Laura Skladzinski was a first time CalEx volunteer in 2018. She lives in Boulder, CO and is a management consultant for PWC. She was recently elected as town trustee for Superior, CO.
Every year for the holidays Laura's former colleague Justine Lelchuk (a current ExCamps Board Member) puts out a newsletter where she promotes Experience Camps. Each time, Laura read the words "Best Week Ever" and felt intrigued. This year, one of Laura's best friend's mother died, and Laura decided attending Experience Camps would be the perfect way to honor her friend and get a better grasp on how to support her through one of the hardest times in her life.
Laura loved every minute of camp. She especially loved how everyone came together to make ExCamps a place of understanding for the kids. She was able to see a little bit of what her best friend had gone through, and that helped give her a better understanding on how she could be there for her when she got back home. Laura felt especially moved by the Bill of Rights grief activity. This activity showed her all the different things that grief is and can be - and how everyone can support that journey.
"From the very beginning I knew that ExCamps was a powerful place," Laura said. "It's such a diverse group of campers who all have had such different experiences - but share a connection that enables them to know exactly what each one might be feeling."
It was clear to Laura that these connections and memories spanned not only the week at camp, but also throughout the year.
"At the closing night bonfire, one of the campers said that last year her and her bunk mates exchanged phone numbers and started a group text. From the day they left camp they had a countdown for every day until the following year. It really made me realize what a special place had been created."
This year, Laura ran for Town Trustee in Superior, Colorado. Laura mentioned that she was constantly inspired by camp throughout her time on the campaign trail.
"The song THIS IS ME that I learned about at camp - that was something that I probably listened to 10 times a day when I was going through the campaign. I kept thinking about that and various lyrics. It really meant a lot to me. Campaigning is very stressful, but that song always makes me thinks of my strong campers and gives me hope."
Laura loved camp so much and can't wait for next year in our new camp in Michigan, MidwEx! "I'm so grateful that I get to help at the first year of this camp, and start creating new memories for so many kids!