Every June, we at FLOC’s Outdoor Education Center welcome our new summer staff of counselors. It’s an exciting and challenging time for all of us as they are run through an intensive training schedule 2 and a half weeks long that prepares them for co-facilitating our FLOC kids camps.
During this time, they end up covering everything from “hard skills” such as safety and techniques on our High Ropes course, canoeing on the Shenandoah River, or backpacking on the Blue Ridge to the ever important “soft skills” like facilitating groups of students through the Low Ropes course challenges, helping groups to think about and learn from their experiences, and building confidence and rapport with our campers through a positive culture of interactions.
This year we are welcoming Natalie Pickett as one of our new summer staff counselors. Natalie comes all the way from Birmingham, AL. She attended Louisiana State University and just graduated with a degree in Child and Family Studies and a minor in Business. She brings 3 years of experience working with 6th through 8th graders in an afterschool program during her time in college.
Being from the south, this summer Natalie is excited to explore and learn about a new place and appreciate the cultural, social, and environmental differences. She is especially looking forward to bonding with our camp youth and watching many of them experience something new. “This,” she says, “is the reason I took this job.” In addition to her gifts and passion for music, guitar, and singing, she is also very interested in social issues, particularly that of social justice. In the future, she’ll be pursuing a career in non-profit management where she looks forward to working with at-risk youth, underserved populations, and the homeless.
A big welcome to Natalie and all of our new summer staff.
(Josh Evans is the Program Assistant for FLOC’s Outdoor Education Center in WV)