Olivia Laterra: Outstanding Teen VOlunteer 2017
Olivia LaTerra is the proud recipient of the Outstanding Teen Volunteer for 2017! We interviewed her to find out more about what she loves about Swift!
Q: How long have you been involved with Swift?
Olivia: I've been involved with Swift for two and a half years (and counting!)
Q: What is your favorite Camp Swift activity?
Olivia: I would have to say cheering before meals and canoeing (I know that's two but I couldn't pick!)
Q: What is your favorite thing to eat at Camp Swift?
Olivia: Well… considering you are what you eat and considering my role as THE Grilled Cheese second session last summer, I would by far say GRILLED CHEESE! It’s my favorite because at Camp Swift, with grilled cheese comes a huge celebration known as “Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup” day.
Q: What is your greatest/most memorable experience with Swift?
Olivia: It was day 3 of camp last summer and my cabin (OGA) was off to the ropes obstacle course. After successfully completing the ropes course we began the trust fall activity. My entire cabin was having a blast until it came time for the last camper to do the trust fall. She was absolutely terrified and excluded herself from the rest of our cabin. I took her to the side and talked her through what was going on and how she was feeling, eventually earning her trust. We talked for five or so minutes until she tentatively nodded that she would try the activity. My entire cabin was cheering her on and the support and genuine care for one another was something I will never forget. When she fell back into our arms and into our trust, it was as if there was nothing in the world that she couldn't conquer.
Q: What has Swift given you that makes giving back to the organization worth your while?
Olivia: Swift has given me the ability to be a leader, the chance to express my compassion, and the ability to do what I love, work with children. I give back because the Swift Youth Foundation has given so much to me. Swift has given me hundreds of memories and stories I will tell to my kids and grand-kids when I encourage them to be teen volunteers at Camp Swift. Swift has taught me so many skills and has allowed me to grow and mature in my everyday life. Because Swift has filled my heart to the brim, I thank YOU Swift for making it so easy to wake up in the morning.
Beatriz Morales #ShareSwift
A Camp Swift flyer at my school is all that it took for me to have thousands of flash backs about my experience as a camper at Camp Swift. I never knew that Camp Swift was going to shape who I am now.
Special thank you to Allison Stachel for contributing this blog post!
I remember the first time I heard the words “Camp Swift” as an eleven year old girl waiting to pick up her brother up after his first summer volunteering. “Camp Swift,” the place where I had the opportunity four years later to be counselor for four different groups. “Camp Swift,” the place where I found my passion for helping economically disadvantaged youth. “Camp Swift” the two words that I say when people ask me why I changed my major to Education to become a teacher at a Title 1 school.
When I was a senior in high school, I dedicated a month of my year towards raising money for the Swift Youth Foundation through the AZ Gives campaign. When I made a fundraising page I was not only raising money to give children a fun and safe summer, but also a fair and equal chance in this world. While receiving help from my friends, family and community, I was able to raise enough money to send three campers to camp. When I returned to camp the following year, I came across three twelve-year-old campers that influenced my life.
Camper 1: He had a huge fear of boats.
When it was our time to canoe he refused to go near the water. I pretended that I was practically a professional canoer when I was younger and that we would go on the boat together and be perfectly fine. Little did this camper know that I had a huge fear of boats and always tried to convince myself out of getting on any kind of boat. After the camper finally agreed to get on the boat, it took only ten minutes into the canoe ride for the camper to thank me for helping him overcome his biggest fear.
Camper 2: He thought he was not strong enough.
When our group activity was on the rock climbing wall most of my campers grew full of excitement. However, for this camper he did not want to try because he thought he could not reach the top. For about a half an hour this camper held onto the wall and chose not to give up. Instead of begging to come down when he thought he hit his limit, the camper kept going and touched the top of the wall. This camper approached the rest of the activities we had with a new braveness that he had never seen before.
Camper 3: He felt as if he was not able to contribute a team as much as most people could.
When we played a large game of Capture the Flag with nearly fifty other people, this camper did not think he would be able to help the team win. He thought that he was not capable enough to be on the offense and steal the flag. However, this camper was able to realize how capable he was because he helped score the winning point. Now this camper knows that he truly serves a purpose in this world.
Three children, that due to the money that I helped raise, were able to receive influential and life changing experiences. Three children that inspired me to want to change lives in an educational environment as my everyday job. Three children amongst a group of ten boys that put aside their pride by showing true happiness when they lost a soccer game to a cabin of girls who played hard achieve their dream of winning. Ten boys among many children that had their lives changed because of the Swift Youth Foundation. Thousands of children that we can now rely on to change the world and turn it into an inclusive and positive one.
To donate and/or get involved in AZ Gives Day, visit AZ Gives!
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