Our 16th year has come to a close and a lot more than my hair color has changed over these wonderful years with amazing young people! As I recall the necessity to create an income flow in the summer and having a reason for my Event Planner and my best high school helper to have plenty to do in the summer, we struck out with no knowledge of what a Business Model meant. Thank goodness I was in good hands with then Kristin West (Ellison ) and Megan Gunnels (Moyer) because you would have thought we were all PRO’s.
Maddie Miller (Left) and Elizabeth Pipkin (Right)
The evolution of this program has seen growth in the number of weeks from three to six and the students enrolled from 12 to 32, with a waiting list every summer. We have attracted and maintained students for 4-5 years and we have created Junior Counselors and Counselor positions that have allowed the best of the best to maintain their relationship with us. New this year was the introduction of the Scholarship Program, introducing our Camp to area schools and allowing educators to be part of the selection process for a child they felt could benefit from our experience. We were delighted to have 4 very remarkable students join us through the Elizabeth Pipkin Scholarship Awards. Elizabeth was instrumental in creating the Junior Counselor Program and her senior project for Augusta Prep was writing a proper business model and corresponding with the educators and finally making the selections. She is headed to UGA with a firm background in workplace experience and writing a business plan.
I continue to be passionate about CAMP and the young people that have given this experience the stellar reputation it holds. Putting their best foot forward was a closing post by another amazing young person that has been part of The VeryVera Cooking Camp between being a camper and a counselor for 13 years! Maddie Miller (last one on the left) could run it and will excel in all she does, as she, too, heads to UGA to study Early Childhood Education.
Our Culinary Director, Kameri Johnson shows that passion for food and food preparation can be learned through experience and her job as Associate Producer of The VeryVeraShow gave her the necessary tools to take the lead in the kitchen during the summer while we take a break from filming. She rose to the occasion and the students and counselors loved her!
Caroline Williams (Left), Angie Lee (Middle), Kameri Johnson (Right)
Angie Lee’s magic in Curriculum Writing came true as each week had an amazing theme, great crafts and wonderful recipes. She was here long enough to make sure it was all “said and done” and has moved on to work on her Masters in Dietetics at Augusta University.
Finally, I bid farewell to an outstanding Camp Director, Caroline Williams, who accepted her role with the utmost gusto and staged each day with poise and grace. Her “peeps” stepped up and as the smallest person in the room, her BIG personality and LEADERSHIP SKILLS paid off successfully each and every week. She leaves to pursue her Masters in Dietetics from Georgia State University but not before she leaves her mark with the most outstanding legacy: The VeryVera Camp Manual. Her organizational skills, passion and acceptance of responsibility will live forever through the pages of this book. I am grateful beyond words.
Kameri Johnson (Left) and Caroline Williams (Right)
For me, it’s the core of my passion. It’s the idea that grew BIGGER than I imagined. It’s left Augusta to be represented in franchises among private schools in many cities where our show airs. We are thrilled to continue to watch those numbers grow and the locations add up. In the meantime, I treasure the friendships I continue to make with the young women and men that are old enough to be my children or young enough to be my grandchildren. My family just keeps getting bigger.