Swift Superheroes Are Everywhere!
It takes a unique type of "grown up" to take on the task of becoming a Swift Superhero, and Evan White is one of those unique grown ups!
Each Summer, Swift welcomes over 300 elementary school youth to the "best week of their life" through the Camp Swift program. It is here that the world truly becomes a different place entirely! Teen counselors take a week out of their summer vacation to cultivate meaningful mentor relationships with school age campers, grown adults dress up in hilarious costumes to explain camp rules, and there's even a "wonder dog" roaming camp!? It is here that one quickly learns that with everything Swift does- fun is just the start!
Swift is fortunate to have almost 40 years of experience partnering with teens, just like Evan, to create the path from present to potential through peer mentor relationships.
Since it's beginning in 1980, Swift has developed as an organization, now offering more year-round programming including out-of-school programs for elementary, middle, and high school youth.
Teen leadership development programs such as Club Swift, Club Swift Jr., and Team Swift aim to build on the skills learned at Camp Swift. These leadership skills can be utilized by teens throughout their school careers and grow with them as they graduate onto the next step towards their full potential.
Many adults that become Swift Alumni by maturing beyond the participant age-range, still choose to give of their time, talents, and treasure to Swift because of how deeply passionate they are about helping youth fulfill their potential. Evan explains, "As I've progressed in my career, I still feel it is important to support and volunteer with the Swift Youth Foundation."
Now, years after he was a teen counselor, Evan still enjoys returning to Camp Swift and other year-round Swift programs to volunteer. In addition to his volunteer service, Evan is a generous financial supporter of Swift who actively advocates on behalf of the organization.
Camp Swift 2018 celebrated the "superheroes" theme this summer and is grateful for grown up superheroes like Evan White who support Swift (especially when that includes dressing up as TanMan and promoting sun safety)!
Thank you to all of our dedicated volunteers, generous donors, and unbridled supporters of Swift. You are our superheroes!
The end of Camp Swift-Session 2 started with the last tasty meal at camp that will help fuel our camper's superpowers to total team and clean camp one last time. Once done cleaning their area, campers and counselors headed back up to their cabins to finish packing and getting ready for the exciting bus ride home.
All throughout the "best week ever", campers and counselors focused on so many of their different superhero skills like problem-solving and character building. Through all the programs that fill up their day, each cabin was able to learn new skills and improve upon old ones, but all while having fun.
From canoeing to ropes, campers learned how to better work as a team by utilizing newly made friendships. Especially through Shaboogie, the campers sought out opportunities to find their own superhero personality traits, so they can better grow into the amazing superhero that they want to be in the future.
One of the last activities that both campers and counselors participated in were the Camp Swift surveys. These surveys measure the influence of Camp Swift in key areas for both campers and counselors. For the campers, Swift surveys teamwork, perceived competence, responsibility, problem-solving confidence, and friendship skills. For the counselors, Swift surveys problem-solving confidence, family citizenship behavior, friendship skills, interest in exploration, teamwork, and responsibility. All of these key focus areas are life skills that can begin at Camp Swift but are also continually cultivated throughout the year through positive programs like Swift After School and Swift Saturday. In addition to continually developing our superhero powers we focused on at Camp Swift, these out-of-school programs are a great way to stay connected to all of our fellow superheroes.
To learn more about Swift Youth Foundation, click here.
To see more great photos and the slideshow from Session 2,
visit our Camp Swift 2018 page.
This edition of the Grilled Cheese Gazette was brought to you by Teanna Pilkinton, our summer intern who was a former camper who has returned for the past three years as a counselor for Camp Swift. Teanna also participates throughout the year by further developing her leadership skills through the Team Swift program. Teanna enjoys connecting with her campers all year during Swift After School and Swift Saturdays.
After breakfast, campers went back to their cabin to prepare for the daily competition of Golden Broom. The Golden Broom program is a positive method to encourage camper responsibility over their personal space and belongings. The Golden Broom winners receive an extra special otter pop surprise after lunch!
For lunch we were joined by Camp Swift's favorite superheroes, Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup! Grilled Cheese brought the power of calcium and protein to the table while Tomato Soup shared the power of Vitamin C. Our superheroes welcomed the campers to lunch in cheer while the whole camp joined in colors of orange and red. After lunch, cabins went off to rest hour and youngest girls and middle boys went to the lake for canoeing. Canoeing isn’t the only opportunity campers have that they might not get in the city. Oldest girls had the chance to head up to the ropes course for team building activities such as a trust fall and walking across a tightrope.
Our afternoon was just as action-packed as our morning! The Oldest Unit got to play GaGa, a classic Camp Swift game. They also got the chance to conquer the rock wall, improving their perceived competence and belief that they can accomplish any task they set their mind to. The Middle Unit got to participate in tons of sports activities. During these activities, they showed responsibility by creating rules for their games and holding themselves accountable to these rules. They also got to work together as a team and had a great time. The Youngest Unit had cabin time, where they got to choose their own activity to participate in. Cabin time helps build friendship skills and campers get to practice their independence as they make choices about what activities they want to participate in.
