UC Davis Today

  • A female camp leader and two boys playing with a ball

    Thirty UC Davis students and graduates create summer fun at military bases around the world through Camp Adventure.

  • A female camp leader looking over a boy drawing with crayons

    Olivia Strohman '14, here with Dylan Hudson-Kirby, runs a kids camp at a British army base in Elmpt, Germany.

  • A female camp leader looking at a boy's craft project

    Grace Lee '14, pictured with Conor McArthur, helps at the same Javelin Barracks day camp.

  • A female camp leader and children painting paper plates

    Training back home prepares the students to be responsible for some 25 children and lead activities.

  • A female camp leader giving a thumbs up to a boy's painting project

    Strohman signals her approval of Conor's start on turning a paper plate into a lion's head.

  • A female camp leader and two boys playing soccer

    The children have lots of energy for sports.

  • A boy trying to get a soccer ball past a camp leader

    Lee plays soccer with Bailey Carr, center, and Jake Richards, right.

  • A boy watching as a camp leader ties the strings of a parachute toy

    Other activities include singing, games and arts and crafts. Lee helps Bailey make a parachute toy.

  • A female camp leader helping a boy post a cut-out figure on a globe

    Special days focus on different countries. Conor posts a picture of himself with a German flag.

  • A female camp leader painting a henna tattoo on a girl's hand

    For India day, Strohman paints a likeness of a henna tattoo on Ana Johnston.

  • A female camp leader and boy comparing cuckoo-clock art.

    The experience is helping Strohman, here with Conor, prepare to be a teacher

  • A female camp leader guiding a boy as he weaves paper

    Lee, who is guiding Frank Martison in a craft, is learning more about her world.

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."

Mission accomplished.

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.

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