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Amanda, Amelia, and Carleigh are dressed in different types of yellow costumes and clothing with yellow props to pull together a monochromatic portrait. Amanda makes a silly face next to a smiling camper covered in paint. Amelia smiling along waterfront with camper while waiting for sailing. Carleigh smiles with two campers at Camp Aranzazu. Amanda smiles with one of the Nature Hut rats on her shoulder Carleigh smiles with camper from Camp CC Sol Amelia smiles with other camp staff and campers

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    April 05, 2021

    An Ode to our Programming Team

    Written by: Bianca Hernandez, Development Associate

    I’ve only worked for Camp Aranzazu for three years, but I can say with full confidence that our program team helps us stand out among other camps that serve campers with special needs or chronic illnesses. As the ACA marketing director reminded us this spring, our staff is our “special sauce.” Our program team consists of two certified recreational therapists serving as our camp director and assistant camp director and one program manager with several years of experience in special education. Our fearless programming trio including Amelia Haslam Smith, Amanda Praet, and Carleigh Mitchell give life and purpose to every single activity our campers are exposed to at Camp Aranzazu. AND they train an amazing team of young people to facilitate activities and support all the campers who come through the camp gates.

    Amelia and Amanda are both certified therapeutic recreation specialists. And if you’re like me (before I started at camp), a certified therapeutic recreation specialist sounds fantastic — but, you might be wondering what exactly that means and why recreational therapy is important to Camp Aranzazu. As described by the National Council for Therapeutic Recreation Certification, “[r]ecreational therapy, also known as therapeutic recreation, is a systematic process that utilizes recreation and other activity-based interventions to address the assessed needs of individuals with illnesses and/or disabling conditions, as a means to psychological and physical health, recovery, and well-being. The purpose of the RT process is to improve or maintain physical, cognitive, social, emotional and spiritual functioning in order to facilitate full participation in life.” (You can find more information about CTRS at https://www.nctrc.org/) By combining their passions for special populations and therapeutic recreation, Amelia and Amanda are able to provide a unique form of therapy for our campers that cannot be replicated in a hospital, clinic, or school environment.

    Carleigh, our program manager, discovered her passion for working with special populations while working at Camp Aranzazu as an Activity Leader during the summers of 2016 and 2017. After graduating from Texas A&M University Corpus Christi in August 2017 with a B.S. in Kinesiology, Carleigh coached multiple Special Olympics teams and worked for Corpus Christi ISD as an Adapted Physical Education Para Educator. Carleigh joined our team right before our summer camping session in 2019 and has helped Camp Aranzazu continue to grow and serve more campers each year — she even puts together her own partner camp with a group of students in Corpus Christi ISD’s special education department!

    As trusted and beloved leaders at Camp Aranzazu, Amelia, Amanda, and Carleigh each bring their own personal love for the program and our campers into everything they do at camp. Each of them strive to ensure campers feel loved, accepted, and valued from the moment they make their way through our gates. Camp Aranzazu just wouldn’t be the same without these three caring and talented women!

     

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    In Other News

    Summer camp volunteer pictured smiling with camper.

    Monday, March 29, 2021

    While our staff understands the work we do and the need for our unique form of therapeutic recreation, our families and partners are the people who witness the impact of camp first hand for children and adults with special needs and chronic illnesses.

    read more
    Three Camp Aranzazu activity leaders transporting supplies in golf cart.
Photo by: Beyond Memory Photography

    Monday, March 15, 2021

    Every year, our programming team seeks 20 college aged individuals with varying skill sets to work as Activity Leaders from mid-May to mid-August. If you’re wondering whether or not you might be a good fit for the position or wanting to learn more about the role, just keep reading!

    read more
    A group of more than 10 activity leaders sing and dance in the background for a camper singing at a MDA Camp's talent show.

    Monday, March 22, 2021

    I’m proud of all our team has to offer and want to share the benefits of being an activity leader at Camp Aranzazu with you!

    read more

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    We welcome your help, whether it's once a week or once a year. Below is a list of volunteer opportunities that are typically available. If you are interested in volunteering, please download the volunteer application and return to Bianca Hernandez at bhernandez@camparanzazu.org. Thank you for your interest!


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    Activity Leader Summer 2019 Job Opportunity​​

    Every year, Camp Aranzazu hires roughly 20 college aged individuals with varying skill sets to work as Activity Leaders from mid-May to mid-August. Activity Leaders have the fun and impactful job of enriching the lives of our campers with special needs through unique camping, environmental studies and retreat experiences.

    Activity Leaders facilitate a variety of activities including, but not limited to arts and crafts, archery, high and low challenge courses, sports and games, kayaking, stand up paddle boarding, fishing, sailing, swimming, nature sessions and more!

    Benefits of this paid position include room and board and the potential to satisfy fieldwork and internship requirements in various fields of study. The buttons below include the additional documentation you will need to apply for the Activity Leader position. Email your completed application, resume and two unique and completed reference forms to our Camp Director, Amelia Haslam, and prepare for the summer camp experience of a lifetime!

    If you have any questions, contact our Camp Director, Amelia Haslam, at ahaslam@camparanzazu.org.

    Job Description Application Reference Form


    Part-Time Receptionist

    Are you looking for a part-time job opportunity that allows you to be surrounded by nature in a supportive work environment? Camp Aranzazu currently has an opening for a part-time receptionist position on our staff. This opportunity will allow you to support our mission of enriching the lives of children and adults with special needs and chronic illnesses. To learn more about the position, click the job description below. 

    The Receptionist is responsible for overseeing functions related to the front office. The Receptionist also assists with special projects and provides some administrative support for all staff. If you are interested in the position and have any questions, please contact Lillian Anfosso, our Finance and Administative Director at lanfosso@camparanzazu.org. 

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    Sailing Supervisor

    Imagine a position that allows you to work with campers each day and have a beautiful view of Copano Bay along the Texas Gulf Coast.

    Camp Aranzazu seeks someone with strong sailing experience to supervise our summer sailing program from mid-May through August 2019. The Sailing Supervisor will ensure that Camp Aranzazu provides a safe environment for children with special medical, physical, emotional, social or financial needs to experience sailing. Camp sessions include day camp sessions, as well as residential sessions that last from one to six nights. If you have any questions, contact our Camp Director, Amelia Haslam, at ahaslam@camparanzazu.org.

    Make sure to check out the job description below. To apply, email your resume to Amelia Haslam. 


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    Summer Art Instructor

    Do you have a passion for providing fine arts education and working with a committed staff of people dedicated to enriching the lives of children and adults with special needs and chronic illnesses?

    Camp Aranzazu seeks someone with art teaching experience to supervise our summer fine arts program from mid-May through mid-August 2019. The Art Instructor will ensure that Camp Aranzazu provides an intentional, expressive, and safe environment for children with special medical, physical, emotional, and/or social needs to create and experience fine arts. Camp session include day camp sessions, as well as residential sessions that last from one to six nights. If you have any questions, contact our Camp Director, Amelia Haslam, at ahaslam@camparanzazu.org.

    Make sure to check out the job description below. To apply, email your resume to Amelia Haslam. 

    Job Description