Groovy Summer Edition: Meet Your 2020 Unit Specialists

Summer camp is finally here, and although we might be doing things a little differently this year, our summer leadership staff is just as excited to kick off ESP’s Groovy Summer! Unique, motivated, and compassionate, these team members are the perfect leaders to represent ESP and make the most of camp for everyone involved! Here’s a rundown on our 2020 site managers and unit specialists so that you can get to know their friendly faces! 

Say Hello to Charlie (Emma)

Emma, known around ESP by her nickname Charlie, is so excited to take on her first leadership role this summer! Charlie will be boogin’ with the blue team at the Bethlehem Bishop campsite as a unit specialist. Charlie started volunteering at ESP in 2018 after hearing about it through people in her cohort at UGA. She worked at summer camp for the first time last year, and jumped on the opportunity to do it again! One of Charlie’s favorite camp memories is seeing her buddy have a blast at a color war on Fun Friday, even though she painted Charlie more than anyone else! Charlie loves how inclusive ESP is because everyone is able to participate in camp, no matter their age or abilities! She just graduated from the University of Georgia, and now has a B.S.Ed. in Special Education (Adapted). In the future, Charlie hopes to be either a special education teacher or a Board Certified Behavior Analyst so that she can work with kids just like those at ESP! 

Say Hello to Matt

After graduating from the University of Georgia this semester with a degree in Special Education, Matt says he’s going to be “bringing the camp energy” this summer as a site manager at Crossroads with team purple! Matt started his journey at ESP six years ago, and has been working here for two! Helping others is extremely important to Matt, and he feels that his purpose in life is to serve those with disabilities in any way he can. Some of his favorite memories over the years include participating in a salon class at CTL overnight camp with his all-boys cabin, and witnessing a belly flop competition at Legion Pool! This year, Matt is looking forward to Fun Fridays because everybody “gets to be a part of the ESP family for a day and just experience a glimpse of the love and joy that we have with one another.” When Matt isn’t working at ESP, he’s doing magic tricks, DJing, brushing up on his Spanish, or hosting bachelor nights so that all of the ESP staff members can spend quality time together!

Say Hello to Kayla

Joining us for her first summer camp is Kayla! Kayla just finished her freshman year studying adapted special education at the University of Georgia, and is hoping to get her master’s degree in applied behavioral analysis after graduation. She couldn’t be more ready to hype up the whole crew at Camp Hooray on the green team as a unit specialist this summer! Kayla developed a passion for working with individuals with disabilities after participating in several programs similar to ESP growing up. When she started at UGA, Kayla was motivated to find somewhere near campus where she could continue her involvement. Kayla discovered ESP and absolutely fell in love with it after attending 360, and now she can’t stay away! This summer, Kayla is looking forward to experiencing Flag and skits for the first time, and implementing her fun ideas into the classes she’s leading. Fun fact about Kayla is she did All Star competitive cheerleading for eight years!

Say Hello to Chloe

Chloe is excited to start her 8th summer at ESP as a unit specialist for team yellow at our Bethlehem Winder campsite! Over the years, Chloe has loved taking advantage of all of the new and unique opportunities that ESP offers, and has been able to grow her confidence, skill set, and friend group. This summer, she is looking forward to bonding and building relationships with the new campers and her fellow staff members. Chloe is passionate about the deaf community and loves performing the ASL version of her favorite camp song, “Little Red Wagon!” She is currently a student at the University of Georgia and is majoring in adapted special education. Her favorite animal is the manatee, which she likes to refer to as the “sea cow,” because “they’re not traditionally pretty… they’re just themselves, and the way they are is beautiful!” 

