On Her Way
In conversation with Kayla Hensley, the most striking impression is her energy. Kayla is not only completing her junior year of nursing school, she also tutors 16 hours a week, and regularly leads nursing study review sessions for 70 students at a time. Whew! Asked if her Camp Fire experiences had anything to do with her current abilities to lead, juggle, and remain focused, Kayla answered, "Oh Yeah! I would say that Camp Fire gave me 99 percent of my leadership abilities, my comfort with public speaking, and...everything I am today."
Reflecting back, she remembers being a shy little girl. "I wouldn't even order my own food in a restaurant." Today, that is clearly not a problem. Kayla comfortably shares, "I will always stand up for myself. I will stand up for others. In everything I do, I will try to make a difference." She continues to explain that much of her current confidence was shaped by her Camp Fire experiences.
That shaping started in first grade. Though she remembers a number of young girls beginning Camp Fire together, five of them continued, each earning a Wohelo award. "What's most interesting," she reflects, "is that we wouldn't even be friends if it weren't for Camp Fire." As she talks about her group she reflects on their individualities. "One was an athlete, one a musician, one an artist, one an aspiring farmer, and one," Kayla chuckles, "was the â€˜popular girl.'" Yet whatever they were within a school setting, in Camp Fire, the labels fell away.
"We always made time for each other," Kayla shares. "And if I wanted to get involved in a service project or something productive, my Camp Fire friends were the ones I went to first and counted on most." They still are. The girls make a point of getting together at least once a year, even within the busy lives they are each in the process of creating.
Kayla's life is much different from the one she originally planned. Her goal was to be a marine biologist until...she spent a couple summers working at a Camp Fire camp as a Counselor-in-Training. "I learned how much I enjoyed working with the kids and their families," she reflects. "I learned that what I really wanted was to change people's lives, to make a difference." Kayla realized that as a biologist the opportunities for making a difference just weren't that robust. Instead of biology, Kayla turned to nursing, specifically pediatric nursing.
"In fact," Kayla concludes, "my greatest dream would be to graduate in May and then serve as a Camp Fire camp nurse at Camp Natoma—the camp I attended as a child—that next summer. How cool would that be?" she muses.
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