In His Own Words: Jeppe Thanning, Camp Counselor

Today’s post is a message from much-loved Camp Spring Creek counselor Jeppe Thanning. After camp, Jeppe traveled for 3 weeks and then returned to his home country of Denmark. He just moved to a city called Aalborg to study Social Science at the university. His (American) football team, Triangle Razorback, just qualified for its 10th straight semifinal. Here’s Jeppe, in his own words:

Camp spring Creek is a place with a lot of passion and pride for the things it does. I was really happy when Susie and Steve gave me the opportunity to come to camp and experience that firsthand. I don’t think many people realize how hard the van der Vorsts work; it is incredible. I can’t talk about this summer without mentioning the great staff we had. We had so much fun as a group and I think that was part of our success! It was wonderful to meet a lot people from all over the world. I remember that after one week of camp I thought: This is going to be a lot of hard work, but it’s going to be worth it!

A typical day for a counselor started 15 minutes before we woke up the kids and we were on duty from that moment forward. We helped the kids get ready for the day and assisted those who needed extra help. Then came all the fun!

I personally loved reading hour. I loved listening to the kids read and hear how they improved over the summer. Reading hour was also a good way to get closer with the kids. Counselors also helped in the woodshop, art room or by being lifeguards at the pool until the late afternoon, during “Outdoors” period, which involved new activities every day. Every counselor had a couple of periods off every day, but mine were often spent walking around watching swim classes or hanging in the woodshop. I was really impressed with the level of creativity the kids had in the woodshop. Later, when the kids had study hall, counselors often spent the time with lifeguard practice or meetings. Then we all tried a new activity every single night after dinner. My favorite activity was going to Bakersville to play Capture the Flag (and I think a lot of campers loved that, too). After the evening activity, the kids had a little cabin time before bedtime.

There’s no doubt that working at CSC as a counselor is hard work, but it is totally worth it! It was so rewarding to help the kids and see them improve in so many ways. Some off the kids needed a “big brother” at camp—someone they could trust and rely on—and I can’t think of a bigger compliment than when a kid picks you! I got so close to those campers in particular that they felt like my actual younger brothers and sisters.

One thing that sometimes felt a little tricky about being a counselor and a role model was the age difference between the campers. Some campers needed teenage advice, while others needed a little help with practical stuff. Some needed a firm counselor. Every camper is unique and should therefore be treated a little differently. I used a lot of the experience I have from my former job at a school for ADHD kids, so it felt kind of natural for me to try and see the strength in every child as well as help them with their weaknesses. I hope the campers learned something from me, because I learned a lot from them.

To all the campers: Thank you for making my summer a great one! You guys are always welcome to send me an email or a letter and I promise to write you back!

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On the Road

ncycalogo2Yesterday, Susie and Wendy headed to Arapahoe, North Carolina to attend the North Carolina Youth Camp Association Fall Meeting, hosted this year at Camp Sea Gull. They will be networking, talking with other directors to learn how their camps operate, and brainstorming ideas for year-round programming to support the larger mission of Camp Spring Creek and its Outreach Center. Of course, we love your feedback and ideas as well, so please reach out to us if you have thoughts on expanding our programming.

According to their website, NCYCA’s mission is to strengthen and expand the educational, environmental, and recreational opportunities provided by all organized camps in North Carolina by encouraging cooperation among camps, sponsoring camp-specific research, communicating camp industry information, and building relationships with various private, non-profit, public and governmental interests and agencies. We’re excited to check things out and will report back soon!

Susie featured in “Women & Education” Issue

We’re pleased to announce that Susie has been featured in the September 2014 issue of Western North Carolina Woman, a much-loved print publication in the region with worldwide readership on the web. Please read this up-to-date interview with Susie on the future of education and, if you’re moved by some of what she says, consider sharing this link with your friends, teachers, and colleagues. We’re overjoyed to be featured!

