This week I was finally able to see the BBBS-run camp: Camp Oty-Okwa. The camp is 777 acres of beautiful land in Hocking Hills, OH. The majority of the kids at camp are victims of crime or have overcome an adversity that landed them there. However, word of mouth often lands a variety of children at Camp Oty’Okwa every year which creates a unique environment and experience for the kids. My favorite part of the camp is that the total cost to send a child there is $475. However, on the application, there is a space to discuss how much you can afford to pay to send your child, and what your home/financial situation looks like. The camp director, Rick Perkins, gave the example that last week, a mother arrived with her two children and bravely admitted she only had $50 to send the kids to camp for the week, and they were accepted with open arms.
The trip to camp was actually a “Board and Leadership Retreat”, meaning it was me, The Intern, and all of the BBBS central Ohio board and BBBS leadership staff. At the beginning of the summer this may have been an intimidating endeavor, but I was excited to finally get to see the camp and meet the board members that are instrumental in the impact our organization has on the community.
We ended up hitting an accident on the way up that inhibited us from doing an actual hike at camp, but we still walked around, saw the facilities, and even interacted with some kids that were at camp this week. It was great to see the space with some of our board members for the first time. Many of them asked about me and my experience and expressed genuine interest in my professional journey (I even got a couple business cards!). The retreat concluded with a brainstorming session about the things we are doing as an organization and how we can be doing them better. With “growth mindset” being a core value at BBBS, they are always reflecting and asking themselves and their stakeholders “How can we improve?”
Overall, the retreat was a success and I am feeling sad about the impending end to this experience. With that being said, there have been conversations amongst my supervisor, the President and CEO, and some other colleagues I worked with closely about the possibility of finding a place for me in BBBS to make this home for the fall. I am excited to see what is to come!