Extra Special Unit Leaders
By Marcella Genut
The weather is getting warmer, kids are itching for school to end and the desire to go swimming grows. That can only mean one thing… summer camp is approaching! Only 3 weeks until camp is upon us! ESP has been hard at work planning for a fantastic summer. Thanks to our unit leaders, they will lead fun activities for campers all week long. Here’s a chance to get to know them before the summer starts. One thing is for sure, these unit leaders will take care great of ESP campers and they are guaranteed to have a blast!
Austin is no stranger to ESP camp and has been involved for 3 summers now. Austin studies Homeland Security in Daytona Beach during the school year and will be starting pilot school with the Air Force when he graduates! Campers can look forward to a fun, loving environment and developing close relationships between their buddies. Austin believes it’s important to focus on learning from each other and growing with others. Austin said, “My favorite part about camp is getting the opportunity to work with endless amounts of diversity every single day. No person at camp, counselors and campers alike, are the same. We all come from different backgrounds. We all find joy in different things and face adversity in different ways. In no other place can you learn so much about what it means to be truly happy.” According to Austin, ESP is the most loving and compassionate place you can’t find anywhere else. In his free time, Austin enjoys camping, fishing and solving a Rubik’s cube in under 45 seconds! Be sure to ask Austin to show his Rubik’s cube skills!
Older Middle Unit
Grant has been heavily involved with ESP and volunteered at 360, Big Hearts and the Fall Festival since 2015. Grant is a rising sophomore at the University of North Georgia in Dahlonega. He is studying Early Childhood Education and Special Education. Austin hopes to become a Special Education teacher for Elementary School. At his unit, campers can look forward to learning valuable skills that will help them in their home life, while still have fun learning them. He is excited for leading lots of singing, dancing, crafts and other activities. Grant is looking forward to making sure everyone is always having a good time. He believes camp is a learning experience and will be open to suggestions and feedback from his unit, but also asks for campers to respect his decisions. At camp, Grant said, ” Everyone at ESP becomes a family for the summer and it’s a blessing to be a part of it.” Grant’s favorite memory from camp is seeing his cabin overcome their fear and complete the rock wall at Camp Twin Lakes. He enjoyed seeing the campers face their fear, encourage each other and having a blast afterwards. I hope Grant’s campers are not squeamish because he is double jointed and can bend his fingers and legs backwards!
Tyler is very familiar with ESP because of his brother, ESP’r Clete. This is Tyler’s third summer with ESP and he is ecstatic about it. Campers in his unit can expect to play the coolest games and crafts. Tyler hopes to have a high energy unit that thrives in organized chaos. His favorite part about camp is how lost he can get in what he’s doing. For example, one minute Tyler will be hanging out with one of his campers and the next thing, the day is over! When describing camp, Tyler said, “It’s amazing to be able to participate in something that is so fun, that it disappears before my eyes.” Like Claire, Tyler’s favorite memory from camp is the bus rides and being able to hang out with the campers. According to Tyler, this is because you can really get to know the personality of the campers by sitting and interacting with them. Tyler said, “For years I have gotten to see the direct benefits of camp through my brother Clete, and I want to be a part of making that magic for other campers.” When not at ESP, Tyler is trying to learn Spanish or care taking for his buddy Ainsworth.
Younger Middle Unit
Taylor has been involved with ESP since her second semester of freshman year. She was a volunteer and is now a rising senior. Taylor is majoring in Early Childhood Education at the University of Georgia. Her plan is to get her masters’ in Special Education. Campers can look forward to having lots of fun in her unit! She is planning lots of games, activities and dance parties! She wants to make sure her campers will gain confidence in her unit. She is looking forward to showing campers that they are capable of doing anything. Her favorite part about camp is the field trips. Taylor loves venturing out to new places and experiencing new things. Her favorite memory from camp was Camp Twin Lakes. She loves ESP’s opportunities for participants to be themselves, gain friendships and learn new things. A fun fact about Taylor is her family owns a farm with 38 animals! The animals that can be seen on her farm are mini ponies, donkeys, goats and more! Taylor’s hobby is playing with her dog, Riley.