Monday, February 1, 2016

Conversations with Counselors

A photo of people canoeing on a lake.  In the forefront of the picture is the water, and it is a deep, rich blue.  Farther back there is a line of thick green woods, and beyond that Mt. Hood rises into a nearly cloudless blue sky.  A few small, fluffy white clouds hang low in the sky.
Photo Credit: Mt. Hood Kiwanis Camp

Last summer, we went on site to ask some counselors why they had chosen to take the Mt. Hood Kiwanis Camp Capstone.  We got a lot of different answers!  Students with diverse majors and interests choose the MHKC Capstone, and a wide variety of personalities thrive here.

Catarina was the first counselor we spoke with.  She heard about the capstone through word of mouth.  "A lot of people were saying that it's the best thing, and it's the most, like, beautiful experience you could get, and it's really life-changing," she tells us.  "And so far it's been very life-changing for me."

Chad, another counselor, also heard about the capstone through word of mouth, though in this case it was from a little closer to home.  "My older brother took the capstone ten years ago, and he recommended it," Chad tells us.  "We both are not involved with special education or education in general.  He's computer systems security, and I'm going into the medical field, but we both felt that it was the best use of our time to give back to the community."

People in the MHKC Capstone come from a variety of backgrounds, from those with no prior experience dealing with people who have different abilities to those who have helped care for friends or family members for years.  Some want to make special education their lifelong vocation; others, like Chad, just want to spend a part of their summer giving back to the community.

And the course can be used for more than just PSU's senior capstone graduation requirement.  Grace, a Child and Family Studies major, is using it as a practicum for her major.  "I was really interested in this because I hadn't had much experience with different abilities," she tells us.  "I was nervous about coming, but it's been a really, really great experience, and I've learned a lot."

When asked if they were glad they'd made the decision to come to camp, these counselors gave us responses that were universally positive.

"I'm very glad I came," Catarina says.  "I'm just overjoyed."

"Yes, definitely I'm very glad.  And it's flown by!"  Grace says, smiling.  "It's been, like, a long two weeks, but it's gone by really quick.  I can't believe it's almost over."

Learn more about the Mt. Hood Kiwanis Camp Capstone on Portland State University's website here, and feel free to ask us any questions in the comments here or on Facebook.

Special thanks to counselors Catarina, Chad, and Grace, and to faculty member Carolyn Bradley, who gave us a tour of the camp last summer.

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