The birth of a summer camp program


Every story has to start somewhere….and mine starts here.  Being a professional with a career, I decided to take the leap and go back to school.  Because of this, I had to stay local for my internship.  I was already interning at Keep Tampa Bay Beautiful when they asked me if I would stay with them and create a series of eco-learning kayak tours to highlight their new Trash Free Waters initiative.  I figured this would be a great fit and be nice because I already knew everyone and it was close to my home.

So here I am… This picture is me standing down by the Hillsborough River trying to figure out what the heck I wanted to do.  They were nice enough to give me almost complete freedom to create what I felt would work best.  Freedom is great, until you have brain drain.  So suffice it to say, I stood down by the river for a while and just enjoyed nature.  Nothing is more relaxing than standing and watching time pass by with nowhere to be.

After enjoying the scenery for a while, it finally hit me what I wanted to do.  I wanted to create three tours that each highlighted a different feature and area of the river as well as each tour having a different approach to the citizen scientist model.  When I was about to walk back to our office, I noticed there was an abandoned house on our property.  It struck me as odd for it to just sit there with no purpose.  So I walked back into our office and went to see my supervisor.  I asked her what the deal with the house was.  I was told the City of Tampa owned it.

Here is that moment… The moment you open your mouth and can never turn back.  So I said “that is such a waste of a house, we could do a really cool summer camp out of that house, is there a way to get that house”.  So we can easily say that I spoke my mind before thinking.  The conversation came to a screeching halt.  My supervisor had that light bulb look in her eyes.  “That would be awesome, would you be willing and able to create one based on water conservation and trash reduction” she asked.  Me being me, I said of course… So here we stand down by the river again…..



on MARCH 20, 2016

Ok followers… Sorry there is no pic today, but one will follow soon.  So the main obstacle to my summer camp becoming a reality was getting the City of Tampa to gift us the second house on the property.  This is the house that I wanted to use for my summer camp… Well… We got it.  Now comes the waiting game.  We have to wait for them to survey the property and see what needs to be fixed.  It is still exciting that something I asked about in passing became a reality.  This is exciting.

So that big hurdle is down and on to the next hurdles aka grants.  We have already applied for several grants.  I applied for one for just my research.  Unfortunately, the DOE did not find my research to be fascinating enough apparently.  This is going to be a very short post because I have way too much school work to do and not nearly enough time to do it.

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