Let the Match-Making Begin! 

by Jodi Fuson

I was launched into match-making mode last week when I received an email from a mom wanting to sign her 11th-grade, engineering-driven son up to be a Bright Lights Camp Assistant. I thought immediately that he would be just right for our Engineering Day Camp, returning in Summer 2023.  

For the past six years matching the right volunteers with our summer camps has been my role as Bright Lights Camp Assistant Specialist. I’ve enjoyed connecting student volunteers with specific interests and abilities to a camp in which they will flourish.   

The process starts with the online Camp Assistant application — available Friday, March 10, on the Camp Assistant page.  Anyone who is completing the eighth grade or higher in 2023, as well as college students and adults, is welcome to apply. Many students fulfill required service hours while volunteering with us. 

Camp Assistant applicants may be assigned to one or more week long, half-day or full-day camps based on their availability. Be sure to check out the Camp Schedule (available at BrightLights.org in February) to pick out your Top 3 camps. Don’t forget to consider other summer activities you have planned, such as other camps, work and family vacations, first, and be sure you’ve secured transportation to our main camp site at Roper Elementary or your assigned community camp site.   

Other than a commitment to at least one camp, enthusiasm to share with our K-8th grade campers is all that is needed. Previous experience working with kids is a plus but not necessary. Camp Assistants will gain valuable life and job skills as they learn about classroom preparation and planning from a professional educator, as well as how to interact with children and adults – all in a fun, safe and supportive environment.  

That support begins prior to the start of camps with a Camp Assistant orientation where information about camp routines, classroom management and safety protocols is shared in an interactive manner. On set-up day, which occurs the week before camp starts, Camp Assistants have the opportunity to get acquainted with their teacher/camp and assigned classroom/site. Then, during camp, Camp Assistant volunteers receive additional support and feedback from Bright Lights staff.  

As you consider your summer activities, I hope you’ll add the Bright Lights Camp Assistant experience to the list. Contact me, Jodi Fuson, at campassist@brightlights.org with questions or to let me know you (or your teen) plan to join us in Summer 2023.