Reflections from 2013 Staff

We asked some staff from 2013 to reflect on their experience and share some thoughts with you.

What was the most rewarding aspect of your time as a Camp Counselor/Parent Counselor/Orientation Leader? What did you get out of the experience?

“The most rewarding part of being an OL was the relationships I made both with my fellow OL's and the students and parents I met in my group. It is so rewarding and exciting to be a part of a team that is very productive and well-trained, but that also has a great time doing their jobs. It is so much fun to spend time with my fellow OL's, both during sessions and on our own time. It is also wonderful to see students from my SOS sessions on campus and have them tell me that they're doing great and are loving Auburn - some of them have even tried out to be orientation leaders, too!” - Mary Catherine Banister, SOS Orientation Leader

“I loved being a Parent Counselor because I love parents. I am a first generation college student and my mom had no idea to expect when I came to college, so Camp War Eagle was the first taste she got of Auburn. She loved her experience and felt a lot more comfortable about me attending this university, so I wanted to be able to provide that for other parents as well. What was great about CWE was that you are very well prepared before the first session begins, so any question anyone asks you, you normally have an answer to. So, one of the most rewarding parts of CWE was being able to answer parents questions and see them start to feel more at ease and comfortable about Auburn becoming their students’ new home away from home. CWE also helped me learn to work as a team and to do that well. If one person is lagging on a job, it affects the rest of the team, so when we were able to encourage each other and have fun, it made the day run a lot smoother for us and for the parents.” - Meagan Campbell, CWE Parent Counselor

"The most rewarding aspect of my experience as a Parent Counselor was definitely the friendships I made throughout my experience.  These were people I may have never even met during my time at Auburn, but through Camp War Eagle I became best friends with them.  The friendships I established through this job are some of the most cherished friendships I have at Auburn and I know we will always look back and thank Camp War Eagle for the bond we share!" - Grace Christian, CWE Parent Counselor

“During my time as an orientation leader, the most rewarding aspect was instilling the transfer students with your love and passion for this university. What I have also learned as an orientation leader is that these students are making a pretty big decision and a quite scary one at that, coming into a new school in the middle of their college careers. By showing them that we are here for them and that they are also a part of the Auburn family is something that they can always have to feel right at home.” - Megan Eldridge, SOS Orientation Leader

“The most rewarding aspect I got out of being a Camp Counselor has to be the relationships that I gained throughout the summer. All of my campers, other counselors, and staff made my experience unforgettable and will always have a special place in my heart. Camp War Eagle truly shows that family is not only by blood, but how much love and support surrounds you.” - Clay Fleming, CWE Camp Counselor

"CWE was a massive step outside my comfort zone, like miles and miles outside it. And it’s the best thing I ever did. Through the staff, other counselors, and the freshmen I learned so much about myself and what I am capable of, and I matured so much from the experience. I am a far better man today because of CWE and the experience is something I’ll carry with me for the rest of my life.” - Travis Gajkowski, Camp Counselor

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Describe one of your favorite moments of Camp War Eagle/SOS.

“My favorite moment from Camp War Eagle was when a single mom of an incoming freshman told me how sad she was to send her daughter to college. She said that her daughter meant everything to her and that she was nervous their relationship would change once her daughter moved to Auburn, 3 states away. As the daughter of a single mom, I connected with her and explained what the college transition had been like for my relationship with my own mom. This conversation not only lead to this mom feeling more confident about sending her daughter to Auburn in the coming Fall, but it also opened up my eyes to the way my own mother probably felt when I moved to Auburn myself. In this moment, I truly felt like I was doing my job as a parent counselor, but also I learned something about myself and my mother in the process.” - Anna Lee Harbison, CWE Parent Counselor

“After nine months of adventures, laughter, and fun, it is almost near impossible to pick a single favorite moment from CWE. However, one recurring theme from all of my favorite moments has to have been the fact that any one of us could be sitting by someone whom we had never spoken with before and instantly find a connection. In CWE, we were trained how to break down barriers of awkwardness and taught how to truly invest ourselves into each other's lives and in the lives of our campers. CWE is a support system. Sometimes it will be that swing dancing partner during late night activities who will dance with you until the lights go out. At other times it will be the shoulders you can cry on when sad news comes your way. But at all times, CWE is a family. And every moment with that very special family was and will forever be my favorite.” - Mackenzie Horsefield, CWE Camp Counselor

“My favorite moment from CWE came the morning of session 1. After we finally finished the skit we had worked so hard on, we had to opportunity to say the Auburn Creed for the parents. Seeing some of the alumni in the audience get emotional at the creed made me realize how powerful it was, and I was overwhelmed with how great this university we were representing truly is. I felt a great deal of pride swelling within me, and as I looked around to my fellow Parent Counselors, I realized what all of our hard work really meant.” - Abby King, CWE Parent Counselor

