My name is Jordan Traulsen but to hundreds of campers, I’m simply known as Chef Jordan! I have been a proud part of Swift Youth Foundation for as long as I can remember. Literally.
I was introduced to Swift right around the same time I was introduced to solid food, somewhere around my 1-year-old birthday. Swift was an important part of my mother and fathers life growing up and so, by association, Swift was important to me throughout my childhood. That upbringing taught me early on the significance of “giving back” and doing a good deed.
But I feel my love story with Swift really started after the 7th grade. Although I have prior memories, it’s the first summer I can look back on and truly remember being impacted. I vividly recall coming home after that summer and feeling accomplished, proud and empowered (and exhausted). I felt happy to have gone, sad to have left, and excited for future times at this special place I will grow to call home.
Being involved in the after school programs really helped keep me on course in high school and gave me something constructive to look forward to. Throughout my high school years, my leadership skills flourished by learning how to write programs, managing events and being a great remodel for the Swift kids.
Being a great role model inevitably made me a better person. It truly is “the gift that keeps on giving”! I chose to attend year after year because it was a safe space for me to be myself and empower young minds to find their path, giving them a safe space to be themselves. And have so much fun doing it!
Swift has influenced my life tremendously; I am not sure who I would be today if it were not for this organization. Everyone has a frame of reference, a world in which each of us live in that is bound by the walls of what we know/trust/believe and the facts that are laid at our feet. Camp Swift is constantly widening my frame of reference; always reminding me of my opportunities and not taking things for granted. I know I am a better, happier person for it!
As I get older, especially now living in California, it becomes increasingly difficult to attend all of the Swift functions I would ideally like to. My job in the food industry lends little time off from work. Every year I find myself jumping through hoops, working overtime and extra diligently to ensure I will be able to attend Camp Swift. It’s always fun when someone asks me where I’m going on vacation and I have the privilege of saying “Camp Swift!”. Normally followed by that same person asking “What’s Swift?” and the rest is history (and we most likely just gained another support staff)!
So #WhySwift? Through the staff, kids, and programs, Swift has become part of the many hands that have helped mold who I am today. I guess you could say I feel like I owe it to the organization to come back every year and help change lives! I couldn’t be prouder of where the organization is headed and I cannot wait to see what the coming years have in store!!! And I could not be more thankful for having grown up in such an amazing environment with such amazing people who share similar passions!
Jordan Traulsen is the Assistant Manager of Farm Fresh To You in San Diego. She is an incredible chef and song leader. Her favorite dish to make at Camp Swift is chili.
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