Here is the link to the article in full:

Taking a Break

We’ve officially wrapped up another successful camp season and are happy to announce that we’ll be taking the next two weeks off (from the blog, at any rate). We love researching new posts and creating video clips to share with you and welcome any requests or suggestions that you have. Just drop us a line via our Facebook page and we’ll do our best to incorporate your ideas into our content. Meantime, Steve and Susie are going to put their feet up for a few minutes (not!) and exhale. Be sure to keep up with our blog via your email subscription (on the right sidebar), our YouTube Channel, and enjoy our series of inspiring interviews with professionals in the field. Our goal is to make this an exciting, informative, empowering site that draws attention year-round and serves as a vital resource to the families, kids, and dyslexia advocates we care so much about.

Upcoming Orton-Gillingham Training

Camp Spring Creek will begin Orton-Gillingham training for Certified I on August 31st. We have three ladies from North Carolina and one joining us all the way from Switzerland.

What is Orton-Gillingham?

Orton-Gillingham teaching sessions are action-oriented and involve constant interaction between the teacher and the students and the simultaneous use of multiple sensory input channels reinforcing each other for optimal learning. Using auditory, visual, and kinesthetic elements, all language skills taught are reinforced by having the student listen, speak, read and write.

Do you want to know more? Check out Camp Spring Creek’s YouTube video highlighting tutoring ideas from one of our Associate level trainings.

2014 Random Candids

Fun on the rope swing!

Fun on the zipline!


Our silly tutors!


Lilja, Ben, Ola, Stephen, and Sinem- CSC Counselors


Lilja welcomes a camper on our opening day of 2014.


Strike that pose Jeppe!


Look at how much fun he is having on the zipline!


Even our counselors got in on the zip line action.


What do you have there and what do you plan to do with that creepy crawler?


Getting ready for a game of capture the flag.

Group Pic

The aftermath of Capture the Flag.

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Wow. They look like they are ready for war.

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One of our campers stealthy hides behind a barrel to avoid the fire as he prepares to strike.

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At this point anything and everything is a potential shield that can be used for cover.


“I surrender!”


“I like swimming so much. It is fun to play in the water and I can have so much fun in the water. I also like doing laps.”


Screen printing on white t-shirts!


Anina, doing one of the things she does best!


We are all smiles here at Camp Spring Creek!


Say “cheese”!


These girls are bundled up nice and tight after their swim class.


Play hard and work hard! That’s what we do here at Camp Spring Creek.


Our head counselor, Lilja, showing the campers swimming strokes.


Look how great they are doing! They follow instruction very well.


Campers flocked to the zipline!


“My favorite memory from camp is the time when a paint ball went right over my head. Also, when one hit my mask!”


“My favorite camp memory is when we went camping; eating s’mores, laughing and talking, running around, and going in our tents and telling scary stories and whispering in the tents at night.”


“The thing that I will miss most about Camp Spring Creek is my friends that I have made throughout the years and all the dances.”


“My favorite memory was Lake James, going tubing, and going on the boat.”


What will you miss most? “The food.. and paintball… and archery!”


“My favorite memory of camp is paintball. I love paintball. I love it because we shoot people and it is like war.”


Woodshop is a great way for the children to hone their math skills while having fun and being creative.


Taking in the view.


Camp Spring Creek encourages the campers to connect with nature and witness the beauty that it holds.


Camps Co-director, Steve and Camp Power, Marcin.


Alex joined us this summer as the keyboarding instructor and photographer.


Bear hugs from Rafal!


See you next year!

Video: Vocabulary Words with Tutor

Here’s one more quick video snippet of a tutoring session from this year’s camp season. Here, the tutor assists the camper with a growing list of vocabulary words. Notice how she slips in last week’s challenge words and how she coaches the camper toward a process of elimination with his new challenge word for this week. Her tone of voice is gentle, her delivery is kind and consistent, and the student responds with positive, clear thinking and engaged learning.


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