Jobs: Bruin Woods: Testimonials

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Bruin Woods has touched the lives of many students. Read on to learn about the experiences of the 2018 Bruin Woods student staff. This could be you!

Irvin Mason Jr.

Irvin Mason Jr.

3rd Year, Theater

Two summers and 20 weeks later and Bruin Woods is still such a special part of my life! Going into my second summer, last year, as a Teddy Counselor, I thought that there was no way that Bruin Woods could get any better. By the end of the last week of camp, I found myself struggling to find words to express my last 2 years. From going on boat cruises to find Dr. Chaos’ underwater garden, to going on dinosaur egg hunts, to finding Krabby Patties on Spongebob Island, and to making connections with the most adorable kids, I truly saw firsthand how magical Bruin Woods is and how important it is to everyone who has experienced its magic. I think one of my favorite memories of Bruin Woods was sharing my culture with each family every week at the student staff talent show. I was able to give everyone a taste of what it is like to grow up in the US Virgin Islands. The way how each and every family and staffer embraced me and my culture made me feel part of the Bruin Woods Family; a family I wouldn’t trade for anything else in the world. At UCLA, all of the people I surround myself with at UCLA know how much Bruin Woods means to me. I truly have grown as a person from my time at Bruin Woods and was so fortunate to have made 53 new best friends who I would have probably never met if it wasn’t for this experience. Anytime I get the opportunity to step foot on the Bruin Woods front Lawn, I literally cannot stop smiling at the joy and pure bliss Bruin Woods brings me. I absolutely cannot wait to go back and experience the magic all over again this summer, and I hope that you are interested in experiencing the magic with me as well.

Megan Leigh

Megan Leigh

3rd Year, History

Bruin Woods has not only given me the best job I could have ever asked for along with summers full of adventures, but it has also given me countless best friends and a new place to call home. During these past two summers, I have been extremely fortunate to have been a counselor for older campers as a Polar and Grizzly counselor. From swimming in the lake and hikes on the mountain to games of dodgeball and capture the flag, I had the privilege of hanging out with these incredible kids all summer without it feeling even remotely like a job. They taught me so much about what it means to live in the moment and how to feel like a kid again, all through the limitless moments Bruin Woods fosters to have fun. On top of all the incredible perks of working at BW, the successful alumni are always eager to share their experiences and network with staffers, making for amazing opportunities to build relationships and meet unique and interesting people along the way. To top it all off, the Bruin Woods staffers are truly my best friends for life, all adding to the authentic happiness and positivity that’s felt everywhere you go on camp. I know it seems almost impossible to have all of these radical things add up to just one extraordinary place, but just apply and see the magic for yourself!

Tiernan O'Neill

Tiernan O’Neill

3rd Year, Art History

These past two summers at Bruin Woods have been the most transformative summers of my life. I applied to Bruin Woods on a whim my freshman year and had no idea what was in store for me once I got hired. Flash-forward to now, as I’m counting down the days til I start my third summer at Bruin Woods and I couldn’t be more thankful for the friends, community, and comfort that this truly magical place has given me. Whenever I go up to Bruin Woods either during the summer or for a family holiday, I’m going to my happy place. A place full of smiling children, some of my best friends on this earth, and an indescribable joy and happiness. A joy made up of curly fries, belly flops, ridiculous costumes, and kindergarteners singing camp songs at the top of their lungs. The past two summers I’ve worked the two BEST jobs on camp (I might be a little biased), working as a Kodiak and a Bruins counselor my first two summers respectively. Every day I Bruin Woods brought a new adventure with these kiddos, be it diving for fruit in Dr. Chaos’ underwater garden, rallying the troops for Capture the Flag, to even just playing a silly game of telephone on the Front Lawn. From talking to my friends at the beginning of every fall, it seems like summer jobs and internships are usually boring and/or unfulfilling. I can’t say the same about Bruin Woods–in fact I think it’s the only job that’s more than just that: a job. Bruin Woods is fun, is family, is magic. Apply today and join our family!

