Still on the fence about signing up for Dawg Camp Discovery? Are your parents worried about whether or not it’s worth it? Check out this letter that our 2013 Director of Staff Development, Melanie Wiggins, wrote to hopefully help you make one of the best decisions of you life:
Dear Potential Dawg Camper,
First of all, this program has SO much educational value. I think that regular orientation gives students a basic overview of UGA, but Dawg Camp prepares you mentally for college. Our entire goal is to make sure that the students that go through this program feel as confident as possible in transitioning into college and being excited and prepared for their first year. All of our 250 students are divided into one of 3 color groups, and then each color group is divided into 6 different small groups of 10-15 students led by 2 upperclassmen staff members. Your counselors, and all of staff, are some of the best, most diverse, & most involved students that UGA has to offer, and we have so much information that we want to share with these students. We want to make sure that we pacify as many of your fears as possible, and give you the info & tools that you need to make the most of your college experience. DC gives you a smaller setting to get those questions answered—a little less overwhelming than orientation. I think that is one of the most beneficial things I got from Dawg Camp—having mentors to answer any questions I had even when I got to campus. An amazing thing about Dawg Camp is that it’s a year long mentoring program, so the Dawg Camp experience doesn’t end after the weekend. Your counselors will be available to tell you what bus to take, connect you to organizations on campus that match your passions, share ways to get involved in the community and succeed academically, and just be a listening ear whenever you are struggling with homesickness or a difficult roommate. So many friends of mine wish that they had a mentor when they were in their first year of college, and Dawg Camp will definitely provide that for you.
Dawg Camp is also a great way to meet your peers. You really get a chance to bond with your small group throughout the weekend and make close and lasting friendships. I met my current roommate and best friend at Dawg Camp 3 years ago, and I gotta tell you it’s the best feeling to have people that you can go to the dining hall with and hang out with as soon as you get to campus. Dawg Camp is a family, and I promise that this program will already start making UGA feel like home. We also connect students with 3 different faculty or staff members that provide services that specifically benefit first year students. Many students come to UGA and don’t have close relationships with faculty, and through this program they can have that as soon as they get to campus. It’ll make you comfortable in new experiences, and that’s definitely helpful in coming to a school so large. It helps you form a sense of community that is needed in a school like UGA, and I can say that the communities I’ve formed at UGA have made my college experience much more meaningful.
I spent the $185 for Dawg Camp with some of my graduation money. And I can say without a doubt that it was the best $185 that I have spent since I’ve been in college. I am going into my senior year and I can’t say that I would be in the same place mentally or in my involvement if I didn’t go to Dawg Camp. The benefits that you get from this program are worth so much more than $185. In my opinion, they’re priceless. This program has defined my college experience, and I can’t imagine my life without it. For you, it will be the springboard into so many different organizations and people. Some of the most successful people on campus have been a product of Dawg Camp. I can tell you from first hand experience that this program changes lives. It sounds dramatic, but there is really nothing else on this campus like Dawg Camp. You learn so much about yourself, what type of leader you are, and how to work with people that are different from you. There are SO many things you learn at Discovery that you can take with you to campus and throughout your four years. I just cannot recommend this program enough. We only serve 250 students, and I think that UGA’s campus would be even more amazing if all students came through Dawg Camp. The things that I have learned through this program and how it has affected my college career are hard to describe, but definitely worth every single dollar it costs and more. You can only go through Dawg Camp once, so I really hope you decide to come!
Melanie is a 4th year student majoring in Middle Grades Education from Augusta, GA.
Besides all the excitement of throwing shaving cream at other people and dancing your butt off with your new best friends at the luau, Dawg Camp can truly be one of the best experiences of your life. I know it certainly was for me, considering that it gave me the chance to get mentally prepared for a whole new lifestyle in college and that it really helped me to develop and learn about several of the great opportunities that the wonderful University of Georgia offers. I hope you more than consider partaking in what will be one of the best weekends of your entire life with us here at Dawg Camp Discovery!
Temi Afon is a first year from Grayson, Georgia, majoring in Human Development and Family Science (pre-med).
This is a group of sixteen strangers that came together and became some of the closest friends in the span of three days! We grew to trust and love one another in a way I’ve never experienced before.
HOW COULD THAT HAPPEN?!
My experience with Dawg Camp as an incoming first year was amazing. I came from high school really excited and feeling ready for college. I was trying to get pumped for this big, crazy change in my life, so I signed up for Dawg Camp!
Going into the experience, I didn’t know that I would meet so many of my future classmates and become so close with people I had not known before. I didn’t know that I would learn so much about myself, what was important to me going into college, and my personal leadership style. Dawg Camp definitely brought me out of my shell and when I got to college, I was ready to be a part of this campus and community!
Dawg Camp was an amazing experience because I feel like Dawg Camp got me to be involved on campus and helped me make UGA and Athens my home.
