Camp Daybreak Profile: Desirea Swick
Year Started at Camp Daybreak: 2010
Desirea Swick, a Vermont native who started volunteering at Camp Daybreak in 2010, credits Camp Daybreak with helping to guide her professional path.
As a high school student at U-32 in Montpelier, Desirea attended a leadership seminar that challenged her to spend more time volunteering during her free time to important causes in Vermont. She found Camp Daybreak online and was drawn to working with Vermont kids in need.
“Before arriving at camp on my first day, I was incredibly nervous, but all of that went away as soon as I arrived. Everyone was kind and very welcoming. Many individuals had so much experience working with youth, and I had very little, but still felt as though I belonged.”
Desirea’s experience prompted her to spend many hours volunteering at the Vermont Association for Mental Health and Addiction Recovery helping with the preparation of camp. Having seen the care and clinical planning involved in operating Camp Daybreak she decided to pursue a degree in Psychology with a concentration in Child and Youth Development.
After returning to Vermont, Desirea accepted a job at the Vermont Association for Mental Health and Addiction Recovery where she worked in the Education and Training department helping to develop trainings geared toward Vermonters in recovery as well as helping with Camp Daybreak preparation. Since then, Desirea has also worked at the Howard Center with individuals with developmental disabilities and mental health needs.
Inspired to help others beyond her Vermont community, Desirea shared the skills she learned at Camp Daybreak in Haiti. Here, Desirea has volunteered to provide help and support to an orphanage in Port-au-Prince, as well as the local community in Ona Ville. Haiti is still recovering from a devastating earthquake that destroyed many homes and schools and left many children injured and homeless. New Life Children’s Home provides love, safety, education and support to many children in Haiti. Desirea was able to share her love, kindness, and the skills she learned at Camp Daybreak while aiding those in need.
Currently Desirea is the Site Director at Milton After School Kids, an after-school program through the Milton Family Community Center in Milton, Vermont. Every day she is working with families and children, many of whom have similar needs to the campers at Camp Daybreak. In this role Desirea provides children with the skills they need to have successful relationships, while providing a fun and safe environment all year long.
“Without Camp Daybreak in my life, I would not be where I am today. I wouldn’t have the education I have, the job I have, the friends and loved ones I have if I never attended camp. The experience at camp is incredible for the volunteers, as well as the children we are blessed to serve!”
This past summer, Desirea finished her 7th year at Camp Daybreak, and maintains the role of a counselor who is responsible for supporting other volunteers as well as the campers who attend.