Posts Tagged ‘volunteers’

Happy Volunteer Appreciation Week!

Tuesday, April 23rd, 2013

Needless to say, we couldn’t do what we do without our fantastic volunteers.

Thank you to our over 300 volunteers!

You put the Blue into our Skies.

camp blue skies volunteer thank you

Love,

 The Camp Blue Skies team

If you would like to become part of our Camp Blue Skies family click Volunteer at CampBlueSkies.org.

Tips for How to Follow Through on Your 2012 New Year Resolutions.

Wednesday, January 25th, 2012

Just in case the holiday fueled enthusiasm for your resolution is starting to fade, here are some tips on how to change behavior and help you reach whatever goal you may have for 2012.

What? You never made one, well let’s start there. 

Here is a list of common resolutions to help your positive change juices flowing. We are particularly a fan of the last one on the list.

Now that you have a goal, here is a great list of how to reach it.

Creating change can seem overwhelming. We believe that it is never too late to try new things or develop healthy habits. This is why healthy eating, making new friends and trying new things is an undercurrent at our camps for our adult campers.

Good luck with your resolutions. We’d love to hear your goals and support you along the way!

The Camp Blue Skies Team.

Camp Blue Skies Volunteers: Fun Facts About the Backbone of our Community.

Wednesday, January 11th, 2012

If the campers are the heart, then volunteers are the backbone of Camp Blue Skies.

Volunteers wear many hats while at camp. Within the week, one could find themselves wearing the friend, teacher, counselor, student, cheerleader, rule-follower, walkies-talkie commander, skit director, and logistics coordinator plus many more.

You may be wondering just who jumps into the above roles. Here is a breakdown of some CBS volunteer facts.

Total amount of CBS volunteers so far? 162ish and counting.

Geographical breakdown (camp location and state)

NC Camp - Massachusetts (1), South Dakota (1), North Carolina (73), Georgia (2), Florida (1), New Jersey (3), Illinois (1), Ohio (2), South Carolina (2), Minnesota (2).

ATL Camp- North Carolina (8), Georgia (51), South Carolina (2), Texas (1),  Alabama (15),  Minnesota (1).

Families who have worked together at camp: 12

  • Our NC camps have had members of the Barry, Tinkey, Ingle, Robinson, Cox, Parrish and Shockley families come together.
  • Our Atlanta camp had members of the Barry, Tinkey, Ingle, Robinson, McElheny, Morgan and Stanley families come together.

Couples who have volunteered together: 8

  • NC Camp- The Caudills, Wholbruck’s, Harris’, Holcomb’s, Lindley’s, Eary’s-Wade’s and the Sesler’s in North Carolina.
  • ATL Camp- The Sacco’s.

Volunteers who came with Friends:

  • 3 amazing ladies made coming to camp a girls road trip last October in NC!
  • 1 male volunteer came only because of a friend’s recommendation.
  • 3 of our Director’s fraternity brothers have been CBS regulars.

How many have been connected to our Directors?

  • 43  North Carolina volunteers came as  friends of Dick (or Founder/Director)
  • 24 Atlanta volunteers came as  friends of Trey (of Atlanta Director)

How many have come to more than one CBS session?  9
Age breakdown:

15-30 yrs: 48
31-40 yrs: 29
41-50 yrs: 21
51-60 yrs: 33
61-70 yrs: 27
70-80 yrs: 4 (oldest volunteer is 80!)

Other fun facts:

  • Our Director’s Son’s friendship with a friend back home brought in a fantastic volunteer last October.Facebook is to thank for one of our nurse volunteers
  • 5 NC volunteers were also planning to return but could not due to schedule conflicts and health reasons.
  • Volunteering at Camp Blue Skies has led to employment at the host camps for 2 volunteers so far.
  • Our camp has been an option for the Georgia Southern University’s honors spring break program two years in a row. Last march 29 students came and we expect 19 this upcoming year.
  • Wrigley our favorite 4 legged volunteer will return for another camp this March.
  • Majority of our volunteers do not have a tie (i.e. child, sibling, relative) with our camper population other than volunteer experiences and many come with no experience at all.

It is a fact that we couldn’t do what we do without our amazing volunteers.

Thank you again.

The Blue Skies Team.

 

 

Amazing Blue Skies Camper Thank You Letter

Thursday, November 17th, 2011

Sometimes it is hard to know exactly how it feels to be a Camp Blue Skies camper. Thanks to a caring mom and eloquent camper we feel honored to share this rare window into a camper experience.  Here is a recap of this amazing letter we received last week

Hi, Rebecca –

My son was so enthusiastic about his camp experience that I asked him if he’d like to write a letter about it.  He talked, and I typed as fast as I could.  I figured he’d be able to say a lot more this way than if he tried to have the thoughts and do the writing at the same time.

Please feel free to share it with anybody else you think might want to see it.

My thanks once again to you all.

Parent, NC 2011

 

To the staff of Camp Blue Skies –

I want to thank everybody for a wonderful week.  I really appreciated how much Liz and Rebecca and made us feel comfortable and relaxed and just having a good time.  I really had fun being there and seeing the way it was really a place where people can enjoy nature.  We should definitely take more time to do that.

I liked the cabins a lot.  The bed was really comfortable.  The people who owned the cabins made us feel warm and wanting to help us come back to a beautiful cabin.

