VISTA Spotlight: Jade

Summer is always an exciting time at Camp Fletcher, but this summer has been especially exciting with the addition of two new VISTA members, Cynthia and Jade. Jade joined Camp Fletcher and Camp Fire Alabama in June as our Education Coordinator AmeriCorps VISTA. She has some fantastic ideas for our garden education program, and we know she’s going to have a great time serving with us!

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Jade is 23 years old and was born and raised in Birmingham, Alabama. She holds a B.S. in Psychology from The University of Montevallo. We’re so excited about all of the passion and experience Jade brings to our VISTA team!

What made you decide to serve as a VISTA with Camp Fletcher?
I decided serve as a VISTA with Camp Fletcher for two reasons. First, I want to have experience in the education field and, secondly, Camp Fletcher matches with my goals for a future career in school counseling.

What previous experiences do you have that you feel will equip you for your position?
A majority of my work and volunteer experience has been in youth service. During college, I worked as a teacher’s aide at Child Study Center, a senior camp counselor at YMCA Camp Cosby and mentored for two years with Blueprints College Access Initiative.

What are your goals for your year of service? What do you hope to accomplish?
My number one goal for my year of service is to make sure every garden exploration lesson plan is up to course standards and is fun! Also, I want every day to be a day of learning, not just for kids, but every adult — as well as myself.

What aspect of your position are you most excited about?
I am most excited about interacting with kids, but I am so excited about doing a job I love. With this mindset I know I can give more than 100% to achieve success for everyone involved in the garden education program at Camp Fletcher.

What aspect of your position do you feel will be the most challenging?
This job is a new adventure, the most challenging aspect of this job is to make a curriculum that everyone will like and find successful.

We know Jade is going to do a great job, and we can’t wait to share the garden education program she’s designing with you next spring! For more information about Camp Fletcher’s garden and the VISTA project, visit us online!

 

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VISTA Spotlight: Cynthia

It’s an exciting time at Camp Fletcher – summer camp just kicked off and we’ve also welcomed a new VISTA member to our team! We’re excited to introduce Cynthia, and we know she’s going to have a great year of service with us at Camp Fletcher.

Cynthia will be serving as our Community Mapping Specialist. She is originally from Dayton, Ohio but has lived in the Birmingham area for many years. Cynthia currently holds a B.A. in English, a Masters Degree in Business and is finishing up a B.S. in Psychology. We are so excited to welcome her, and we know she’s going to be a great addition to our VISTA project!

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What made you decide to serve as a VISTA with Camp Fletcher? I am very active and engaged in my community and when the opportunity to serve as a VISTA presented itself, I was very happy and honored to accept the appointment.

What previous experiences do you have that you feel will equip you for your position? I currently serve as the Special Events Coordinator for the Title I Parent Leader Counsel as established under Federal guidelines, and this volunteer position has afforded me the opportunity to serve my community in a number of capacities that range from working with school administrators, parents, students and key policy makers throughout the Birmingham City School system and surrounding areas.

What are your goals for your year of service? What do you hope to accomplish? My goal during my 1st year of service is to connect with and establish lasting relationships with the educational communities that surround Camp Fletcher.

What aspect of your position are you most excited about? I’m excited about bringing awareness to the surrounding area that Camp Fletcher is true Alabama history and that it should be seen as our gold mine.

What aspect of your position do you feel will be the most challenging? Initial contact and establishing the connections with the persons that can move the cause forward will be the most challenging.

If you would like more information about our VISTA project, you can visit us online to learn more about all of our service members!

VISTA Spotlight: John!

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This week is AmeriCorps Week, and we are proud to have four AmeriCorps VISTA members currently serving at Camp Fletcher! Our newest member, John, joined a few weeks back as the Garden Specialist, and we’re so happy to have him at camp overseeing the garden. John is from Fort Bragg, North Carolina and is currently pursuing a degree in architecture.

1. What made you decide to serve as a VISTA with Camp Fletcher? I decided to serve at Camp Fletcher because of my interest in helping youth gain knowledge through hands-on experiences that will assist them in succeeding in their future endeavors.

2. What previous experiences do you have that you feel will equip you for your position? Before I decided to serve as a VISTA, I worked as a counselor for an after-school program known as Open Door. I have also been a camp counselor for the Woodlore Camping School based in the Boy Scouts of America’s Choctaw District. As an Eagle Scout, I have volunteered for many organizations ranging from the Wounded Warriors Project to the Red Cross.

3. What are your goals for your year of service? What do you hope to accomplish? In my year, I hope to build the foundation for an education garden that, over time, will expand into a cornerstone of Camp Fletcher. While I believe that it will be difficult to quickly create a database of what is best to grow in the garden with the time I have been given, with my support staff and resources I am confident that it is possible. I am excited for the opportunity to learn, as well as teach others about my own endeavors planting in the garden. I can’t wait to get my hands dirty and start planting.

4. What are you excited to do now that you’re in Alabama? Now that I have moved to Birmingham I am overjoyed to begin backpacking all the new trails that are available to me and traveling to the great city of Auburn to watch football games, War Eagle!

