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Help us welcome Emily Walden to Camp Wood YMCA. Emily began as our Events and Outdoor Education Director in September and has been working hard to meet the needs of our special groups, schools and visitors this fall. Learn a little more about Emily below.

What are your experiences with Camp Wood YMCA so far? What made you want to join the Camp Wood family after having attended and worked at Iowa’s YMCA Camp Foster?

The staff at Camp Wood has been very friendly and very willing to help me feel at home here. Camp Wood puts a lot of effort into making sure everyone–campers, guest and staff alike–are all receiving the best experience they can while at camp.

(Regarding YMCA Camp Foster…) I wanted to get out of my comfort zone both in proximity to home and the type of summer programming that I am used to. Camp Wood seemed like a good fit for where I was in my life.

What impact has the outdoors and camping made on your life?

Summer camp gave me the confidence to be the person I never thought I could be. My passion, my drive, and my sense of humor is all thanks to the experience I got while attending camp as a child.

What experience with outdoor education and events do you bring to Camp Wood YMCA? How will this help you in your new position as Outdoor Education and Events Director here?

I went to school to be a teacher and have spent the past six summers in the camping world. I know that my love for camp and wanting to spread my passion to others will help me serve our groups here at Camp Wood. Also, I am someone that is open to new experiences and always thinking of ways to make things better for everyone involved.

Why is outdoor education important for kids today?

In outdoor education, we have the opportunity to educate kids in a way they are not used to. Taking kids out of the classroom and letting them experience nature hands-on is so important. I feel like kids learn more when they are having fun and don’t realize that they are learning. At camp, we have the ability to show kids how amazing the outdoors is, and in turn, hopefully inspire them to help to take care of where we live.

How does the group season and the experiences Camp Wood offers support our mission?

We have the opportunity to bring in not only kids, but adults and families, from all different organizations and places and provide them with programming within our values. Our group season is a great way to provide programming for both those in our surrounding community and those beyond it.

When not working, what are some of your hobbies or interests?

My family is very important to me, so traveling to visit them or just catching up with them is important to me. I also enjoy exploring towns around me. Every place you are, there are always hidden treasures, and I love finding them. Also, I grew up as an avid runner and I still enjoy doing that.

We asked Emily for some of her favorite quotes and says she believes we can learn a lot about ourselves from passages or quotes or poems. Explore a few of her favorites below.

Thanks, Emily! We’re so excited to have you as a part of the Camp Wood YMCA family. If you’d like to talk with Emily about Camp Wood’s outdoor education or event needs, give her a call at (620) 273-8641 or email her at events@campwood.org.