Calling All Advanced Beginners!

Hello! My name is Jessica Lawson, and I am a freshman at USC Aiken studying Secondary Math Education. I am now entering my fifth year as a counselor. As another summer of camp quickly approaches, I look forward to welcoming all of our new campers and some returning faces to the Cottage. I also fondly think back to and reflect on my experience as a camper. Many students begin coming at 6 years old, but I started at 12. I attended the Advanced Beginner class, which is reserved for our first-time 11-14 year olds.

I was a bit apprehensive that I had missed out or that it wouldn’t be as fun since I was older, but I was certainly wrong; I had the best time and absolutely loved camp! The activities of the kitchen, education, and craft rooms were uniquely different and enjoyable, but I also enjoyed getting to know the counselors. Seeing how they interacted with each other and the campers had a positive influence on me, and while I was disappointed I would only get to experience 2 years of camp before I aged out of the program, being closer to the age of the counselors made me feel more connected and more excited to hopefully eventually become one of them.

I thoroughly enjoyed the two summers I attended camp and am jealous of the campers who started coming at a younger age, but I am very thankful my VeryVera journey has continued for several more years. For the last four years, I’ve had the opportunity to work with so many campers and my fellow counselors. I’ve heard many older adults complain about their first jobs, but I truly cannot imagine a better one than what I’ve had! I have especially enjoyed getting more involved with the company when I started working after school my Junior year of high school preparing for Saturday camps and helping write the camp curriculums. The improvement in communication and leadership skills I can see in myself that I have learned through working at VeryVera is phenomenal. The foundations of these skills began as a camper, but moving through the roles of junior counselor, assistant, and lead counselor have allowed me to put these skills to the test. As an education major in college, I can certainly thank my experience with the VeryVera Camp program for my success in classes, leadership positions in school clubs and organizations, and student teaching.

I believe every young mind should have the privilege of experiencing at least a week inside the VeryVera Cottage. To all of the 11-14 year olds out there, you are not too old to get in on and enjoy this wonderful cooking camp experience! I had a wonderful time, and I look forward to being part of the program for many more years to come.