As the sun came up this morning, Camp Swift Session 2 officially started to come to an end. Our final morning on camp was bittersweet with many laughs, hugs, tears, and loving goodbyes.
This week was jam packed with fun activities that taught team building, creativity, how to set attainable goals, the importance of taking the steps to help us attain our goals in life, like attending college, and more. After the campers ate their last delicious meal of from-scratch french toast and scrambled eggs the campers had the opportunity to tell us about their experience at Camp Swift.
Even though the campers are leaving camp today, each one will take away valuable lessons and friendships. In college, students must make important decisions, test their skills and creativity, solve challenges, and even work together to learn and gain a degree to help them pursue their dreams. The campers did just this through programs at Swift University, and their hard work paid off at the Swift Graduation ceremony during the final dinner. Today, the campers were surveyed to better understand how well Camp Swift achieved the goals we set through programs and we will use the data to plan programs. The outcome of the survey will be published in the fall. Both campers and counselors also took a survey about their camp experience before they left.
Once the campers finished packing up their last few items and then helped clean the camp they love so much, the campers headed to the buses to say our final tearful goodbyes. Before boarding the bus, each camper received a cabin photo in a picture frame that they had painted themselves as a unique souvenir to remember camp. They also got a new camper shirt, and a nutritious sack lunch for the road. Although this session and season of Camp Swift has come to a close, we had one of our best years yet and are so looking forward to this school year!
Staying true to our mission of "creating the path from present to potential through peer mentor relationships", Swift offers a host of meaningful opportunities for our campers and counselors to stay connected all year long. If you would like to learn more about our opportunities, please sign up for our monthly E-Newsletter and you will be the first to receive our 2019-2020 program dates when they are released in just a few weeks.
All in all, this was another great season of Camp Swift and we are so grateful for everyone who made this memorable camper experience possible. If you would like more information on how to help, check out our page of opportunities!
The final full day of camp began with a delicious pancake breakfast. Some campers shared their stories about how they make pancakes with their parents at home and said that “with pancakes, you can never go wrong.” Perhaps because today was the last full day of camp, the campers were in a very enthusiastic mood. The cheers during breakfast were definitely the loudest and most exciting cheers out of all the previous days.
The morning activities were filled with numerous exciting programs. Frame decorations, shaboogie, and ropes for our youngest unit; cooking rock wall, hiking, science and sports for our middle unit; and canoeing for our oldest unit at the lake. During lunch, the campers, the counselors and the staff enjoyed another delicious camp specialty, made from scratch chili! The lunch, as usual also included healthy options like salad bar with plenty of ingredients to choose from and fruit bowls with pineapple, watermelon, cantaloupe, and grapes! DEEE-LICIOUS!
The final afternoon activities at Camp Swift included camper’s choice for all units where they had the opportunity to experience their favorite activity one last time before wrapping up another great session of camp. The art shack was a buzz with so many campers participating in our long-time camp favorite - tie dye! Campers also had a blast playing gaga, tennis and taking one last dip in the pool. All in all the final afternoon of camp was a blast!
The very last night of camp swift was a very special night where campers were able to experience the highest level of celebration!! The campers were invited to Cafe Swift for dinner where they entered a specially decorated lodge in our session theme - college! Then, they enjoyed a very fancy and college themed dinner of barbeque chicken with vegetables and mashed potatoes We also celebrated another camp swift birthday! Uasean turned 13 today, and the whole camp enjoyed delicious chocolate cake to celebrate. After everyone ate, there was another dance party in the lodge to warm up for the fun to come at the Swift Carnival!
Swift Carnival was a night filled with games, dance parties, and really cool prizes that campers got to take home. At the end of the evening, the entire camp swift community gathered for one of the final highlights of the camp: the Camp Swift slideshow! The video included a montage of pictures, videos, and songs from the past week of adventure and excitement. Once the night wound down, each camper went back to the cabin to reflect on all the cool and exciting memories and friends they made along with the friendship they will have forever!
Welcome to Day 3! The day began with a delicious breakfast of pancakes, sausage, eggs, and fruit to nourish and prepare the campers for the best day at camp… GRILLED CHEESE DAY! After our breakfast, some of the youngest unit explored their creativity in art by constructing graduation caps for Café Swift! While the rest of youngest unit ventured out to the lake. The weather was absolutely perfect for a morning of hiking and canoeing out on the lake. Everyone enjoyed their time out in nature, especially canoe races, splash fights, and singing songs out on the lake.
The middle unit continued to build meaningful friendships with their cabin mates and counselors during Shaboogie, and had a great time playing soccer for camper’s choice! Campers also had the option to head to the art shack to get decked out in orange and red grilled cheese day outfits! They even got to paint some of their counselors who were taking on the roles of the grilled cheese and tomato soup mascots. Grilled cheese day was a huge success, and cheers of “G-R-I-DOUBLE L-E-D GRILLED CHEESE!” sounding throughout camp. A delicious grilled cheese lunch ended with a super fun dance party with a conga line.
