Thursday, February 5, 2009

A Message From Jen Baldinelli, Camp Kanata Program Director

Hello there! My name is Jen and since this is my first blog for Camp Kanata, I want to take the time to introduce myself. I am a graduate of UNC-W and I loved living by the beach. I have a slight addiction to soft pretzels and I can tell you all the places in Raleigh to enjoy one. I am the newest member of the Camp Kanata Family. My job of Program Director is quite simply the best! I am the one that gets to plan all of the fun activities like evening programs and special events. I am just filled with wild and crazy ideas; I cannot wait for summer to get here so I can share them with all the Camp Kanata campers and staff.

I first got involved with the YMCA in the summer of 2003, where I took a job as a programmer at Finley Day Camp. Working at Finley Day Camp definitely opened my eyes to how amazing the YMCA is and how much I enjoyed summer camp programs. The following summer was a big change for me; I took a different route and worked at a resident camp program run through the Autism Society of North Carolina. It was a huge step for me to spend a summer away from everything that was familiar to me, to be away from my family and friends. However, it soon became obvious to both me and those closest to me that I had found my true place in life with camping programs. I went back to my YMCA roots the following summer, where I again worked as a programmer for a YMCA Day Camp called Camp Crossroads. I even followed the Camp Crossroads Director all the way to Durham the following summer to spend time working at the Lakewood YMCA with Camp Bull Run. Shortly after that summer ended, I was fortunate enough to land my first "real" job working as a Youth Director at the Kerr YMCA. At the Kerr YMCA, I spent time working with both after school programs and the on-site day camp, Camp Kerr. I can honestly say that I loved the time I spent at both after school and Camp Kerr.

While I was at Kerr, I kept running into this fellow by the name of Dave Bell. Perhaps some of you have heard of him, he is kind of a big deal. I soon found all about Camp Kanata and it quickly became apparent that Kanata was where I needed to be. I was so excited to join the Kanata family this summer. I truly feel that this job is the perfect place for me!

I can't wait for summer and I can't wait to meet all of you!

Jen Baldinelli
Program Director

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