Alumni Spotlight - Kasey Waller
Emma was a camper from 2006-2017 and served on summer staff in 2017 & 2018 as sailing staff.
We asked Kasey what her favorite memories from camp were, & how her faith grew while she was at camp. This is what she had to say:
"Teaching campers how to sail and going on sailing trips to some of the coolest places in North Carolina. Camp Don Lee is a place where you can come and worship together with your friends and share Gods love with one another. When I would leave camp each summer I would always come home talking nonstop about the place that God loves best (I still do). Camp Don Lee helped me grow in my faith in ways that I could have never imagined."
After graduating from East Carteret High School in 2017, Kasey enlisted in the United States Marine Corps. She has now been in the Marine Corps for almost 4 years and she is currently based at the Marine Corps base in Quantico, Virginia.Kasey operates the radios and communication devices on the helicopters while they are flying."
We asked Kasey how her work experiences at camp prepared her for the roles she is in today, this was what she said:
"In the Marine Corps everyone is a leader no matter the rank, and because of the lessons I learned as an LIT and on summer staff I have been able to grow into a stronger leader. Another lesson I hold dear to me is the lesson of how friends can turn into family. After my many years at Don Lee I have made many life long friends that I will cherish forever."
We thank you Kasey for your many years of faithful and devoted service to this ministry! Sail on Sailor!
Alumni Spotlight - Emma Brown
Emma served on summer staff as a counselor and as head female counselor.
We asked Emma what her favorite memories from camp were, & how her faith grew while she was at camp. This is what she had to say:
"My favorite memory was when I was counseling mariners during our Cape Lookout trip! We made pizzas and then spent the rest of the sunset on the beach, it was a great memory I will always cherish. My faith experience at camp is what helped to shape my faith into what it is today, I have always felt most connected to God when at camp. During my favorite memory on the beach at Cape Lookout, I was in awe at his creation from the beach to the sunset and how he brought our entire group together for those three weeks. I saw God every day through those kids and that night at Cape Lookout was really a transformational night for our group and their faith. We had a great deep vespers that night on the beach and I was really able to see how God was working through all of the kids and staff, including myself, to create something greater than all of us."
After graduating from East Carolina University in 2021, Emma now works as a Neonatal Intensive Care Nurse in Durham, NC.
We asked Emma how her work experiences at camp prepared her for the roles she is in today, this was what she said:
"Working with a wide array of ages in children, staff and communicating with parents allowed me to develop my team work skills and communication skills both of which are important skills to have when working as a nurse. The leadership and professional skills I developed at camp have also helped me in my career as a nurse."
We thank you Emma for your many years of faithful and devoted service to this ministry! Sail on Sailor!
Alumni Spotlight - Julia Royall Johnson
Julia served on summer staff as the Spiritual Life Specialist in 2017, then also served here and there the following years.
We asked Julia what her favorite memories from camp were, this is what she had to say:
"My favorite part of my working experience at camp was always the camper lead worships. I often helped them as part of the worship team. I have so many vivid memories of these campers really pouring their hearts into leading worship for all of camp. One group used the song "Sky Full of Stars" as a worship anthem and every time I hear that song my heart is warmed and I cannot help but smile. My favorite memory was sleeping on the pier! Is is still one of my favorite things to do (when I get a chance)"
Julia now serves as Director of Youth and Children's Ministry at Ann Street United Methodist Church in Beaufort. She also serves as Sound District Youth Coordinator for the North Carolina Conference, the conference in which Don Lee is located. Julia is still very much involved with camp, bringing her youth on retreats & working with fellow Don Lee staff on various projects.
We asked Julia how her work experiences at camp prepared her for the roles she is in today, this was what she said:
"Youth ministry is similar to camp ministry. We both serve a wide age range, both are I am caring for the spiritual needs of these children and their families. I have used my camp experience more than any other education or tool I have ever had. At camp you have the opportunity to adjust your programing and see results almost immediately. I was able to refine so many skills in the short 3 months of camp that would taken years in the real world ministry setting."
We thank you Julia for your many years of faithful and devoted service to this ministry! Sail on Sailor!
Alumni Spotlight - Ward Sylvester
Ward served on summer staff from 2014-2019 as a counselor, sailing staff, and LIT coordinator. Ward was a camper from a very early age attending family camp all the way up until he graduated from LITs in 2013.
We asked Ward what his favorite memories from camp were, this is what he had to say:
"ONE of my favorite memories at Camp (there are too many to count), was a rest period. Support staff had our hour off. The wind was HONKING. Laney, the sail master at the time, said we could take some Flying Scots out. So about 6 of us sailing staff put on our lifejackets and ran down the pier to rig up the scots. We had the time of our lives, playing chicken, follow the leader, heeling, talking on the radio, and sailing with our rudders up. An hour I will never forget. But I have also had my favorite memory at Camp on the Blacktop, swimming in pond, singing in the Dining Hall, listening to the river at Vesper Dale, sleeping in my tent, the list goes on and on."
After graduating from Ole Miss in 2019 he now resides in Charlotte, NC where he owns his own trucking company.