Dawg Camp is a life changing experience. It really gave me the right mindset going into college; it’s more than just learning about the campus. There was something about Dawg Camp that influenced me to become who I am now. Because of Dawg Camp, I’ve become the person I’ve really envisioned myself to be in college.
Rachael Jay is a first year from Alpharetta, Georgia, majoring in Accounting (pre-business).
It was the summer after my senior year, and I was super excited to finally be able to work at Camp Cosby. This would be my first year being a counselor after being a CIT for three years. I was super excited and barely even thought about my first upcoming year as a college student. I received the Dawg Camp postcard in the mail and became really interested in the week of adventure that Dawg Camp had to offer. In early April I signed up for an adventure week in the middle of June and barely even thought of it afterwards. Staff training for Camp Cosby was right around the corner and Dawg Camp was not even on my mind. After the first few weeks of camp went by, my mom called, reminding me about my week at Dawg Camp, and I told her to just cancel because I was having too much fun at Camp Cosby; little did I know this would be a decision I wish I could have changed.
After my summer at Camp Cosby, I made my move to UGA and heard from a couple of people about how awesome Dawg Camp was. I met many other first-year students and did not have much trouble adjusting to the college life. But as I progressed through my first and second year, I knew something was missing from my life. I would always hear about how great Dawg Camp was and finally Melanie came to one of my club meetings and highly encouraged everyone to apply. So I did. I applied to be a Dawg Camp counselor, got in, and participated in one of the most fun-filled retreats.
This will be my first summer being a counselor at Dawg Camp and I am so excited to see what is in store. After today we only have one more Tuesday meeting and I have to say this semester has been absolutely amazing because of Dawg Camp. I have learned so much over the past few months and I cannot wait to meet all of the first-year students this summer. 50 more days until Dawg Camp and all I have to say is Dawg Camp, Dawg Camp, Dawg Camp is the place to be!
Black 2 Counselor
Penny Vettraino is a third year from Lilburn, Georgia, majoring in Human Development and Family Science.
You are one of the luckiest people in the world. Really, you might as well have won the lottery, because the point in your life that you’re at right now glows with opportunity. You will be attending one of the best universities in the state with programs recognized across the nation. Thousands of people from all over the world and all walks of life yearn for the same opportunity open to you this fall: a college experience at The University of Georgia.
I’m going to level with you; this college thing can be pretty overwhelming. UGA has so many opportunities to succeed that you may lose count or even feel overwhelmed — this place is so great that you might not be able to take it all in.
Worried? Don’t be. The next few years can actually be a breathtaking time in which you find yourself, discover your passions, and begin building your great legacy. UGA offers one particular program specifically designed to make your college experience absolutely as amazing as it can be: Dawg Camp. The counselors leading Dawg Camp are seriously driven to see you succeed at UGA and will not only make the Discovery weekend an electric, bonding experience, they’ll also serve as friends and mentors for you as you walk through your first year at UGA.
This university is really what you make of it (SPOILER: life is the same way). Your years here will fly by no matter what, but you can make a real impact if you let yourself. You’re capable of changing the world. Dawg Camp will give you the tools to do it.
Get pumped, get excited, get to Dawg Camp!
See you real soon!
George, Silver 4 Counselor
George Carlton is a fourth year from Kennesaw, Georgia, majoring in Marketing and Finance.
I remember, the summer before my first year, being totally excited about becoming a new dawg! All the packing and countless trips to Walmart and Target were starting to become a weekly event during the months of June and July. I got caught up in all of the preparation of college – so much so that actually attending Dawg Camp completely slipped my mind. I did all my research and even asked my parents if I could go but before I knew it, the date had already passed. I wasn’t mad until I saw the pictures on Facebook from Dawg Camp Discovery. I literally remember thinking to myself, “Why was I not there?!” Everyone looked like they were having so much fun actually meeting people face to face versus commenting on posts in the Class of 2015 Facebook group. When I got to Athens and people mentioned having gone to Dawg Camp, their excitement and enthusiasm were off the charts. I used to think that they were overreacting, but once you hear so many responses that are exactly the same, you can’t help but start to think that it actually is as awesome as they say.
I still haven’t been to a Dawg Camp (my first time will be this summer as a counselor!) but I can say without a doubt that it is going to be an amazing time. Even if you aren’t 100% sure that you want to come to Dawg Camp, go ahead and make the decision to come. Start off your first year making sure you will have no future regrets. Your summer is going to fly by, but get a head start on some UGA fun by coming to one of our camps. It’s a weekend you won’t want to miss, and I can promise you that!
Christen Baskerville is a second year from Marietta, Georgia, majoring in Management Information Systems (pre-business).
When I graduated from high school, I was so proud to know that that Fall I would officially be a Bulldawg. However, despite the fact that I knew people going to UGA with me, I was nervous to start my college experience. Yes, I was excited, but I was also intimidated by the prospect of transitioning from the familiar, tight-knit group of seventy students that I had spent the last four years with to a university of thousands of students. I was so afraid I would get swallowed up, and I was overwhelmed with the thought of not fitting in.