The activities were probably the funnest of all.  I loved just going out on the lake and watching the leaves spin around.  I enjoyed the fishing and our fishing sports person who helped us learn to fish better, and I thank him for all his help and his enthusiasm.  I especially enjoyed him showing me how to hold a fish in its mouth and putting it in the water.  That was fun.  I’ve never done that before.  I thought that was very well organized.

I thought the rides we went on like the swing and the zip line was just phenomenal.  I had the pleasure of learning how to take an adventure I’ve never taken before.  I never thought I really could do the zip line.  I was so relaxed but feeling like I was going to fall.  It was fun to be with a counselor, who was very sweet and went on the zip line with meThe counselor and I both love animals and especially cats.  We talked about her dog and the cat that was over at the farm.  All the animals on the farm had different names.  The orange cat I’m always going to remember.  He loved me.  The counselor was there and saw how much the cat welcomed me.  He licked and licked and licked my face and he laid in my arms.  Everybody liked that.

I loved the dude ranch.  I enjoyed watching the horses and learning about their everyday life.  It was really small but it was really fun having just those animals around, and not real big.

I enjoyed the teepee that was there.  We got to walk up the hill and see it.  It looked like what the native American Indians used to live in.  It was painted different colors.  I enjoyed doing the pots up there and putting dirt in the pots and watering the plants.

What also was fun was doing the banner.  I didn’t have much to do on it because there wasn’t a lot of space, but I did put on it the pattern of a river that made it look like nature.  That was really fun, even though nobody could see where it was.

The banjo playing was just amazing.  It was like scenes of being in the West or North Carolina.  We had a campfire inside the cafeteria.  That was probably the funnest.  Everybody was singing camp stuff

Even though I was pushing myself to walk, I enjoyed the hike.  The hike leader helped us know what nature is all about.

The food was good, even though some was camp and some wasn’t, but it had a blend.  That’s what was fun.

One thing that brings tears to my eyes is how much you treat people with disabilities like we’re normal people and it makes it fun to come back and want to do it again.  There’s nobody angry and nobody yelling at you.  It’s just a camp like you’d want to do forever, and then come home and then come back again.  It’s so refreshing to wake up in the morning, even though it’s hard to get out of bed.  It’s refreshing to sit in the cafeteria and everybody mingling together and wanting to wake up in the morning to have fun and get ready to go.  Liz is always eager for everybody to be happy.  She said “Good morning, everybody, did you all sleep well?”  She has a way to make everybody to be happy.

I could say a lot more, but I’m just so happy and so proud that I went.  I never thought I could go back to camp.  I went to a camp in Michigan a long time ago and I didn’t enjoy it.  This was an experience I always wanted.   .

The counselors were really phenomenal.  They were really good people.  Everybody was families together, just blending in with love.  That’s all I see over there, is love.  It’s something I want to do next year. Dick is just phenomenal.  He’s a character.  A good character!  The way he brings out everybody as much as Liz does.  He’s amazing.  I so much want Liz and Dick and Rebecca to come back next year.  The nurses were wonderful.  They were really there for us all.  Jackie and Kit were just tremendous.  Jackie was always checking to see if I was ok.

I hope to see you all next year.

Love,

Camper,  NC 2011

Go Camp Blue Skies!

Volunteer Q&A from our NC 2011 Camp.

Monday, October 31st, 2011

Here is a little window into the volunteer experience from our last camp. Thank you to Mike Harris and Millie Cox  for their time at camp and for taking the time to answer some questions.

Q:What was your favorite memory? 

A: I would have to say my favorite was getting a camper to sing ‘I Can Fly’ to our cabin after lights were out.  It was quite moving, as the campers respected his work, and he took the opportunity very seriously.

A: Seeing Scott do the Zip line. Being asked to dance by one of the campers.
Q:Favorite Camper quote(s)?

A: ‘Ughhhhhhhh’, ‘How tall?’.  And ‘Hey Mike, I will take care of you.  We have to smell good for the ladies.’  And then he sprayed me with his special John Valvartos cologne.

Q:Any surprises? 

A: I was extremely surprised at how close I became to the campers.  Separating at the end of camp was surprisingly hard.

A: Feeling so at ease and comfortable around the campers. One, I had never been to camp in my life. Two, I had never been around adults with developmental disabilities. Three, I had always walked funny and crooked my whole life and felt self-conscious about this. On games day, I got to join a team and do the egg walk and other fun things. I had never had the courage to do this before. I figured that everyone would be staring at me but at Camp Blue Skies, no one cared — and there were others who walked funny like me!


Q: Anything you would do differently?

A: The camp did soooo many things right.  I did offer up a number of suggestions during camp.  I do like the idea of helping make the campers have a higher sense of value via hair cuts, mani and pedicures, etc. 

A: Can’t think of a thing. I think it’s great the way you have it.

Q: Proudest moment?

A: When virtually every cabin member came up to me at one time or another and said things like “Love you Mike.”  Or, “You are a great friend Mike.”  This gave me a feeling of adequately fulfilling my role.

A: One of the campers (who throughout the week, was not having much fun) came over and sat down with me, during free time, outside the cabin and after a few minutes, opened up to me and started a conversation. I feel like I really connected with him. 
Q: One thing that surprised you?

A: I was totally surprised at how functioning most of the campers really were.  It was just great to communicate with them, to hear their honest feelings on many different subjects.

Q: Something you would never change about camp?

A: Somehow you have created a special ‘family feel’ that makes the experience so special.  Never change that.

A: Location. Camp Harrison is THE perfect place.



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