Swim instructor comes full circle
The pleasant childhood memories can help determine a person’s life and career.
Rose Wilson, 24, learned to swim via Camp Adventure Child and Youth Services on Camp Foster in the 1990s. She joined the same program five years ago to given back to military community at various military installations in Kwajalein Atoll, Germany, Italy the Netherlands and Bahrain. After 18 years, she came back last month to Camp Foster where it all began to be a Camp Adventure project coordinator.
Wilson’s mother, retired Petty Officer 1st class Royann Wilson of San Jose, Calif., reminisces that her daughter mentioned Camp Adventure during her first year of college, and she reminded that it was where she learned to swim. “She’s been in the program ever since,” Wilson said. “Life does come full circle.”
Q: What made you get involved the Camp Adventure?
A: My mother retired with the U.S. Navy with 30 years, during that time she was stationed in Okinawa. She signed me up for swim lessons with Camp Adventure at the Foster 50 for the summers of 1993, 1994, and 1995. The counselors who taught the lessons were from University of Northern Iowa and part of the Camp Adventure program. Camp Adventure has given me a chance to give back to the military community, and change lives like the counselors did for me all those summers ago.
Q: What exactly is Camp Adventure Youth Service?
A: Camp Adventure Child and Youth Services is a service learning programming. Year round, we provide support to school age programs and child development centers; during the summer we also provide learn-to-swim programs. College students across the country, participate in a staff development program that provides the tools to successfully work with children on military bases. They learn songs, games, conflict resolutions, and arts and crafts. For 30 years, Camp Adventure has provided the military with quality programming and dedicated counselors who want to make a difference.
Q: What do you do as a Camp Adventure project coordinator?
A: I supervise the 16 day camp counselors and three day camp directors that run the Child, Youth, and Teen (CYTP) summer programs. During the summer, Camp Adventure supports the school age programs at various military bases and embassies around the world. During the day we provide activities for the children such as songs, games, and arts and crafts. In addition to mentoring new leaders for Camp Adventure, my role as a supervisor is to make sure that our counselors are providing the best programming and support to military personnel and their families. I also serve as the liaison between our military point of contact and Camp Adventure headquarters in Cedar Falls, Iowa.
Q: How does it feel to be back?
A: It is surreal to be back in Okinawa after 18 years. Since I left when I was six, sometimes I feel like my memories are not very strong, but being able to see Camp Foster has really brought back memories. The thing that I remember the most about Foster are all the hills, although I think that they seemed a bit bigger when I was a child. One of the best moments this summer was when I went back to the Foster 50. I felt like I had never left. I feel very lucky to be back on this beautiful island.
A few weekends ago I tried to find my old home, and although I couldn’t find the house number 620 B, I did see 618 B, and I think I could see the old house around the corner. It was probably one of the best moments of the summer. It felt great to find it, but of course the moment was bittersweet. Okinawa, and Foster like any other areas are constantly changing, so the housing area was overgrown and looked a little lonely. I don’t mind it too much though; things will always change, but at least you have memories.
Know someone whose accomplishments, talents, job, hobby, volunteer work, awards or good deeds qualify them for 15 minutes of fame? How about someone whose claim to glory is a bit out of the ordinary – even, dare we say, oddball? If so, nominate them here.
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