Last Friday CAA participated as a host site for Dubuque Days of Caring, welcoming over 60 generous volunteers from John Deere, Coca-Cola and Alliant Energy to assist with projects around the grounds. We put together this update for you to share out the projects that were completed! CAA is so grateful to the volunteers who came out to Camp, the coordinators of Dubuque Days of Caring, and staff members who coordinated the volunteer efforts. Here's what we updated!
Cassi Banwarth, Director of Programming
To welcome Cassi to the team full time and introduce her to all of our campers, caregivers and supporters we decided to interview her! Cassi has been working for camp in a similar role part-time since December, and has recently transitioned to full time.
How long have you worked for Camp?
"Since 2012. I started as a counselor for 3 summers, had to miss 2 summers, but continued to help with respite weekends throughout the year. I came back last summer as the arts and crafts instructor, and then stayed on after the summer with an internship through my undergraduate program at UNI. Now I am full time in the office as the Director of Programming."
How did you first learn about Camp?
"When I was in high school, I did independent studies with the Special Education Program and had known since I was 11 I wanted to work with people with special needs, so when it came to looking for a summer job, I wanted to find a position in the field where I could have 1:1 experience with persons with special needs. Sherrill is close to my hometown of Dubuque, so I thought it would be a great place for me!"
How has Camp Albrecht Acres helped you in your personal/career development?
"When I first started at Camp I was 18, a Special Education major, and didn't think about having a career in Family Services. I had no experience in personal care needs, or group/residential care; I had only worked with persons with special needs 8am-3pm in school. I was able to learn a more 360 degree view about life with special needs. My time at camp helped me grow up and become independent. At camp I had to make decisions and live independently for the first time. Since beginning my internship in August of 2017, I have been able to see the administrative side of camp, and all the behind-the-scenes work it takes for camp to run smoothly."
What advice to you have for someone who is joining the Albrecht Acres team?
"Be prepared for your life to change. You'll gain friendships with campers and counselors you never imagined. Come in with an open mind and be prepared to learn, lots!"
What are 3 words you'd use to describe CAA?
"Life-changing; Inclusive; Wonderful."
What do you find most challenging about your job? Most rewarding?
"Most challenging- Hiring seasonal staff, because it's hard to find people willing to do this extensive of a job.
Most rewarding- seeing how excited campers get arriving for their week of camp on Sundays! When campers I haven't seen in a few years remember me and parts of my life I've shared with them. It shows how much this one week of camp means to them and how impactful staff at CAA can be."
What is your proudest moment at CAA?
"Getting this full time position. When I was 18 I never would have thought I could make a full time, potentially lifetime position here. This place has taken me in as part of their family and that's what makes me most proud."
Thanks for sharing with us, Cassi, and thanks for all you do for CAA!
Staff Members of Camp Albrecht Acres update this blog with press releases and information about camp events, camper stories, and community pride. If you have any stories you'd like to add, please email them to firstname.lastname@example.org for review.