October 26, 2022 09:48 PM
The Laura E. Ohline Scholarships are awarded annually to deserving members of our staff, to help further pursue their educational endeavors. Each summer the award is peer-selected and is presented to the staff who have best demonstrated the values that Laura exemplified: excellence in displaying our core values, caring for our campers, supporting fellow staff members, and working in service to our camp.
Nominees pictured above: From left to right, Back row: Quinn Sajeski, Lala Oriol, Brenna Futty, Caitlin Farkas, Hannah Hill, Susie Fordi, Annie Ryan. Front row: Francisco “Paco” Morales Navarrete, Grant Bailey, Lucas, Francisco “Pacho” Rodriguez Paniagua, Josh Gower
Josh works as a special education teacher in a communication and social learning program for students who are identified with Autism Spectrum Disorder at an elementary school in New Castle, DE. Josh also serves on the Delaware State Education Association Executive Board as his school’s equity chair and is currently attending Lamar University to obtain his master’s degree in special education. He would like to continue to pursue education with the hope of impacting and improving current teaching practices through either administration or legislation at the state and/or national Level. Josh also wants to continue his connection with YMCA Camp Tockwogh to help strengthen and preserve what makes Tockwogh so special.
Josh said camp has been a second home to him—one where he has been welcomed with open arms since his first summer on staff. He said “the community at Tockwogh is like no other, the families, the campers, the staff, the directors, and our YMCA family help to make summers more meaningful than one could hope. It has meant comfort, family, and unlimited gratitude for a place I am only so lucky to have the privilege to be a part of.”
Lucas is attending the University of Caldas in Columbia, in his home country, where he is working on a B.A. in Philosophy and Literature. In January he will start the last year of his degree and will graduate in December 2023. His future aspirations are to be admitted to a M.A. or Ph.D. program in Comparative Literature abroad.
To Lucas, Camp Tockwogh means growth—it is a space where he could be himself and where he felt welcome to grow without fear. “Tockwogh is an almost magical place because all the people I met there were willing to make me feel good, more than a camp, Tockwogh is a community that provides the tools for all it’s members to get the best of themselves.”
Quinn attended Temple University for her freshman and sophomore years where she studied communications. Currently, she is working the conference season at YMCA Camp Tockwogh and is taking a year off from college to pursue her goal of working at a ski instructor in Colorado. She is hoping to travel more to places like the Western US and Iceland before she returns as a staff member next summer. She said that working at camp with international staff members has fueled her desire to travel and has shown her the importance in learning about and being exposed to other cultures. She is also very interested in graphic design and intends to go back to school to make a career out of design and media which is ideal for her because these fields can be done remotely, which would give her the freedom to travel in the future.
Quinn said that Tockwogh has been her second home since she was a Chickasaw. “It has given me some of my best friends and fondest memories. I love Camp Tockwogh the most though because of the diversity of people here and the judgement-free environment that allows you to explore your most authentic self. Prior to summer 2021, I lost all my hair to Alopecia and was going through a very difficult time in my life. I wasn’t planning on coming back to camp, but after Brenn called me saying camp really needed staff, I knew it was where I needed to be and I truly couldn’t have made a better decision because it really did change my life for the better.”
Hannah is a senior at James Madison University who is majoring in Communication Sciences and Disorders with a minor in Exceptional Education. Once she graduates, she would like to be a Speech Language Pathologist working with children to help them reach their communication goals and overcome speech challenges. She said that she loves working with children, so it would be a dream to pursue a job that allows her to focus on helping kids.
Hannah completed the counselor-in-training program in 2019, and this summer was her first year as a staff member. She said “it is such an honor to receive the LEO scholarship and I have immense appreciation for everyone that I had the opportunity to work with this summer. I learned so much through working with other counselors and I gained an experience that will stick with me for a long time. Hot days, sweaty but smiling faces, pure laughter, tough conversations, dance parties in the rain, joyous souls, the occasional chip-which, and true friendships are some of the things that made Camp Tockwogh such a meaningful experience for me. This summer was very impactful and taught me a lot about myself and what I’m capable of. I believe that’s due to the atmosphere of camp, the people I got to work with, and the campers themselves. The people are truly what makes Camp Tockwogh so unique, and I am so grateful to have worked there this past summer.”
YMCA Camp Tockwogh takes great pride in continuing Laura’s legacy through this scholarship program. Thank you for helping us to build strong kids, strong families, and strong communities.