What’s it like to envision and collaborate on camp year-round, then visit in the summer to see how your work directly impacts others? Hear from our VP of SoCal Operations, Sarah McDonald, on one of her best camp memories of 2018. Spoiler alert: courage is front and center.


Ever have pause moments? I call them “pause moments” because they’re the ones that slow down time for a second and you think, “I’m going to remember this forever.”

When I think about this past summer, the pause moment that stands out most is one from Camp Galileo Burbank. I was standing in the storage container (that’s normal right?) chatting with a few staffers when one said, “You have to go and see Josh teach his next rotation. He’s truly incredible.”

Bristol [Posatko—one of our SoCal Area Directors—] and I shot over to Josh’s room. As we pushed open the heavy metal door to the gym, his voice rang out as he turned up the volume on Spanish Flea by Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass.

The kids sang. They bounced. They giggled. “Hello to my fabulous green Stars. Welcome to your outdoor rotation! On this fine Friday, all of our games will focus our minds on being courageous.”

Fast forward to the end of Josh’s rotation, when he closed out the week with the Stars (a.k.a. 1st & 2nd graders at Camp Galileo) by sharing how proud he had been to be their leader, and how much their skills as innovators had evolved through their courage and collaboration.

The campers beamed. And—of course—giggled some more.

Afterward, Josh shared with me how much the summer had meant to him. He said that he’s been trying to get his multi-subject teaching credential, but he hasn’t been able to pass the CSET. “Each time I take it and don’t pass, it knocks me down a little. I have to work my way back to it. Coming here to teach at camp fills me back up so that I can get back out there and try again. You know, I just really wish they could see my flag ceremony.”

Ultimate pause moment—for so many reasons. Here was a person who was experiencing exactly what he was teaching.

He’d grown so much in the last four years at Galileo, with the incredible support of his camp team. During summer, he tried out new approaches, while cultivating joy and innovation in kids. That experience gave him the courage and determination he needed to go out and try again in the larger world, instead of seeing failure as an endpoint. And once he passes that CSET, look out. He’s going to do a whole lot of good out in the world.


Know other courageous changemakers who’d make a great fit for our summer team? We’re now hiring for over 2,500 camp positions!