Southeast Missouri State University Senior Mallory Moore of Farmington, Missouri, is spending her summer as a camp counselor in the serene, breathtaking and picturesque Colorado mountains.
Cal-Wood Education Center in Jamestown, Colorado, is more than an ordinary summer camp. It offers a variety of opportunities, including horseback riding, wild land skills, an eco-engineers camp and mountain biking. Moore, an early childhood education major, is working with 3rd-9th graders with a range of 20-44 campers each week.
“Living in a different state has been an amazing experience, especially a state like Colorado,” Moore said. “Everywhere I turn there is a stunning mountain range and when I walk the trails on Cal-Wood property I am surrounded by fields of wildflowers, and active wildlife and pine trees that smell like butterscotch and vanilla.”
Moore says she initially took the position to have an exciting summer before graduation, “but now that I have had the experience I realize how much I have learned about working with older groups of children to make myself more confident as an educator,” she said. “I have also developed a greater appreciation and understanding of the natural world.”
So far, Moore has worked with a range of youth in a variety of activities. Some weeks she stays in cabins with campers and participates in high rope courses, other weeks her duties vary, but her responsibilities always include being a role model and making sure the children are having fun while staying safe.
While the camp offers educational opportunities for youth, the campers aren’t the only ones soaking in the experience, according to Moore.
“The first two weeks I spent at Cal-Wood, we were immersed into detailed training from wilderness survival to how to deal with homesickness and other social/emotional needs of the campers,” Moore said.
She says she has learned are how to make a spoon from a block of wood, how to make tinder and kindling from one piece of wood, multiple ways to start a fire and about Colorado’s native plants and animals.
While in Colorado, Moore has explored Rocky Mountain National Park, Dinosaur Ridge in Denver and The Stanley Hotel in Estes Park. She also has white water rafted down the Cache la Poudre River Valley and paddle boarded on Boyd Lake in Fort Collins.
She says she learned about the camp counselor opportunity on the first day of the spring 2016 semester. Dr. Sharon Dees, assistant professor of early, elementary and special education, told her students about summer staff opportunities at Cal-Wood Education Center in Jamestown, Colorado, where her son is employed.
Moore got details from Dees and eventually reached out to her son in February. After two phone interviews and a formal application, Moore was offered a position in April.
“First, I met with Dr. Dees to get some basic details such as the name of the center, where it was in Colorado and her son’s name and email. I then researched Cal-Wood’s website, watched videos on YouTube of some of their camps and scrolled through their social media pages,” Moore said.
Moore says she plans to graduate from Southeast in spring 2017 and looks forward to landing a teaching job in Missouri.