From Pre-Med to Youth Work

By Sarah Meike, R.O.C.K. Special Projects Coordinator

Brandon is a Director from Mountain Camp, an overnight adventure camp near Polluck Pines that allows R.O.C.K. to bring 50 children each summer for free. As part of a new Mountain Camp program, Mountaineer Adventure Camp (MAC), Brandon comes to El Dorado Elementary school on Fridays to hang out with a rambunctious group of 5th graders who absolutely love him. He brings MAC activities that focus on developing skills such as team work, adaptability, empathy and problem solving. Some of his favorite games are called LARPing and Crash Test. LARPing, which stands for Live Action Role Playing, teaches kids adaptability and empathy through acting out different personas with a given task. Crash Test challenges children to build a vehicle that won’t crack an egg with materials such as straws and paper.

While Brandon was pre-med in college, working at Mountain Camp changed his life path entirely.  He loved feeling like he was making a difference in kids’ lives and having someone look up to him. Brandon says he wakes up every day and looks forward to going to work because of the influence he knows he makes in children’s lives, and the difference they make in his.

Brandon came from a similar socio-economic background as the children he works with at R.O.C.K. Although most of the kids he works with at his Mountain Camp Job come from more affluent backgrounds, he loves hanging out with the kids at R.O.C.K. because he can relate to their upbringing and challenges.