We asked Ward how his work experiences at camp prepared him for the roles he is in today, this was what he said:
"Leadership - Everyday I have people that look to me for solutions, advice, and moral support. Camp does a great job putting young minds in situations that require them to lead by example.
The Social Aspect - I have learned that every part of almost every job requires you to communicate well with other people. Going to Camp, you are surrounded by extraordinarily different minds that create an environment where you gain experience working through difficult situations with all types of people. Keep it light, but work hard - Camp taught me that we should enjoy the "bad" things. Being an LIT is something that, if you explain to any outsider, sounds like torture, but we wouldn't trade it for the world. My thanks goes to Camp for realizing that a smile or laugh with someone is sometimes all you need to keep working toward a goal.
Creativity - Thinking outside the box is expected at Camp. From silly games to intense challenges, finding creative solutions is welcomed and applauded.
Community - The Camp community is unrivaled and is something with which I am infinitely proud to be connected.
Faith - I know that I have never felt closer to God than when in the Fellowship Hall, CLC, Vesper Dale, and sometimes, the Dining Hall. Camp is a place that offers time with God wherever you are and with other believers, in both small and large group settings."
We thank you Ward for your many years of faithful and devoted service to this ministry! Sail on Sailor!
Alumni Spotlight - Anna Britt Harty Knight
Anna Britt served on summer staff from 2013-2015 as a counselor and sailing staff, head counselor 2016, and Voyages coordinator 2017.
We asked Anna Britt what her favorite memories from camp were, this is what she had to say:
"Diving into deeper faith related topics during Vespers on overnight sailing trips was a highlight!"
After graduating from Appalachian State University in 2017 with a degree in Special Education, she is now living and teaching in Durham, NC.
We asked Anna Britt how her work experiences at camp prepared her for the roles she is in today, this was what she said:
"Working at camp gave me priceless experiences that taught me how to listen to, validate, and empower young people. From team building on the challenge course to leading capers, Don Lee has showed me how to build community out of a group/classroom. I know that my experiences at camp have made me a better teacher, leader, and teammate."
We thank you Anna Britt for your many years of faithful and devoted service to this ministry! Sail on Sailor!
Alumni Spotlight - Nick Kirby
Nick was a Don Lee camper for many years before serving on summer staff from 2016-2019 as a counselor, lifeguard, LIT coordinator, and sailing staff.
We asked Nick what his favorite memories from camp were, this is what he had to say:
"My favorite part/memory of camp is every second I got to be at camp. From the moment I set foot on Camp Don Lee’s ground, the many dances, Fourth of July celebrations, caper cheers, overnight trips, four square games, to when I left. When I was at Don Lee I could do nothing but breathe in everything it had to offer. However, if I had to put it to one thing, it of course would be all the people that made Don Lee amazing:)"
After graduating from High Point University in 2021 he is now living in Greenville, NC while working on getting his masters in chemistry. He is currently getting paid as a research assistant conducting his own lab work, of which he has published in a scientific journal just recently.
We asked Nick how his work experiences at camp prepared him for the roles he is in today, this was what he said:
"Camp has prepared me for my current life in many ways! Although it didn’t teach me what it mean to be a scientist, it taught be how to talk to others, how to be a leader that inspires others to overcome challenges, and how to communicate with a team effectively."
We thank you Nick for your many years of faithful and devoted service to this ministry! Sail on Sailor!
Alumni Spotlight - Genevieve Nadler Brooks
Genevieve served on summer staff as a Lifeguard, Sailing staff, counselor, LIT coordinator, & Adventure & Challenge course coordinator. She returned to camp for a full time position as the Summer Program Director. Genevieve’s favorite memory of camp is leading camp-wide field games and doing character skits to host talent shows and Sunday night live!
Genevieve graduated from Appalachian State in 2010, and is now living in Raleigh with her family and is the director of youth ministry at White Memorial Presbyterian Church.
We asked Genevieve how her work experiences at camp prepared her for the roles she is in today, this was what she said:
"My work experience at Camp Don Lee was the best preparation for work in youth ministry that I could have received. Learning how to engage a wide variety of ages from children to teens as well as their parents was a huge benefit of camp ministry. Leading trips taught me how preparedness and pivoting are a function of hospitality and building beloved community. Teaching archery and sailing showed me how crucial building competency is to building confidence. Facilitating groups of campers to lead worship taught me the value of lay leadership and authenticity in worship in contrast to stage management and word-smithing. Being a part of a summer staff taught me accountability to my peers and co-workers. I learned the importance of communicating and advocating for myself and my own needs while balancing the needs and gifts of my co-workers. I learned the value of a positive attitude in the face of challenges and how a spirit of volunteerism can be contagious in group dynamics. I learned some amazing skills in distraction and singing songs and how silliness can break down barriers and build relationships. I learned risk assessment and risk management and how important bathroom breaks can be. I learned how enthusiasm, trust and leadership are powerful tools that need to be treated with care. I learned that spiritual practices can be powerful when woven into daily rhythms like morning watch, giving thanks at meals and nightly devotions. I learned how pausing to practice presence can cultivate deep gratitude because the time at camp flew by faster than I could have ever imagined."
We thank you Genevieve for your many years of faithful and devoted service to this ministry! Sail on Sailor!
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