Every year we get so many compliments on how amazing our staff is! This month we are highlighting DJ McCarthy, who has worked for Adventure Camp for three years and hopes to come back for his fourth next summer. DJ’s first experience with La Vida was participating in the La Vida Discovery program for Gordon students during his freshman year, but his passion for the outdoors began long before that. One of his favorite pastimes as a kid was mountain biking. This experience prepared him to be the mountain biking specialist for Adventure Camp. “I’ve loved biking since I was a little kid. Being on a bike makes me happy. Seeing other kids get hyped about it and share that same joy is really rewarding.”

So why do staff come back year after year to work for La Vida Adventure Camp? DJ says it’s the staff community. “Getting to be involved with the community was definitely a highlight because the staff are so great to work with. It’s one of the first places I felt like I belonged. We all have a common interest in working in the outdoors and with kids. It really unites us to be working towards a common goal.” Adventure Camp staff strive to teach youth how to challenge themselves, serve and care for others, and have a positive self-identity. All the while, they are having fun doing it!

Adventure Camp has a unique theme each year that is incorporated into the skits and activities each week. DJ’s favorite theme thus far was “Make a Difference” from his first summer in 2017. “I had a lot to work with and there were a lot of lessons that I could draw out for the kids.” DJ has enjoyed being a camp counselor because of the bond that is shared with the kids. He witnesses the growth that happens throughout the week. DJ says, “Mondays are always a little awkward, but by Friday afternoon, I have to find ways to calm the kids down. At that point, they’re really close.”

DJ is a senior at Gordon College with a Communication Arts major and double minor in English and Art. He is interested in going into filmmaking to create cartoons for kids. He’s currently interning with La Vida, assisting with social media, photography, and videography of events and promoting them with his graphic design skills. You can look forward to seeing him at Adventure Camp in 2020!

By Amber Hausman, Outdoor Education CORE and Marketing Coordinator