We’re so excited to have John with us! If you want to learn more about the garden at Camp Fletcher, or if you’re interested in volunteering, be sure to check out this post. We’ll be planting our spring garden very soon, and we can always use an extra hand!

 

VISTA Spotlight: Marion

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The beginning of 2016 brought another new AmeriCorps VISTA member to Camp Fletcher. Marion Brown will be serving as the Education Coordinator VISTA at camp, overseeing the development of garden lesson plans and field trip curriculum. We are hoping to have garden field trips available to schools in 2016, and Marion will play a key part of insuring that our programs are relevant, engaging and educational for all students. We know she’s going to do a great job, and we can’t wait for you to learn more about her!

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Marion Brown, Education Specialist AmeriCorps VISTA

Marion is from Mobile, but has lived in the Birmingham area for many years. She holds an AA Degree in Criminal Justice. This is her 5th year serving with an AmeriCorps project. Her past projects include two years with the UAB Civitan AmeriCorps State and National program. She has also worked with many area agencies including the American Red Cross, Lakeshore Foundation, Exceptional Foundation, Head Injury Foundation, Birmingham Aids Outreach, AIDS Alabama, FocusFirst Impact Alabama and Samford University.

Marion says she’s excited to help Camp Fletcher reach area communities, schools and organizations with knowledge of important natural resources.

We know 2016 is going to be a great year for the Education Garden & Camp Fletcher! If you’d like more information about the garden, field trip opportunities, or ways to get involved, click here.

 

Dash Away 5K and Jingle Bell Junction

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Dash Away 5K and Jingle Bell Junction is just a few short weeks away, and we want to see EVERYONE out at Camp Fletcher for an awesome day of holiday fun! We have three race options to choose from: The Dash Away 5K, the Frosty Fun Run (a one mile walk/run) and a Holly Jolly Hundred for those ages 6 and under. Click here to register now because all registration prices increase on the day of the event. If you have any questions about the race, head over to our FAQ to read more!

If running isn’t really your thing, we’ve still got you covered! Jingle Bell Junction will be taking place from 8:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. and you don’t want to miss this family fun event. You can visit Santa and get your picture made, visit our Vendor Village featuring arts and crafts vendors, kids can play Reindeer Games and enjoy make and take crafts at the North Pole and everyone can enjoy free snacks and beverages! We’ll also be serving an all you can eat pancake breakfast and sack lunch options.

Dash Away is going to be an all day event that the entire family can enjoy! For more information, race registration, ticket purchasing and more, visit us online today. All proceeds from the event benefit Camp Fire and Camp Fletcher programs for families and youth.

Can’t attend Dash Away? You can still go the extra mile for Camp Fire! For more information about how YOU can raise money and support Camp Fire Alabama and Camp Fletcher, click here!

Earth Day in the garden

This year, Camp Fletcher celebrated Earth Day by planting the garden! Under the direction of Brandon, the Operations Director at Camp Fletcher, volunteers from the Camp Fire Alabama office spent the entire day in the garden. It was a lot of work, but everyone had a great time helping out. We could not be more excited about all of the produce the garden will yield this summer!

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The Camp Fletcher Education Garden
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Squash plants in the garden
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Tomato plants with hand-made cages

Most of our plants came from the University of Montevallo Organic Garden, and we are so thankful to them for their help and support! We purchased more than 90 plants from their plant sale, including a variety of tomatoes, squash, cucumber, and basil. We also planted bell peppers, corn, okra, green onions, pole beans, carrots, and chives from seeds, as well as a few plants of zucchini and eggplant. We have a large variety planted in the garden this year, and we’re looking forward to launching the garden curriculum during summer programs.

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Our CFO, Rick, hard at work in the garden
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Camp Fire employees volunteering in the garden

Spending the day outside in the sun was so much fun, and we know our volunteers had a great time working with one another, planting and enjoying the nice weather. If you are interested in spending a day at Camp Fletcher volunteering in the garden, do not hesitate to contact us! As our garden begins to grow, we will need lots of help maintaining and harvesting, and this is a great opportunity for individuals or groups of all kinds – from families to church groups and more! If you would like to learn more about the education garden, click here.

Starbucks & Camp Fletcher: Planting in April

Yesterday was a beautiful day at camp, and, after about a week of rainy days, we needed it. The sun finally came out, and temperatures stayed in the 70s all afternoon. It was a perfect day for our amazing Starbucks volunteers to come out to camp, and we had a great afternoon planting with them. A small group came, bringing with them tomatoes, peppers, eggplant and marigolds to plant in our raised beds close to the camp office. It was too muddy to plant in the Education Garden, but they had a great time working on the raised beds and in the tires. We’re so glad to have these amazing volunteers help with the planting and upkeep of our gardens, and we cannot wait until we’re able to harvest some amazing produce from these plants!

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As soon as it dries out, we’ll be able to plant the tomatoes, cucumbers, squash and peppers we got from the University of Montevallo Organic Plant Sale last week in the Education Garden. Our garden is all tilled and ready to go, and Wednesday is looking like a great day to get to work!

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The site of our Education Garden

If you would like to help in our Education Garden, we would love to have you! We’re looking for individuals and groups to help care for our garden, so if you’ve got a green thumb, contact us today for more information about how you can help!