Program offers unique experience abroad

Students at FAMU have the opportunity to travel abroad through the Camp Adventure program.

Along with the all-expenses-paid trip, they will receive 12 hours of university credit and one-hour of internship credit.

Camp Adventure is a service-learning program that is open to undergraduate and graduate students in all majors.

Camp Adventure is a non-profit educational organization.

In the program, college students serve as camp counselors, directors and aquatic instructors to children on military bases across the world.

“It is a great way to take a short-term trip abroad and get a bit of worldly exposure; just long enough to get a taste of the culture,” said April Ross, 22, a business administration graduate student from Atlanta.

Ross traveled to Japan as a camp counselor with the Camp Adventure program in 2002.

The Camp Adventure participants will be assigned to various military bases within the United States and countries all over the world.

After students apply, they are interviewed by veteran participants in the fall.

In the spring, accepted students participate in 10 training sessions.

These training sessions are known as the Camp Adventure College.

The Camp Adventure College is a free, 60-hour developmental program.

The purpose is certifying students in first aid, CPR and lifeguard training.

The Camp Adventure summer sessions are approximately 8-12 weeks. Departure dates vary with each location and contract.

“On a résumé, the Camp Adventure program is a catchy item that no matter what the student’s major, employers are very impressed, because involvement in this program reveals cultural diversity and ambition,” said Janet Sermon, FAMU’s assistant dean of academic affairs and Camp Adventure administrator.

Sermon has been involved with the Camp Adventure program for the past 10 years.

Sermon said FAMU’s participation with the program arose, as the military were demanding more people of color.

She said many of the children in the program are diverse in cultural background and need mentors to which they can feel a connection.

“We brought the diversity component to the program,” Sermon said.

This year, 30 FAMU participants, and about 1,000 students nationwide, are contracted with the Camp Adventure program.

“I want to urge students to gain this experience and gain the same experiences and knowledge I have,” said Tia Smith, 22, a business administration graduate student from Tampa.

“I work as a recruiter now urging students to experience life outside of their comfort zone.”

Smith has participated in the Camp Adventure program for six years.

“News events sometimes affect participation, but if an area is unsafe, they will not station you there,” said Keenan Austin, 21, a business administration graduate student from Atlanta.

Austin traveled to Korea with the Camp Adventure program in 2002.

Austin said many study-abroad programs through universities do not offer the cost-free advantage like the Camp Adventure program.

“The benefits for participants are invaluable,” Austin said.

The Camp Adventure Youth Services Web site said it was founded in 1985.

Currently the Camp Adventure program serves more than 8,000 children on a daily basis.

A Camp Adventure youth conference will be held this weekend at FAMU.

Participants from various colleges and Universities will be in attendance to present the program to interested students.

Schools such as Florida State University, Tallahassee Community College, University of Florida and Fort Valley State University will hold workshops at the conference.

Participants will review training that’s learned with in the Camp Adventure College.

This event is not open to the public.

Camp Adventure participants are holding a free Dessert Fest.

It will be open to the public Saturday in the Perry Paige Auditorium at 7 p.m.

Dessert will be served, and participants of the program will demonstrate training skills.

An awards ceremony will also be held.

Any one interested should RSVP to Tia Smith at 561-2989.

Any one interested in the Camp Adventure program should contact Janet M. Sermon at 561-2989 /2465.

Contact Jamey L. Turner at