Luisa Santana-Farias is so glad she took the advice from her brother-in-law and song leader Isaac Zones last year, which was: “Go work at Camp Tawonga!” It was a leap of faith to join the staff, as she barely knew anyone on her first day – but now, several sessions into the summer, Luisa is thrilled to be working as a Tawonga counselor.
Luisa loves working closely with so many campers as a Unit Counselor in the Chalutzim this session. During the year, Luisa studies education and Chicano studies at Laney College in Oakland and plans to teach after school. Read on for some highlights from our first Staff Spotlight series of the summer!
Why did you come to Camp this summer?
“I was a camper six years ago, but my brother-in-law, Isaac Zones, really encouraged me to apply. This was the last summer for a while where I could try something fun and out of my comfort zone. Isaac is really the reason I’m here.”
(Thanks Isaac for the recruiting help!)
What are you taking away from your job as a counselor?
“The main reason I came to Camp was to understand kids a little bit more and to see if teaching is really what I want to do, and it definitely still is. I’m not really teaching in a sense, but I feel like Camp Tawonga is teaching me how to be all these things at once and still connect with the kids on on many different levels. I am so excited to be able to take that into my teaching.”
What is a highlight from this summer so far?
“You don’t know how smart and intuitive kids are until you get to know them. I had one camper during A Taste of Camp who said, ‘Wow, this place is so beautiful, it’s really conducive to poetry.’ She was eight years old, and I responded, ‘What? Do you write poetry?’ This camper had actually just written her first poem. Kids are wise beyond their years.”
What do you love about your job?
“It’s really special to see kids participate for the first time in activities, like dancing with Keren and Jazzercize or drama games with Dylan, especially when they don’t do these things normally in their daily lives. You can totally see them finding themselves as they get comfortable in the activity, and not being afraid of getting into it.”
Thank you Luisa for sharing your Tawonga staff experience! Camp is very lucky to have you on our team this summer.
Tawonga’s Staff Spotlight series showcases different members of Camp’s staff and the amazing work they do with campers. Click here to check out past Staff Spotlight posts.