Camp Adventure interns provide invaluable service to Brussels Community
Kayla Demmer (standing, center) recently completed her first tour as a Camp Adventure intern at U.S. Army Garrison Brussels Child, Youth and School Services. She was one of three interns who completed their tour in Belgium in March. Also shown, from left, are: Olesia Samoilenko, Camp Adventure project coordinator Khristine Vinluan, Jordan Ephraim and Maya Cabrera.

BRUSSELS, Belgium - There was changing of the guard of sorts at the U.S. Army Garrison Brussels Child, Youth and School Services late last month - three Camp Adventure interns departed and three new interns took over for them.

The departing three-Kayla Demmer, Juanita Duran and Amber Bartholomew-completed their eight-week tour here and departed March 27.

During their time at Brussels the three worked alongside the CYSS staff, provided direct care with the kids, program planning, cleaned, did safety checks and helped plan and staff special events, according to Facility Director Paula Cabrera.

Each leaves with a sense of satisfaction tinged with sadness because they've grown close to the CYSS staff and the kids they serve.

Demmer was the rookie of the three-this was her first time serving as a Camp Adventure intern.

A recent graduate of Clarke College in Dubuque, Iowa, Demmer majored in Elementary Education and Special Needs. Camp Adventure provided her the opportunity to put her education to good use.

"I love it," she said. "It provided an opportunity for me to work with kids-my passion-and travel the world. "I've never traveled before, my eyes have been opened."

Demmer grew up in Peosta, Iowa, a town of about 1,050 people located 120 miles west of Dubuque. In many ways the Brussels military community was like her hometown.

"This community is nice and welcoming," Demmer said. "I'm from a small town; this is like a small town."

Demmer said that she will begin searching for a job when she returns to Iowa but would consider serving as a Camp Adventure intern again.

For Duran, her time here marks the third internship she has served. And, it is not her last. From Brussels she moved on to a seven-week internship in Ansbach, Germany.

After she completes that tour she will move to an internship in Atsugi, Japan. She expects to be there from June to August.

Duran grew up in Toledo, Ohio and graduated from Bowling Green State University with a degree in Social Work and Ethnic Studies.

She worked for about a year as a social worker in a nursing home before she joined Camp Adventure.

Duran said she heard about Camp Adventure while a college student and, following training, served her first assignment in June 2009, in Naples, Italy.

Serving as a Camp Adventure intern gave her the opportunity "...to bring America to the kids," she said.

It also gave her the opportunity to learn about other cultures, something that appealed to her given her Ethnic Studies background.

Following her internship in Naples, Duran said she received placement offers in Germany and Key West, Fla., but chose Key West. She served there from September to December 2009.

Like Demmer, Duran is guided by a desire to help others.

"To be able to do this is nice," Duran said. "I feel like I'm helping out."

Bartholomew is also a veteran of multiple internships with Camp Adventure. Brussels was her fourth internship and, most likely, her last. She plans to look for a job when she returns to her hometown, Tuolumne, Calif.

"It may be my last one but I don't know," Bartholomew said.

Bartholomew is a December 2009 graduate of California State University, Chico, where she earned a degree in Kinesiology, the science of human movement.

Like Demmer and Duran she heard about Camp Adventure while a college student and it appealed to her.

"The training site is at Chico State. I found out about it through a friend," Bartholomew said. "I heard that I could travel and work with kids, I like both so it was the perfect opportunity."

Before she served at USAG Brussels Bartholomew worked as a Camp Adventure intern in Atsugi, Japan, Daegu, South Korea and Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.

Although their time in Brussels is over, Bartholomew, Demmer and Duran have left their mark, especially with the CYSS staff.

Youth Sports Director Susan Donaher summed it up.

"These guys are great, I can't speak highly enough about them," Donaher said.

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16