A Story About an Absolutely Incredible Kid.
Nicole Pate is someone we have known for many years, and she remains a part of the Camp Fire Alaska family. As a kid, Nicole attended Camp Si-La-Meo for 4 years and Camp K for 10 years. She then transitioned into a staff role, in which she had the pleasure of working as a ‘Leader In Training’ for two summers at Camp Si-La-Meo and as a Camp Si-La-Meo counselor for three summers.
When Nicole reflects on her plethora of Camp Fire experiences, she says her favorite is from Summer 2018:
“when I worked with my group of caterpillars (5 year-olds), we would often go for nature walks around Alaska Pacific University. I loved how they would always get so excited about every pretty flower they saw, which was every flower including dandelions. They always would say hello to every dog that passed by and they genuinely all seemed to find peace from nature. Because of this, I constantly try to remind myself of the peacefulness I experienced with this group of kiddos and how much fun we had on our weekly nature walks.”
The positive role models that Nicole found at camp warmly welcomed her every day and made sure she was included in every conversation; she always felt a part of the team and she always felt that she belonged at Camp Fire. It was those role models that inspired Nicole to become a counselor who was the same positive role model for future campers to look up to.
Nicole is now a 21 year old senior at Northern Arizona University majoring in Exercise Science and minoring in Disability Studies. She graduates in a few short months! Nicole’s biggest passion is children and even after she was no longer working directly with children, she has found other ways to pursue that passion and continue youth engagement. You may be wondering how she continues to be involved in Camp Fire…
Well, she was invited to join the National Board for Camp Fire as an active participant during all National Board meetings. She enthusiastically accepted the offer and responsibility of the role. She functions as the Chair for the Youth Advisory Cabinet (YAC) and provides a reports and communications about the work and discussions held by YAC members. She facilitates monthly phone calls between all of the youth members and works to ensure that youth voice is heard at the National level.
“I wanted to stay involved with Camp Fire over the years because Camp Fire has had such a positive impact on my life as a youth, young adult and program leader. Going to Camp Fire as a child provided me with a safe space to find my interests, make friends, grow as a leader and pursue my passions. I love Camp Fire’s mission and wanted a way to continue to promote that mission in my adult life. I also felt that becoming involved on the national level with Camp Fire would provide me with a different experience than I had ever had before and something that not many youth get to experience.”
Joanne Phillips-Nutter, who has been with Camp Fire Alaska for 12 years, is the Senior Director of Development and Marketing. She expressed, “I’ve known Nicole and her family for a long time, I watched her grow up. It is a powerful thing to see a young person grow and thrive in the way that Nicole has. You know, that’s what Camp Fire is all about—helping kids find their spark and doing so in a way that really lets them shine bright. I’m so proud of her for seeing an opportunity and taking it.”
When we asked Nicole, “If you could tell a current Camp Fire youth one thing, what would it be?” she answered,
“If I could tell current Camp Fire youth one thing, I would tell them to never stop following your dreams. There is always a way to accomplish your goals and find ways to incorporate your passions into your current life.”
Be that empowering presence for a kid in your life; tell them they are incredible!