UniCamp has been the defining experience of my entire 4 years at UCLA. This organization is truly dedicated to servicing the underserved youth of LA. Not only does this organization try to help these kids realize their potential, the camp is run in such a fashion that judgment is not passed upon the campers, despite the stereotypes that many of these campers are "troubled." Furthermore, the programs are all outcome based and are meant to teach a lesson. Not only is it a great week to experience nature, but also for the campers to learn about themselves.
UCLA's Unicamp provides underserved children from the inner city an opportunity to see a life outside of their environment. They are part of bonding activities with their peers, are given positive role models and are able to participate in outdoor activities not available to them in their own neighborhoods. The interaction between UCLA students and these children provides a safe zone for them to be vulnerable and talk about their experiences. Unicamp is also an amazing opportunity for UCLA students to volunteer and grow as individuals.
UCLA UniCamp is one of the few unique opportunities that bring UCLA students and alumni of diverse backgrounds and experiences together for one common cause. How else would I have been able to meet and know people outside of my major, my niche, and common interests? When people say the camp is for the kids, they do forget that it is also for the student volunteers. During the weeks of training, programming, and preparation, the volunteers learn qualities about themselves that they might not have been aware of and strength what they do know so that they are prepared to lead the campers up in the mountains. Once you are up at camp and spend a week away from the reality in the city with kids who can learn more about themselves and their abilities in this new environment, by the end of the week, you can see the Woodsey magic happen. The kids, without any previous image attached to them, can surprise you with their insight and challenge you with their behavior. I have to thank UniCamp for all the experiences of being my first summer camp, of being the one avenue allowing me to grow and help others grow. I've met people outside of my 4 years of college who I had an instant connection because of our common link of being past Woodseys. UniCamp really has been a big part of me. This is why each year, even though I am out of college and in the working world, I continue to share my UniCamp stories with anyone I can.
I came to UniCamp was a 11 and it was one of the most amazing experiences for me. I kept coming back every year until I was 16, for me, if it wasn't for UniCamp, I wouldn't have ever thought that I could accomplish anything in my life. As a child who lacked a childhood, UniCamp gave me one for a week every summer. I know that I was not the only kid who felt that way at camp either, after meeting so many kids who came from similar homes, this was our escape and it taught every one of us that we could be whoever we wanted to be.
UCLA Unicamp has definitely changed my life. There are very few experiences I have had so far that have had this effect on me. This organization, which is UCLA's official charity, doesn't only give many kids the opportunity to attend summer camp, but it helps them grow as individuals and learn more about themselves and the world they live in. Also, the volunteers are the most amazing, diverse group of people I have ever met. They have such warm, open hearts and personalities and accept you for who you are. I feel most like myself whenever I am up at camp with these kids and my fellow volunteers. There honestly is no other organization out there like this; Unicamp unites people from all backgrounds and experiences in an effort to inspire them to impact their surrounding community. The kids we work with have so much potential and it is amazing to see how much they grow throughout the course of the week. They learn to respect each other and most importantly, they learn to respect themselves. I've been volunteering with this camp for the past three years and I feel like I learn more and more about myself every time I go. Thanks to camp, I have realized that what I am truly passionate about is working with children, so I plan on joining the Peace Corp. to teach health education after I graduate. UCLA Unicamp has helped me find a family on campus, discover my passion, and learn that one person can make a difference. Unicamp gives me hope that one day, the world will become a better place because we strive to help the kids who attend find the potential they have within themselves to achieve their dreams. My college experience definitely would not have been the same without Unicamp. I will definitely keep working with and support this organization even after I graduate because I love everything about it.
UCLA UniCamp is simply an amazing organization that changes lives. Nothing in my life has helped me grow more than UniCamp. After training for 100 hours, I had the opportunity to volunteer for a week in the San Bernardino Mountains working with youth from the greater Los Angeles area. Interacting with these campers, many of whom opened up about their life experiences, served to broaden my understanding of the world and has inspired me to continue to work with youth in the future. Though UCLA UniCamp has everything a traditional summer camp has--archery, swimming, arts&crafts;--it also has something much greater: the Woodsey Magic. It's hard to explain unless you've spent a week with those campers, but it's life-changing. Each time I go to camp I discover more about myself and others and leave, hopefully, as a slightly better person.
Ever since I started out as a volunteer in UniCamp 5 years ago, every minute has had an impact on my experience. Whether it be learning about behavior management, helping recruit campers, programming for my unit, or cleaning the BIFFY, or what others may call the toilet, UniCamp has really taught me a lot. The volunteers put in well over the 100 hours of training they are required and put in so much effort in ensuring that the campers have a great week at camp. And the campers, they're just amazing! Although people assume that the student volunteers are there to teach the campers; but really, the campers teach us just as much! I wouldn't exchange my experience with UniCamp for everything. It has made me and so many other people, a better person :) Much Woodsey Luv.
Speaking as a past camper and a present volunteer, I absolutely love Unicamp. Unicamp allows under privileged kids to enjoy a week up at camp without the distractions of the city. The volunteers and staff really try to bond with the kids and I am sure that the kids are truly inspired. I know that as camper I was inspired by my counselors and part of that made me want to become a counselor. The kids are able to engage in activities and conversations that would probably not happen in their everyday lives. On top of all, the camp allows the kids to just be kids. Some of the children have very hard city lives and camp gives them a chance to act their age without so much stress. I truly enjoy Unicamp and will continue to support it in anyway I can.
Without a doubt, UniCamp was the formative experience of college, and quite possibly my life. Whether camper or counselor, there is something about this organization and this experience that just brings people together. UCLA UniCamp is a place where people can feel free to be who they truly are and want to be. It is a place where people can learn from themselves and from each other, and it is a place for people to grow in an entirely safe and welcoming environment. UniCamp is a bridge between people and between worlds. It is a place where college students, many of whom have never ventured into the more impoverished areas of Los Angeles, or have never had a conversation with anyone from the "underserved community," can meet and come to see everyone for who they really are, and not as society's archetypes and stereotypes deem them to be. UniCamp breaks down these barriers between people. Most importantly, UniCamp is a place for kids to be kids, and for young adults and adults to rediscover their inner child. It is refreshing, inspiring, renewing, and fun. If nothing else, then it is this last word that makes UniCamp the great organization that it is.
To put it simply, UCLA Unicamp was the best thing that ever happened to me and I was only a volunteer. I never knew you can get so much personal growth and fulfillment from giving back to the community and inspiring kids to reach past their full potential. I distinctly remember one night with a rowdy group of boys, we did an activity that was intended to foster teamwork, communication, and how intentions may be misunderstood. The center of trouble for that group took to the activity immediately and stepped into a positive leadership role. It simply blew me away. Talking to him at the end of the week to see how and if he enjoyed himself, he said, "It was one of the best weeks of my life." To hear this coming from a kid who was kicked out of a few camps earlier in the same summer, made me fully understand what a positive stance this organization has taken and just how important it is to encourage people to follow it's example.