Alumni Profiles “…Through Them Bless The World.”

With Alumni Reunion Weekend coming up in just a week, which all are welcome to, we are looking back at a few Alumni who have moved on from camp, but have definitely kept camp with them, “and through them [have] blessed the world.”

To start, we asked these 4 questions:

1. How are you?! Where are you living these days?

2. What is a favorite moment you can remember about your time at camp?

3. Where’s your life taken you since camp?

4. Are there things you learned at camp that have continued to help you?

Jenna Fisher1148872_10151556665190872_937851728_n

1. Hi there! I’m doing really well, thanks for asking! These days I’m living in Boston, Ma. I share an apartment with two other CLC alums! (Christy Ellington and Barbara Palmer)

2. Favorite moment?! I have to pick just one? There are so many things about camp that I’ve loved remembering over the years as a camper, CIT, counselor, swim teacher, and waterfront director. But one that makes me smile right now was being co-counselors with Mandy Kaul and Judy Shepherd in Nikahu and just being silly and goofy and weird for the amusement of ourselves and the campers. Was there ever a bathing suit worn on top of my clothes and a towel used as a cape? I couldn’t say.

3. After CLC I joined the Peace Corps and lived in Kazakhstan for a number of years teaching English to high school students and in the summer I ran  a summer camp in the mountains there. I traveled around quite a bit and when I came back to the US, I went to grad school for journalism and then made my way to Boston where I started working for The Christian Science Monitor as an editor. Now I’m pushing off on another adventure: freelance writing and reporting.

4. I’m positive that the spirit of adventure (solos, camping with tarps, bushwacking to Rock Run) and family that camp so embodies — along with the three-bite-rule (there used to be a rule that you had to try at least three bites of everything that was served at meal time) —  influenced me big time. Lessons of inclusion that I learned at camp have totally stuck with me.

Emily McKelvey646_43023079652_8898_n

1. Busy, but happy! I am living in New York City.

2. Definitely when the Turtles won in 2008! But I have so many favorite moments; camp is the best!

3. I was living and working in Berkeley, California for two years. While I was there, I realized I wanted to teach elementary school, and I applied to teacher preparation programs. I am now in my second year at Teachers College in New York City. This semester, I am student teaching in a 5th grade class, and I love it! In the spring, I should be able to apply for my teaching license. Next stop: who knows… maybe Vermont?

4. Of course! I feel like everything I learned at camp is directly applicable to my life, especially to teaching. I guess something that has really stuck with me is how little stuff one needs to have fun. Some of my happiest memories from camp are of singing songs, telling stories, playing games, and just enjoying everyone’s company. We didn’t need the fanciest new thing to have fun or connect with each other.

Ian Forber-Pratt548269_10100223786986375_1267301786_n

1. Hi!  I am doing very very well.  It’s so nice to hear from you and have the opportunity to contribute to CLC’s blog.  I am living in Udaipur, Rajasthan, India.  It is a “small” Indian town of more than 600,000 and is a breathtakingly beautiful place to call home.

2. Great question.  I think I have two moments.  One was from when I was a camper in 1990-1991 and then one from when I was boys head counselor in 2008 (I think it was 2008).  Back in the day, when I was a camper, I can remember my first sailing lesson.  After some confident moments I ended up in the middle of the lake.  After some wind the boat turtled and I was left unharmed but VERY embarrassed.  I can remember the Love reflected from all those around me as I was taught how to right the boat and was encouraged to continue sailing instead of waving a white flag of surrender.  That Love is something I can still feel.

And for the time during my head counselor days.  I remember one of my biggest mistakes during my first time of being head counselor.  Again, this story revolves around the Love I received.  During one of the first days the horse staff brings the horses up to the boys camp so the boys can meet the horses and learn basic safety lessons.  Unaware of this tradition I thought I’d surprise the boys with a balloon fight next to the dining hall.  After meeting at the flagpole in the boys camp I then sent the camp running down the hill.  At that moment the horses were coming up the hill and a very tense situation ensued.  Imagine how I felt?  The stable people were clearly angry, and rightly so, their horses were put in a dangerous situation.  Luckily the campers knew nothing of the tension and expressed joy as they inherently do.  I, however, felt like a failure.  But after cooling down from the incident the stable staff was loving and didn’t hold a grudge or make me feel horrible.  It set the tone for the season.  As problems occurred I embraced them, infused them with Love and knew harmony was a law.  As a leader, it meant success.  🙂

3. After camp I received my undergraduate degree in history with a minor in philosophy from Principia College. During my undergraduate time and after I worked in the business field as compensation consultant. But that never seemed enough.  I didn’t feel like I was really reflecting God in my work.  So eventually I switched careers to social work.  I received my Masters in Social Work from Washington University in Saint Louis, MO.

After the career shift I was able to do two life changing things.  The first was teaching Sunday School.  I taught a high school class at Lafayette Square Society in Saint Louis.  It changed the way I pray, the way I express God and the way I Love.  To this day, I am grateful for every moment of teaching.

The second was the discovery of foster care.  As I thought through how to bless the world, I knew that two things had been constants in my life: my wish to give back to India and my wish to help children.  I’ll quickly explain a little more.  I am adopted from India and was raised in the US.  For my time in the US and my birth in India, I am grateful.  But I did feel like I wanted to honor my birth country as well as the place and family that raised, nurtured and protected me.  So, back to the discover of foster care.  In 2007 I learned about foster care as a system of child protection that honored the family setting.  I knew I could get on board with the vision of “Every Child’s Right to Family”.  So I did a google search, “Foster Care AND India” and no search returns came back.  Then and there I decided to dedicate my life to building a foster care system in India.  After working as a foster care case manager in Saint Louis for some years, in 2011, I arrived in India with three bags of clothes and the business plan for a Foster Care Organization.  I now am the President & Founder of Foster Care India, a not for profit organization in Rajasthan, India whose vision is “Every Child’s Right to Family”.

4. Everything I learned from camp continues to help me today.  The embracing Love I felt at camp allows me to know that if my decision is God lead that I can not fail.  It also picks me up on difficult days of fighting bureaucracy and corruptions.

Most of all, my camp experience gives me the spiritual confidence to approach every day as a gift.  At camp I learned that we have all the tools we need to overcome any obstacle and to be proud that we are naturally and un-apologetically children of God.

These are just a few of more to come this year! Please keep checking and reading up on these and the many other wonderful Alumni that have made this camp so great. And thanks to all the rest of our Alumni for blessing the world!

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