UC Davis Today
Dispatched on a foreign assignment
By Julia Ann Easley
The mission: Bring more laughter and learning to children on military bases. The tactic: summer day camps. The theater: Europe and Asia.
Olivia Strohman and Grace Lee are two of 31 UC Davis students and recent graduates who enlisted with the nonprofit Camp Adventure to carry out just that mission.
"Working with Camp Adventure has been an amazing experience," said Strohman, who graduated with a degree in human development and a minor in education in June.
Established by the University of Northern Iowa, the program trains and dispatches about 900 university students and recent graduates to help at child care centers and run summer camps at U.S. military bases, British garrisons and U.S. embassies in 80 countries.
Strohman has worked as a counselor at an American base in Italy and this summer was director of the camp at the Javelin Barracks of the British army in Elmpt, Germany.
She and Lee, who also graduated in June with a double major in English and communications, planned and ran the camp activities — including singing, games, and arts and crafts — for about 25 children age 4 to 7.
The UC Davis students — most majoring in human development — signed up through the Internship and Career Center and took about 40 hours of training here at home with fellow program participants from Sacramento State University. In exchange for their service, they received airfare, housing and a stipend, and they had weekends free for travel.
Strohman signed up for Camp Adventure to help her prepare to become a teacher. "It's amazing to be able to work with such wonderful kids during the week and then get to travel the world on the weekends."
For Lee, who plans on a career in law, it was a way to learn more about her world. "I love working with children," she said. "Being able to do it with children from another country with a different cultural background has been an interesting and educational experience."
Kerry Kirby, whose husband is a communications systems analyst for the Royal Signals regiment, said her son Dylan loved his new UC Davis friends and came home from the camp singing lots of new songs. "He had a great time and looked forward to going back the next day."
Julia Ann Easley of Strategic Communications writes about student life, undergraduate education and more.
On the home plage: UC Davis graduates Grace Lee ’14, in left and center photos, and Olivia Strohman ’14, right, ran a Camp Adventure day camp for children at the Javelin Barracks of the British army in Elmpt, Germany, this summer. Photos by Olivia Strohman and Grace Lee.