The evening wrapped up with youngest unit heading out to their overnight program and middle and oldest unit enjoying a delicious taco dinner. After dinner, middle unit had a blast playing "The Game of Life" while oldest unit competed in the pentathalon. The fun filled evening came to a close just as a light rain storm lulled the campers to sleep. With just two more sleeps at Camp Swift, the campers are looking forward to their last full day at camp tomorrow. Look forward to our updates throughout the day on social media and for us to go live at 6:30pm for Cafe Swift and our final night program, the Swift Carnival!
Day 2 was one for the books!
We started off day two with cheerful chanting and jolly laughs. The amount of energy the campers had before breakfast was incredible and it made us super excited to see what that energy would be like once they had food in their tummies! (Breakfast, by the way, was eggs, bacon, hash browns, and fruit, which the kitchen cannot seem to cut fast enough - the campers are eating up bowl after bowl of freshly cut watermelon, cantaloupe, grapes and more!)
All day long, the cabins participated in hours and hours of fun activities, from swimming to soccer they really did it all! We took a quick poll of our campers on what they're favorite activity was so far, and here is the result:
For many of our campers, their first time visiting the 20+ foot rock wall can be both exciting and a bit intimidating. We work hard to train our counselors and volunteer staff in the art of inspiring our campers to try new things (even if it seems a little scary at first). Why do we do this?
Because there is nothing more exhilarating for a camper than when he pushes himself beyond the confines of his comfort zone to successfully climb to the top of the wall and ring the victory bell!
The trust and support amongst the campers and counselors at this activity is so apparent at the rock wall, with everyone cheering on the climbers as they work to get to the very top of the wall. It really is one of the most inspiring things we have ever seen!
After an activity filled morning, the camp enjoyed homemade pizza, fruit, and the crowd favorite - salad bar! As lunch wrapped up, the lodge (cafeteria) broke out into a Wavin’ Flag dance party before we celebrated a very special day - one of our camper's birthday!
In the afternoon, youngest unit had some unique cabin time including a fashion show and their very own Camp Swift style escape room where they were able to utilize crucial communication and teamwork skills.
Oldest unit and a middle unit cabin headed out to the lake for canoeing and hiking today! Canoeing allowed the cabins to practice teamwork and trust as well as gave them a chance to learn a new sport in the outdoors.
After a long day of hiking, dancing, climbing, drawing, and more, campers filled their stomachs with delicious hamburgers and another visit to the delicious salad bar before heading to their night programs and then to a restful night filled with dreams of all tomorrow has to bring including...GRILLED CHEESE DAY! Don't forget to follow us on social media (@SwiftYouthAZ) and tune in at 1pm for all of the cheesey fun!
Second Session 2019 has officially begun, and already it is shaping up to be a super fun and eventful week! Our wonderful Support Staff of adult volunteers arrived around lunchtime on Monday to start preparing Camp Swift for the campers’ arrival. They prepared all the activities and programs and set up the camp for the week.
After a bright and early start on Tuesday morning, the counselors finally arrived at camp! The unit heads introduced the counselors to their co-counselors and to the rest of their units. The counselors spent the rest of the day getting to know their fellow unit members and becoming familiar with the camp routine. Meanwhile, Eric Slosky, director of staff, made sure that everything was running smoothly. Kelsey Rendelman, director of special programs, organized all the preparations for Camp Swift’s unique and educational activities. And Scott Lorsch, director of fun, energized everyone with our daily dose of camp spirit.
Since 1980, Swift Youth Foundation has been providing youth with great experiences that teach them to reach their full potential, and this session of camp is no different. Wednesday morning, 142 happy and eager campers rolled into camp to the cheers of counselors and Support Staff alike! The campers quickly met their new cabin mates and counselors, and were introduced to the theme of camp: college! This year’s college theme was super exciting because everyone can follow the path to their full potential.
After a delicious lunch of Pasta Bolognese, campers shopped at Krazy Keppies, a free store fully stocked with clothes and other necessities to make sure campers have everything they need! Then, the cabins jumped straight into the rest of their day, which was packed with activities such as swimming, Ga-Ga ball, art, cooking, hiking, and scaling the rock wall. Each program not only tied-in to the college theme by emphasizing the path to reaching our potential, but also helped the cabins become close and make new friends.
At dinnertime, Youngest and Middle units lined up outside the lodge to cheer and sing camp songs, then they enjoyed a nutritious burger and taco dinner. Youngest unit competed in the Pentathlon program, and Middle unit played the Game of Life. Meanwhile, Oldest unit headed to the campfire for the Overnight, where they star-gazed and had a cook out of hot dogs and s’mores. Finally, the campers headed to bed to get some rest for another busy day tomorrow!
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!