With summer camp only a week away, both our campers and staff are buzzing with excitement! ESP has been working ’round-the-clock to make sure this summer is the best yet for our campers. All of this planning would be for naught without the hard work our summer staff, who make sure all of our campers are having a blast every single day! Some of our summer staff love camp so much, they keep coming back! Here is a way to get to know some of our veteran summer staff and help welcome them back to ESP!
Jessica has been involved with ESP since 2015, serving as a 360 volunteer, a Big Hearts volunteer, and a camp counselor! Jessica is a second year student at the University of North Georgia studying to become a behavior specialist. Jessica loves working with ESP because of the “campers that make this job worth waking up at 7am”. Jessica’s favorite ESP memory is hanging out with Brittany Wortham at last year’s Meet and Greet. Getting to spend time with one of her favorite campers after not seeing her for a year was “the perfect welcome back to ESP”. Jessica is really looking forward to working with a new unit this summer and getting to know each camper personally! Some of Jessica’s hidden talents include being a really good DJ and a skilled dancer. Jessica can’t wait to make sure this summer camp is the best yet by making sure her campers are always having fun and making new friends!
Grace is a junior at North Oconee High School who dreams of one day becoming a pediatrician. Even though Grace is deathly afraid of all species of bugs, this summer will be Grace’s third time working with ESP’s summer camp! She has also volunteered with 360 and Big Hearts since 2015. Grace described her time with ESP as “life changing” because she has developed a different outlook on life through the friendships she has developed here. Grace plans to encourage her campers this summer to reach their goals and give their all to the task at hand. She is excited to see how many of her campers get brags during flag, as this is one of her favorite parts of summer camp! During her free time, Grace likes to hang out by the pool with her friends and going shopping.
Lauren just graduated from the University of Georgia and is starting graduate school in the fall for occupational therapy. Lauren has been involved with ESP for the past 2 years and keeps coming back because she loves the “participants and community and the love and support that surrounds everyone” at ESP. She loves that ESP gives her the ability to help provide a place where “individuals can be completely themselves, build friendships, try new things, and overcome fears”. Lauren’s favorite memory from camp is CTL because of the close relationships she developed with her buddies. She is looking forward to what this year’s CTL week will bring because she believes that is where she grew the most last year. Lauren enjoys being outdoors and reading – she even studied abroad in Costa Rica!
Audrey is no stranger to ESP! She has been involved since 2013 in the different roles of camp staff, 360 volunteer, fall festival volunteer, Big Hearts volunteer, and NKA volunteer. Audrey will be starting her third year at the University of Georgia in the fall and she hopes to work with individuals of all abilities in her future career. Audrey describes ESP as simply “breathtaking” due to the unconditional love she has witnessed throughout her time here. Audrey said she is forever grateful for the people she has met and worked with at ESP because “they have loved, taught, and encouraged me – I am my best self because of my experiences here”. Camp is Audrey’s favorite time of the year! She is most excited to meet new campers and develop new friendships this summer.
Maci just graduated from the University of Georgia and is heading down to Augusta University in the fall to start graduate school! Maci REALLY loves ESP because ESP “provides a home filled with meaningful relationships and lasting friends for so many individuals, offers families a support group that rallies behind them through the ups and downs of life, and truly empowers individuals, myself included, to live life without limits”. Maci’s favorite part of summer camp are the brags. She loves brags because they are “proof that the hard work you put in doesn’t go unnoticed” and loves seeing camper’s reactions to receiving a brag. Maci is looking forward to meeting new campers, cherishing every moment of summer camp, and, of course, the weekly Wednesday Mama’s Boy! Maci is convinced she is immune to salmonella, as she has consumed an “obscene” amount of raw cookie dough and cake batter and never been sick! (Knock on wood, Maci!)
Katie is a summer camp pro – this will be her 5th summer with ESP! Katie is studying nursing at the University of North Georgia and her dream job is to be flight nurse on a medivac helicopter, even though she’s never been on an airplane. Katie loves summer camp and witnessing camper’s firsts – their first time canoeing, sleeping away from home, or swimming without assistance! Katie described her time with ESP as not only magical and rewarding but incredibly fun! She isn’t afraid to get messy on Fun Fridays and can’t wait to meet new campers! Katie loves hiking outdoors, baking, traveling, and trying new restaurants. She is also engaged to her high school sweetheart!
Alexis came back to ESP because she missed the campers so much and there’s not another camp like ESP’s anywhere else! Alexis helped with the Big Hearts Pageant in 2010 and 2011 and then joined our summer camp for 2012 and 2013. Alexis is a senior at Texas A&M University studying to be a middle school life skills teacher. She is looking forward to helping campers explore, grow, and experience new things and recognize they are capable of anything! Alexis is excited to get back to Camp Twin Lakes and swim with the “coolest campers in the ENTIRE country”!. According to Alexis, the best movie to ever be made is Frozen and she enjoys building snowmen when she gets the chance. While most people are either dog or cat people, Alexis thinks reptiles are the coolest animals out there!
Kristen is a rising senior at Oconee County High School who has been involved with ESP for the past 3 years both as a volunteer and summer staff member. Kristen can’t wait to become friends with every camper this summer while learning and growing with her fellow staff members. Kristen’s favorite ESP memory is helping a participant discover his love of swimming after encouraging to face his fear of the water. She loves ESP because of her experiences like this, which she refers to as “absolutely magical”. Kristen has six cats and spends her free time knitting, reading, and enjoying the great outdoors through hiking and backpacking. Kristen loves the “unique environment of love and acceptance” of ESP and is so excited to be back!
Emory is coming into summer camp this year with lots and lots of energy and positivity! While Emory is typically a shy person, she has been able to learn about being a leader through her time here at ESP. Emory has been a part of the summer staff for the past 3 summers and volunteers throughout the year. Emory keeps coming back to ESP because she loves seeing the joy ESP brings to both participants and their families! She says she has loved every second she has worked or volunteered with ESP and being a part of summer camp has made the past three summers “ones to remember”! Emory is a student at Georgia College and State University studying to become a special education teacher. When she isn’t hitting the books, Emory enjoys watching hours of Netflix and furthering her knowledge on sharks, one of her self-proclaimed “obsessions”.