Camp makes overseas travel possible for students

Camp Adventure is a program rooted in cultural enrichment for students of all majors.

“Camp Adventure provides an opportunity to travel abroad expense free (airfare, housing and stipend for meals provided),” said Tia Smith, 24. “Students also receive 12 credit hours of college credit from the University of Northern Iowa, and the opportunity to develop personally in the areas of leadership and cultural awareness. It is truly an opportunity of a lifetime, one that everyone should experience.”

As an unconventional way to spend your summer, Camp Adventure participants are excited about their travels and are looking forward to seeing what the world has to offer.

“The world is getting smaller due to technology and the ease of travel,” said Jasmine Blanks, a senior music education student from Somerset, N.J. “It is important that we understand other cultures if we plan on being successful in any field or if we just want to be well-rounded and open-minded individuals.”

Founded on campus 11 years ago, Florida A&M University is the only site in the Southeast that services and trains students throughout the state and Georgia to travel the globe.

“Every Saturday of the spring semester, students from around the area meet for training,” Blanks said. “They come in vast numbers even when many FAMU students have not come out to participate.”

Camp Adventure’s training consists of learning the history of the program, strategies used when working with the children and a plethora of songs, chants and mini-theater productions that are vital to the program’s success.

“The purpose of the training is to prepare students for the field and learn the basics of how to take care of children,” said Jeffery Jenkins, a Camp Adventure trainer and junior music education student from Orlando. “We are here to create magical and treasured moments for kids that will last them a lifetime.”

As a way to celebrate weeks of training and hard work, Camp Adventure held an event to commemorate all efforts put in by students.

“Dessertfest is our annual ‘graduation’ ceremony which serves as the culminating event for Camp Adventure Trainees,” Smith said. “This event signifies their transformation from trainee to staff member. Dessertfest is an event whereby family and friends can learn more about the program and celebrate the impending journey in which their loved ones will embark.”

Camp Adventure will be sending 45 students to worldwide sites this summer, with the expectation of increasing the number of participants next year.

“Right now we have a good number of students going out, but our goal is to send 75 students into the field next year,” said Smith.

The experience received through Camp Adventure is one the students recommend to all who are able to participate in the summer program.

“The world is so much bigger than the United States,” Jenkins, 21 said. “I strongly believe that if able every student should travel and see other things. It is important to know that is not always what you know but who you know sometimes.”

Students are encouraged to participate in the Camp Adventure program because it is open to all majors.

“In conjunction to Saturday training sessions during the spring semester, students must most importantly love working with kids,” said Smith, the staff development coordinator and trainer. “They must be a student or have at least 30 credit hours available during the summer to participate in the program, and cannot have any felony convictions and no more than one misdemeanor unrelated to alcohol, drug or child abuse.”

As some students prepare to enter the workforce directly after graduation, Camp Adventure participants get a chance to experience the world before embarking on their life journeys.

“I will be graduating in the fall so this summer may be my last trip for a while,” Blanks said. “I will miss training because even though it is tedious at times, it allows you to act like a kid all day, and you meet so many different people. But the good thing about Camp Adventure is that once you go out one time you can return, thus allowing for veterans to participate well after graduation.”

Assistant Dean of Academic Affairs for the College of Education, and administrator for Camp Adventure since its inception, Janet M. Sermon, strongly suggests that students take part in the program.

“I consider this an opportunity of a lifetime,” Sermon said. “The opportunity to network with students from all over the nation and establish international contacts is priceless.”

If interested in the Camp Adventure program, students are asked to contact Sermon or Smith in the Grey Gore Educational Complex Building A Room 302.

“Recruitment begins during the fall semester,” Smith said. “Training begins in January. There is no competition for positions within the program, as long as you qualify and meet all of the standards outlined in training you will be able to participate.”