Written by: Activity Leaders — Misty Elledge, Angel Alcala, and Libby Frost
As you might know, an Activity Leader’s job is to enrich the lives of campers with special needs through unique camping, environmental studies, retreat experiences and other programs. But how is it that these young people come to find Camp Aranzazu and choose to spend an entire HOT summer working with special populations? Well, Angel, Misty, and Libby share why they chose Camp Aranzazu over all other potential summer opportunities.
Misty Elledge, 4th Year Activity Leader
“I came to Camp Aranzazu having little experience with special populations. I wasn’t sure how I would feel after my first summer, but I fell in love with Camp Aranzazu’s mission. I didn’t know what I wanted to do as a career and learned that I enjoyed teaching environmental education to kids in a camp setting. Due to COVID and the cancellation of in-person camping in 2020, I was actually given the chance to create a day camp for the Texas Sealife Center. It was a huge fundraising success helping raise almost $10,000 for the center. I would not have been able to create such a successful camp without my two years of experience from Camp Aranzazu.
I could have stayed in Corpus Christi and continued with the day camp or expanded on it this year, but I have grown attached to the relationships with campers at Camp Aranzazu who I haven’t been able to see in two years. WOW! I was so excited to have the opportunity to see them again at camp! I am so, so happy to be able to teach returning campers more of what I’ve learned over the past two years and to help connect new campers to nature and the beauty we see at camp!”
Angel Alcala, 3rd Year Activity Leader
“Coming back to Camp Aranzazu was important to me because of all the magic I have experienced at camp. In the fall, I will be starting my doctorate of Occupational Therapy so I thought what better way to spend my last free summer than to give back and have fun at the place where my passion for caring for children with disabilities and chronic illnesses began. The relationships I have built with Camp Aranzazu’s campers also fueled my decision to come back. After being home for over a year, I am so excited and thrilled to be back at camp. After all, we are Better Together!”
Libby Frost, first-time Activity Leader
“I chose Camp Aranzazu because I heard great things about the camp from previous activity leaders. They all said that I would leave a changed person and I can’t wait! I am completing my internship with Georgia College this summer and will be officially graduated after this summer. When I was making a decision for an internship, I could’ve chosen a less physically demanding and intensive internship out of the Texas heat; however, Camp Aranzazu’s mission to enrich the lives of children and adults with special needs and chronic illnesses by providing unique camping, environmental education, and retreat experiences, sounded like a great fit. I have never lived outside of Georgia, so I really wanted to challenge myself this summer and dig deep to find clarity and peace while I figure out my next steps post-graduation. I am very eager for our first set of campers to get here next week, and show them all that we have learned!” Since sharing her thoughts, Libby jumped straight into our first two camps and is already helping campers figure out the best technique for fishing in our fishing pond! We can’t wait to see what Libby has to say at the end of the summer!