Say Hello to Grant

Grant just graduated from UGA this May with a B.S.Ed. in Special Education. He is eagerly anticipating to start his roles as a site manager at Camp Hooray! Grant first heard about ESP six years ago after attending a recital at 360 where one of our camp directors, Jake, encouraged him to apply for a summer job. He’s been coming back ever since! Grant has a profound appreciation for ESP’s ability to accept, inspire, and impact the lives of everyone involved. He loves being able to share in his camper’s new experiences, like going down the waterslide at the pool for the first time or trying horseback riding! His favorite camp song is the “Beaver Song,” and one of his favorite ESP memories is when he and a group of friends got to dress up as the Ice Age characters on a Fun Friday! As a 6w5 enneagram type, Grant is very independent, but he says that ESP is teaching him how to work in a team. An interesting fact about Grant is that he’s double jointed in both arms! 

Say Hello to McKenzie

McKenzie can’t wait to see all of her favorite people again this summer! She has been involved at ESP for five years now, and has been working here for four. McKenzie first participated in Big Hearts in 2014, and has done 360, NKA and club events, and summer camp since then. This summer, she is looking forward to being a unit specialist at our Crossroads location! McKenzie loves her ESP family and the feeling of “togetherness” she gets at camp. She says that one of the best experiences she’s ever had was being buddies with camper Kyla at NKA CTL in 2018 because it was both of their first times participating in overnight camp. McKenzie just finished her sophomore at Dahlonega as a psychology major minoring in criminal justice. In the future, McKenzie thinks it would be awesome to be a criminal profiler. She loves sitcoms, especially “Sabrina the Teenage Witch,” and her favorite camp song is the “Moose Song!”

Say Hello to Nora

This summer, Nora will be a unit specialist for team red at Athens Church! Nora volunteered at ESP for the first time back in 2012 at the Fall Festival, and loved it so much that she participated in Big Hearts in 2014. Nora says she has been at almost every ESP event since then! Her favorite thing about camp is that everyone becomes a big family, and every summer, Nora looks forward to meeting new campers and staff because it’s like getting a whole new set of best friends! Nora’s favorite ESP memories are always from CTL because it’s so unique every time, and it provides everyone with opportunities to get close to their buddies. She says that overall, camp is just magical! Nora’s favorite camp song is “Blue” because her best friend Blue and her get to go into the circle, sing, dance, and jump around! She is a rising junior at UGA, and is majoring in special education. After graduation, Nora is interested in attending occupational therapy school. Nora is a vegetarian and loves Taylor Swift!

Say Hello to Tyler

Tyler is a graduate from the University of Georgia with a B.S.Ed. in Special Education! He is currently in school pursuing a B.A. in Spanish and an Assistant Behavior Analyst certification. Tyler is no stranger to ESP’s summer camp! He has been a counselor before, and has participated in many other ESP activities, such as ESPlaces and Big Hearts. ESP is very close to home for Tyler, as his mother, Gina, is our Director of Operations! Tyler’s brother, Clete, is also involved in ESP as a participant. Tyler says he is so passionate about ESP because he gets to see the impact the programs have on his brother firsthand. He loves seeing Clete interact with others, build relationships, and be shown real love by everyone at ESP. He says that he loves “giving back to a place that gives back to my family.” Tyler’s favorite ESP memory is having a participant run to embrace him all the way from across the room! Tyler is an enneagram type 2, which means that he’s extremely caring and empathetic towards others and their needs. This summer, Tyler will be a site manager at the ESP main building on team orange! 

Say Hello to Grace

This will be Grace’s sixth summer at ESP! She will be joining the orange team as a unit specialist at the ESP main building. Grace just finished her freshman year at the University of Georgia as a double major in biology and psychology. One of her favorite events at ESP is Big Hearts because it’s so fun to see people show off their talents, although she always becomes emotional! Grace is so excited to be back at camp and see friendships blossom between staff, volunteers, and campers this summer. She is especially looking forward to Flag and singing her favorite camp songs, “Black Socks” and “Milk.” In her free time, Grace loves watching cop shows, like “Law & Order,” and says she would be an investigator if she didn’t want to be a doctor!

This fantastic team is looking forward to serving you all summer long! They are ready for a summer full of fun, excitement, and growth!