Danielle Koenig

Danielle Koenig

3rd Year, Musical Theater

It’s cheesy to say, but it is nearly impossible to put the Bruin Woods experience into words. I’ve grown up going to summer camps before, but nowhere else comes close to Bruin Woods. From the second you walk onto camp there is a deep sense of community and family that stays with you even once you leave. It’s what keeps guests, and student staffers, coming back year after year. (The belly flop competitions, fishing excursions, ropes course adventures, and extreme waterskiing help too!) I wouldn’t change my summer at Bruin Woods for anything in the world. Bruin Woods has brought the most amazing people into my life and I am forever grateful. Kids, adults, and student staff alike count down the days until they get to return to Bruin Woods and it’s for good reason. If you’re interested in changing your life, and hundreds of kids’ lives, for the better you should absolutely apply to Bruin Woods. Be a part of the magic and join the family!

Owen Braithwaite

Owen Braithwaite

2nd Year, Communications

Coming from the East Coast, I didn’t imagine I would give my summers to a mystery camp in California. I’d spent the whole school year away from home, but I decided to extend my time on the West Coast to see what Bruin Woods had to offer. One of my greatest decisions was taking this leap of faith. The experience at Bruin Woods is unlike no other. Lake Arrowhead quickly became my new home, and the wonderful 53 other student staffers became my new family, all wrapped up into one nearly too-good-to-be-true job! I was lucky enough to work with the Cubs, and these 5 and 6 year olds allowed me to be a joyous kid again. I saw the world through a magical lens as we assembled homes for forest-fairies, searched for Sparkles the Dolphin in the lake, and watched as wacky science potions transformed counselors into puppies. Everyone at Bruin Woods is committed to creating as much fun as possible. The camp is defined by constant smiles and laughter, crazy costumes, and impromptu flash dances. By sharing an unforgettable week with every family, I’ve established long-lasting connections with incredible people. Bruin Woods plays host to some of the most interesting UCLA alumni with the most fascinating experiences and backgrounds. The sorrow of hugging a family goodbye at the end of the week is offset by remembering the incomparable relationships and memories that have been made. The anticipation of reuniting with these amazing people again this coming summer is enough to keep me smiling through the year. I hope you can join in my excitement, and experience the magic that Bruin Woods has to offer you!

Sean TasseSean Tasse

4th Year, Economics

Bruin Woods has singlehandedly changed my college experience. After working the past two summers as a fishing guide and Polar Counselor (6th & 7th graders), I can truly attest to the “magic” of this camp. Mere steps from Lake Arrowhead, I awaken every morning with such gratitude to be working at such a beautiful place. Whether it be captaining sunset cruises, playing games on the front lawn, or the numerous belly-flops, every day is filled with a joyous and rewarding experience. The memories and bonds I formed with 53 of the most hilarious, loving, and amazing people has given me friendships that will last a lifetime. Also, one of my favorite things about Bruin Woods is the relationships you make with the UCLA alumni community and their kids. Being a kids group counselor, you get to spend so much time with your posse that you end up becoming a great role model for them to look up to. They literally count the days until they get back to Bruin Woods to see us again and likewise meet the new batch of counselors for that summer. This place is so special to me and I know that if you want to have the best summer of your life, apply to be a student staffer today!

Bella StenvallBella Stenvall

2nd Year, Global Studies / Dance

It’s really difficult to explain what makes Bruin Woods so magical. I applied because of a friend who had been a Bruin Woods counselor for all three summers of her college experience, and that was the only word she used to describe it—magical. After my first summer as a Teen counselor, I cannot help but agree wholeheartedly. Bruin Woods fosters an unmatched environment where I was able to remember what it was like to be a kid again. Our job as counselors is to help kids have the most fun summer of their lives, and because of that we end up spending three months celebrating just being alive swimming by a gorgeous lake, eating meals with interesting UCLA alumni, dancing with toddlers after student performances in the amphitheater, and building the most important friendships under clear starry skies. As a Teen counselor, I had the privilege of helping guide my awesome high schoolers through a tricker phase in their lives. Getting to be a leader and role model for them helped me grow personally, all alongside 53 of the most energetic, positive, genuine, talented, and compassionate people I have ever met. If you’re even considering applying, do it. It’s the most special opportunity to be a Bruin Woods counselor!

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