Our last full day at Camp Swift concluded with a nutritious family-style dinner. The support staff spent the afternoon turning the lodge into Camp Swift superhero city with super hero decorations and staff in superhero costumes serving dinner. After dinner, the entire barn was transformed into a super hero carnival. Campers were able to play games and dance to music while enjoying their last evening at camp. We ended the evening with a beautiful slideshow which highlighted each cabin’s amazing memories at Camp Swift!
Thank you to Hillary Lorsch, Support Staff extraordinaire and featured author of this "fresh-off-the-grill" Grilled Cheese Gazette blog post!
The Youngest Unit boys explored Lake Watson in canoes while the youngest girls continued to utilize their friendship skills while playing in the pool. They played games such as Red Light, Green Light, Sharks and Minnows and Torpedo. The Middle Unit developed confidence in their problem solving skills in Science where they built a device to move a ping pong ball from one container to another without using their hands. The Oldest Unit built their perceived competence or belief that “I can succeed,” by climbing one of our 6 rock walls. Even though some of the rock walls were difficult, each camper cheered on their cabin mates and many campers were able to ring the bell to signal that they had climbed the entire wall. Right before lunch, the campers had Camper’s Choice, where they made independent decisions and choose whether they wanted to climb the rock wall, create art projects, play tennis, or practice mindfulness via yoga.
For lunch, the campers enjoyed a wonderful meal of pizza, salad and fruit. After lunch, the campers and counselors took responsibility for their own health by taking naps. The Youngest Unit had the chance to cook superhero smoothies with superfoods and practiced working as a team on the ropes course, where they completed trust falls and used creative problem solving skills to accomplish a collective goal. The Middle Unit created their own superheroes in Shaboogie, where they learned what sort of traits superheroes have and how we can use those same traits in our own lives. The Oldest Unit spent the afternoon bonding as an entire unit and participating in Water Olympics! The Water Olympics consisted of a water balloon toss, hole in the bucket relay, and drip-drip-wet. The Oldest Unit had an amazing time.
Did you know that each unit at camp (oldest, middle and youngest) has a Unit Head? These adult volunteers are support staff that apply to take on special responsibilities during Camp Swift to help ensure a great experience for our campers and counselors.
We ended a jam-packed day with a wonderful dinner. The oldest program got to participate in “The Riddler” night program where they saved dessert by using their friendship skills and working together as a team. All in all, Day 3 was a wonderful day at Camp Swift! Get ready for another amazing day tomorrow as we gear up for Grilled Cheese Day as well as the last full day of camp!
Traveling all the way from Nevada to be a part of the magic of Camp Swift, our guest blogger is a long-time Swift supporter and volunteer who L.O.V.E.S. grilled cheese! Thank you to Grant Frailich for writing this creative look into the first day of Camp Swift.
Today was the first full day of camp and we are buzzing with excitement! For breakfast, the campers enjoyed fluffy scrambled eggs, crispy bacon, and scrumptious seasoned potatoes. Following breakfast, campers returned to their cabins to get ready for their first Golden Broom of the session. Golden Broom is a program that focuses on collaboration, responsibility, and goal-setting, where cabins compete for the Golden Broom. This session, Golden Broom is led by our stellar staff members, with a unique superhero twist. Cabins who win the Golden Broom beam with pride around camp for having the cleanest cabin and keeping track of their belongings at camp.
This morning, cabins from the Oldest Unit went canoeing, learning basic paddling skills and hiking together as a cabin at a local lake in Prescott. Other cabins on camp participated in a variety of traditional camp programming favorites such as ropes course, art, swimming, and rock wall, while also having the opportunity to try a few Camp Swift originals like frames, cooking, and Shaboogie. One of Camp Swift’s favorite programs, Shaboogie, teaches campers about the superpowers that are already inside of them. Each camper creates their own personal superhero, showing campers how the superpowers they already have can help them achieve their goals in life. Often labeled as one of Swift’s most meaningful programs, Shaboogie encourages campers to set goals following camp regarding their own personal lives.
For lunch, Camp Swift enjoyed made from scratch pizza and the delicious salad bar. While campers had rest hour to prepare for an afternoon of fun, staff members organized afternoon activities such as messy paint twister and human battleship. One of the most fun and engaging activities at camp for many of our campers is the rock wall. With five total rock walls ranging in difficulty, campers receive a harness and helmet, learning commands before they climb to ensure safety. The rock wall is seen as one of the most fun places at camp and helps campers build stronger relationships with their cabins while also helping to improve their perceived competence skills.
The Youngest unit’s program is called the Riddler. A superhero themed program, the Riddler builds teamwork skills, as well as problem solving skills. The campers complete a series of riddles to save dessert from being taken by the Riddler. The Oldest unit’s program is called Infinity Stones, in which staff members become Avengers and campers must work together to retrieve stones that represent the core values of Swift. The campers then use their own superpowers to help collect the stones. As the day wraps up, we are so excited for what is to come tomorrow!
Thank you to guest author, Matt Wall, for this fantastic day two recap! Matt has been volunteering with the Swift Youth Foundation for nine summers and loves providing a helpful hand around Camp Swift.
The Grilled Cheese Gazette features blog posts from Swift staff, volunteers, and community members! Contact Us if you're interested in contributing to our blog!
Swift Youth Foundation