For over 20 years, ASUCD’s Cal Aggie summer camp has provided support, recreation, and a home away from home for foster children in California. Funded by 50 cents of every UC Davis student’s tuition fee, even with the recent budget cuts, Cal Aggie camp remains at the top of ASUCD’s priority list.
“It’s a high priority,” said Jack Zwald, ASUCD president-elect. “It’s a major recruitment tool that shows kids that college is an option, and it gets UC Davis students out there and doing good in the community. It’s a great program the Association provides, for a relatively low cost to students.”
Taking place from July 11 through July 24 in Nevada City, Calif., counselors spend two weeks in the summer facilitating crafts, swimming, boating, sports and numerous activities that many foster children never have the opportunity to enjoy, said Emily Mraovich, assistant director for the camp.
“This camp is the highlight of their year, and they’ll tell you that on the first day,” said Mraovich, also a senior environmental policy analysis and planning major who has worked with Cal Aggie camp for three summers. “Every year we hire about 30 new camp counselors, but there a lot that return back.”
Some counselors receive a stipend if financially necessary. However, a large majority of the students volunteer their time.
In past ASUCD elections, Cal Aggie Camp has been a consistent platform issue for candidates familiar with the impact that the summer camp has on foster children. For this reason, many ASUCD senators and student leaders have been involved with the camp, as well as UC Davis alumni and administration who have visited to show support.
“We normally use every penny that we get from the budget to put toward camp supplies and activities” said Levi Menovske, who considers Cal Aggie Camp his platform issue as a senator. “We’ve had consistent support for the program, and have fundraisers like the Valentine’s Day auction where all proceeds went toward the camp.”
For students interested in applying for summer 2010, positions are open for counselors, cooks, lifeguards and medical assistants. The position’s time commitment includes training and orientation weekend in May, and two weeks as a full-time counselor from July 11 to July 24.
“It’s absolutely a leadership position,” Menovske said. “It’s a 24-hour-a-day job. You have between five and eight kids all the time and it’s your job to make sure that they get from activity to activity and feel comfortable within the group.”
Applications are available until Feb. 25 at the ASUCD office on the third floor of the MU, and are available to all UC Davis students.
MICHELLE IMMEL can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.