caring, I think that all of the core values can fit into this one, a kind word, thought or action can have a huge impact on somebody or in a situation.
Favourite snack time ice-cream: Ice cream sandwich!!!
Must have items when working at summer camp: Got to be a smile, a camera, and a waer bottle!
Advice I'd give to other counselors: Remember the reason that you are there, be the best that you can be and be somebody that you yourself would be proud to know...and enjoy every second of it - even when you are tired!!! (summer camp goes far too quickly but the memories last forever!!!) :)
Advice I'd give to the summer campers: Don't be afraid to be true to yourself, make the most of the time that you are at camp because all of the friends that you make will be like family, and the experiences and memories that come with camp will last long after you're heading back home.
What I'm looking forward to about this summer: Meeting new and old friends, having a great time with all of the campers and attempting to break my previous photo taking record!
Quote to live by: Be the change that you want to see in the world. —Ghandi

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

A Note from Angel

The following is a message sent from our 2011 Male Village Leader, Angel, to our new Summer Program Director. Bif had asked his returning staff members what he needed to know about CFA. Below is Angel's response.

Many of you know Angel and have gotten to appreciate his sage words of advice before. If you haven't, we suspect you will be surprised and moved by his eloquence.

Angel, at the BB Range. Summer 2011.

... I've never worked at any other camps so I dont really know if it differs but this place is pretty special. It has a soul. You can see it in the kids faces, hear it their laughter, or hear it at night in the winds rustling the treetops around campfire.
It is honestly a place of healing. The world outside may have told the kids and even members of staff that they weren't good enough or left them broken and hurt. But Camp Flaming Arrow aims to be the one place where someone can always help you regain your confidence or find it anew. It has this ability, a sort of magnetism that retains the good and repels the bad.
It may seem that I'm beating around the bush as to what you should be looking forward to, but I cant think of just one thing.
For some people it may be hard to understand something which they have never, seen, touched, heard, experienced so this may not make sense to them or even seem real but once you experience it and feel the spirit of this place you are faced with the unrelenting reality that you have stumbled upon a sanctuary for the willing, the broken, the sad, the happy, the talkative and everyone in between.
So in an attempt to encapsulate this thought into answer I should say that you should look forward to the experience that you'll be a part of for so many kids and staff.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

We Love Our Summer Staff, Part 1: Donncha & Sarah

Howdy, howdy, CFA friends & families. Us professional staff members are enjoying the unseasonable lack of cold weather here in the Hill Country. (Bill is biking and running hundreds of miles— literally! Allison is planning her garden and tending to her chickens. Stephanie is out walking with her dogs. Becky is beginning to clean up the camp trails for the Rock-Y 5K next month. Bif is getting to know his new Texas home. And me? I'm riding, of course!) But we are also spending a lot of time planning and preparing for this upcoming summer— and that means talking with new and former staff members to create eight great weeks at YMCA Camp Flaming Arrow

So today starts the first in a series of posts focusing on former camp staff who are making plans to come back for Summer 2012. These guys could potentially be your counselors and ad staff in 2012!

Donncha, age 19, from Ireland
University attending: Limerick I.T - studying Business with Sports Management
Noteworthy Hobbies, Skills, or Talents: Love to play hurling and soccer and discovering new music. 
What exciting thing(s) have you done this past year that you want campers to know about? I have completed one of my ragger goals and I went to England over the Christmas to visit some of the amazing friends I made at camp during the summer.
Favorite memory from CFA 2011: The amazing things that happen in Carabineer club where the campers conquer their fears. 
Place on camp where you could most often be found last summer: Definitely High Ropes.
Favorite Core Value: Respect because everyone loves when their thoughts are listened to and appreciated.
Favorite snack time ice cream: Has to be the Ice-cream sandwich.
Must-have items while working summer camp: A water bottle, sun cream (especially for me) and a HUGE smile on your face every day.
Advice you'd give to other counselors: Treat everyone the way you would like to be treated and reflect on each and every good moment over the summer because time flies when you are having a great time.
Advice you'd give to summer campers: Arrive at camp with a smile on your face, lots of energy and be ready to have lots of fun because you are there for an awesome time that flies by.
What you're looking forward to most about this upcoming summer: Has to be renewing old friendships and gaining new ones and seeing how each and every camper has grown into a better person because of their experiences at camp.
Quote to live by: Be the best you can be!

Sarah, age 20, living in Missouri

University attending & job: University of Missouri. I teach hip hop classes and I'm Mizzou's American Eagle Campus Rep 
Noteworthy Hobbies, Skills, or Talents: Been dancing since I was 4.
What exciting thing(s) have you done this past year that you want campers to know about? I have been working with organizations such as Mizzou Relay for Life and Mizzou for Movember to raise money for cancer research and cancer awareness. 
Favorite memory from CFA 2010: Since I wasn't able to make it back last year I'm using CFA 2010. My favorite memory has to be my first trip up to Mount Vesper. Seeing that site made me realize how lucky I was to get to spend the summer at CFA. 
Place on camp where you could most often be found: I tended to be down by the water activities as much as possible. 
Favorite core value: Caring 
Favorite snack time ice cream: Drumsticks 
Must-have items while working summer camp: Water bottle 
Advice you'd give to other counselors: Even when we are tired and its been a long day, remember the reason we are there: to make the kids have a great time. 
Advice you'd give to summer campers: Be willing to step out of your comfort zone. The people you will meet here will be long term friends. 
What you're looking forward to most about this upcoming summer: Getting to see old friends and campers from 2010. I miss everything about camp right now! 
Quote to live by: Life's too short to be anything but happy.