Staff Spotlight

Staff Spotlight: Specialist and Counselor In-Training Leader, Elias Newman

Today’s Staff Spotlight was written by Julia Rose K., one of Camp Tawonga’s Specialists’ In-Training.  As you will read in her piece, the Specialist and Counselor In-Training (SCIT) program is designed to give professional growth to teens who not only want to learn what it takes to be staff members at Camp Tawonga, but also are looking to hone other skills.  Julia Rose, who is passionate about journalism, has been collobarating with the The Pipeline to write a Staff Spotlight on one of her SCIT leaders, Elias Newman.  We hope you enjoy learning more about the SCIT program!


Department: Specialist and Counselor In-Training Leader

Years at camp: Two

Favorite camp breakfast: Soy yogurt!

Favorite Yosemite Backpacking Trip: Ten Lakes

Being a positive role model has always been important to Specialist and Counselor In Training (SCIT) Leader, Elias Newman. Last year was his first year at Tawonga — so for Elias, the community he found here was a perfect place to hone his leadership skills.

“Camp has helped me realize that community falls above all else,” Elias said. “It’s given me the feeling that I play an important role in a community where I give to others and the giving is reciprocated.”

Elias believes that the SCIT program is an invaluable opportunity for teens to be empowered and learn the value of integrity when working with children.

“Camp has taught me that you can make anything fun, and that you need to be accountable for your actions — it’s about being able to make someone’s life either easier,” Elias shared.

That belief has had a major influence on the way in which he mentors the SCITs. Here at Camp Tawonga, we refer to this concept as either being a “ripple” or a “domino”. A ripple is an action that spreads positivity throughout the community while a domino does the contrary. A major aspect of the SCIT program is to gently guide teens to be responsible, self-sufficient, and to be great team members. This training allows teens to be ripples in the community.

“Smiles are contagious… on the other hand actions have repercussions that negatively affect others. I think growing up is about realizing accountability for one’s actions, and that’s what I really try to teach the SCITs,” Newman shared.

In order to instill these values in our campers, we do activities that incorporate these ideas. Additionally, the SCIT leaders often facilitate discussions which help us understand these topics.

“It’s my job to make sure that the quietest voices are heard,” Elias explained. “I’m all about teaching my campers that actions and consequences are good things because they can teach you your ability to make an impact on the world.”

Thank you, Elias, for your commitment to campers at Tawonga. Stay tuned for more Staff Spotlights in the coming weeks.


Below are a few photos of activities throughout the day. Look out for more photos later this evening!
Staff Spotlight is a series on The Pipeline blog featuring staff members from a broad range of departments here at Camp Tawonga. Tune in every week to learn more.