“If I have to choose, one of my favorite moments from SOS was when I had an all-male group of engineers. Since we get our list of students the day before a session, I knew that the next day was going to be very hard because I did not think I would be able to relate to these guys.  On the morning of the session, during the first SGS, I felt like I was talking to a brick wall. Then out of nowhere these guys started to talk to each other and to me. The rest of the day I could not get them to stop talking! They were very engaged and I was able to talk to them about guy stuff like sports and movies. At the end of the session, they thanked me and were appreciative of all the help I had given them throughout the day. This was one of my favorite moments because the group that I thought I would not be able to relate to the most turned out to be my favorite group I have had during SOS.” - Alexandria Lawson, SOS Orientation Leader

“My favorite memory from SOS was not actually during my session, but afterwards when I had students on campus thanking me for all the help they got, how they felt like they were treated as a transfer student and not a freshman and the impact that made on their experience at SOS. That was always very rewarding and made me feel like not only was this job something I could look forward to and build relationships in, my students felt that they could too!” - Caitlin Miller, SOS Orientation Leader

“One of the things that I assumed about the people coming through CWE was that everyone was happy to be coming to Auburn. I never thought about the people who actually wanted to go somewhere else and for some reason or another had to come to Auburn. Well, on the way to scheduling one of my campers asked me if her credits would transfer to Georgia Tech after her freshmen year because she wanted to go there instead. So I made it my goal to make her fall in love with Auburn. My favorite moment from CWE occurred last week when she told me she would never leave. That's why I did the job and why I believe in Auburn and love it.” - Daniela Muñoz, CWE Camp Counselor

“By far, my favorite moment as a Camp War Eagle counselor has to be our MASSIVE dance party during session 8. The weather was awful and not only did the pep rally get canceled but the campers also were not able to make it over to the Student Center for the Real World skit. I was really concerned about what we could do to kill time for so long and how this would ultimately impact their memory of their CWE experience, but in this moment we truly proved that we could come together as a team and work through whatever obstacles are thrown at us. Before I knew it, we had the entire Foy Auditorium rocking! We got our campers up and out of their seats and hit the music! We wopped and wobbled and twerked it out for hours. I think I was more sweaty and exhausted that session than any others before it and I didn't even have to step outside. For a moment, we were not concerned about the schedule, skit lines, or the awful storm outside; we simply wanted our campers to have a great time and I don't think they could ever forget it. I know I won't!” - Dillon Nettles, CWE Camp Counselor

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Was it difficult to balance Camp War Eagle/SOS with other involvement?

“Truthfully, yes, SOS is a big time commitment. However, the preparation and practice that you put into the program equips you with an amazing level of confidence, enthusiasm, and knowledge that permeates SOS and affects other areas of your life as well! The work that I have done as an Orientation Leader has truly encouraged me to develop and perfect my interactions with people, my attitudes, and my desire to serve. SOS is a time commitment that you will give willingly and will look on as a challenge to be the best version of yourself.” - Kristen Portner, SOS Orientation Leader

“At times, CWE did require a lot of time whether with skit practice, training, or studying for Auburn knowledge tests. However, I did not find it too difficult to balance my time. You definitely must learn appropriate time allocation to balance multiple involvements in general, but I found that I still had time to study as well as enjoy my other organizations/involvements.” - Tori Rivers, CWE Camp Counselor

“As an SOS Orientation Leader, I found it extremely easy to balance my time between SOS, school, and other organizations I am involved in. The First Year Experience Staff does a wonderful job of using our time wisely, not only on session days but during training as well. I have never had difficulty with time management because of SOS; if anything, staff has taught me better time management.” - Krista Thompson, SOS Orientation Leader

“It was not difficult for me to balance CWE with other involvement. I understood CWE would be a time consuming commitment, and only got involved in other organizations if I knew for a fact I could balance them with CWE. Also, being involved with CWE gave me an opportunity to practice time management and balancing school work and involvement.” - Imani Tuggle, CWE Parent Counselor

“I kind of had to be honest with myself and prioritize my involvement. For me, CWE was the biggest commitment I had, so I prioritized it pretty high. Staff is really great about working you. They let you know what is expected way ahead of time so you know exactly what you're getting into when you apply. Do it! You won't regret it!” - Haley Turner, CWE Parent Counselor

“No, it wasn't tough to balance CWE and my other involvement. So much of what you learn through CWE is applicable to several other areas, not just in school but in life itself, which makes that part of the process a thousand times easier. Beyond that, I genuinely loved every second of training and I looked forward to each Tuesday. What might have started out as a lot of effort and something of a task quickly turned into something I was proud of and happy to do. By the end of the year, CWE was not only something I loved and was proud of, but a top priority as well, which made it that much easier to give my attention to.” - Maddie Yerant, CWE Camp Counselor

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