After receiving an awesome, hand-written postcard in the mail from a Dawg Camp staff member telling me about the chance to get a head start on my college experience, meet other incoming first years, and have loads of fun at the same time, I knew Dawg Camp was something I was interested in. I looked up more info online (http://dawgcamp.uga.edu) and decided to attend Dawg Camp Discovery.
It was so much fun! Not only did I get to experience the same ole summer campy feel I used to when I was younger, I got a chance to meet so many great people, learn a ton about university resources, and refine my definition of diversity. Getting to go crazy and be a big kid with cans of shaving cream was the icing on the cake.
When I got to campus, I felt comfortable meeting new people and exploring the new opportunities UGA had to offer. I didn’t shy away, and I was so proud to be a part of such a diverse and astounding student body. Plus, I kept running into people who were wearing their Dawg Camp shirts, and it was such a cool connection we shared. All of my friends at UGA were so jealous that I came into college knowing so many people.
Now, the summer before my third year at UGA, I’m so excited to be returning to the program. What’s more, I’ll be a counselor of the same small group I was a part of as a participant two years ago! If that’s not awesome, I don’t know what is. I can’t wait to see the relationships that form, serve as a resource, and kick some butt in the DC Olympics!
We (my co-counselor George and I) (#goSilver4) want YOU to check out Dawg Camp! You definitely DON’T want to miss out on such an awesome opportunity. Holla Class of 2017!
Brianna Chambers is a second year from Marietta, Georgia, majoring in Journalism and Consumer Economics.
So if you’re reading this, you’re probably a brand new dawg, a potential dawg, or just an avid fan of rockin’ summer times. Regardless, I’m glad you’re here. If you fall into the first two categories, I want to share with you what my experience with Dawg Camp has been, what it has meant to me, and what I hope it could mean for you.
Before I do that, I need to say two things:
1)I didn’t go to Dawg Camp as an incoming first-year student, nor did I know anything about it.
2)You don’t have to go to Dawg Camp.
Wha? Seems pretty counterintuitive, right? I don’t think it is, because Dawg Camp’s mission lies beyond one crazy weekend in Covington. It is tethered directly to everyone’s college experience here at Georgia. When I came to UGA, I had no idea what was in store for me: who would I become in the next four years? What do I care about? Do I have to be a certain way to fit in? What should I do with my life? You know, all the mind-boggling existential stuff that pulses through your brain as you move away from home and into the expansive world that is college.
Honestly, I’m still answering some of those questions to this day. One conclusion I have come to is that you need be nothing more or less than yourself. College is the time to do you. You’ll find that it can be a challenge from time to time, but don’t shy away from it – don’t settle for anything less than absolutely loving everything you do. I say this because, so long as you are true to who you are, you’ll find that you’ll end up where you need to be - even when you’re not quite sure where you’re going.
It happened to me, and I found Dawg Camp – “the place to be.” My first experience with Dawg Camp was as a counselor last summer. I had no idea what to expect. What I found was something impossible to articulate. Never have I been in a space so real, with people really being who they are and other people really loving them for it. I saw first years come in apprehensive about college and leave emboldened about their futures. I saw others question things they had previously considered certain. I saw people grow more in three days than most do in a year. Plus, I saw a massive shaving cream fight. Which was awesome.
I’ll leave ya with one of my favorite quotes from Lester Bangs in Almost Famous: “The only true currency in this bankrupt world is what we share with someone else when we’re uncool.” Essentially, nothing matters more than those moments when you’re being real with someone else.
So, come to college and be yourself. No matter what, things will fall into place. And if you want, start it off with Dawg Camp. Be uncool with us and have a blast.
Austin Blouin is a third year from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, majoring in Economics and Mass Media Arts.
Prior to making my debut on UGA’s campus as a first-year, I was super nervous about coming to college. All of my best friends from high school were going to other schools, and I was intimidated by the thought of being on my own. LUCKILY… I found out about Dawg Camp just in time.
I signed up to go to Dawg Camp Discovery with my soon-to-be-roomie, Victoria (who is another fabulous staff member), so we could bond before moving into the same tiny room for nine months. As it turns out, I got WAY MORE out of Dawg Camp than just the bonding I originally signed up for, but I almost missed out entirely.
You see, when I got my email telling me my color group assignment, I immediately asked my friends what color group teams they were on. I quickly discovered that every single one of my friends was on a different team than I was. I was so anxious about this that I emailed Dawg Camp Exec and asked to switch colors. Yes, that was me - but they said no. And now I could not be more THANKFUL that they did.
If I had switched color groups, I would have spent the entire weekend hanging out with people whom I knew from high school. I’m sure I still would have had a blast, but I would not have been CHALLENGED to step out of my comfort zone and GROW in the way that I did.
Coming to Dawg Camp and feeling alone at first was super scary, but that weekend I realized that you never grow unless you PUSH YOUR LIMITS. I pushed myself to be more outgoing, to ask people their names, to get to know someone unexpected, and to invest in the people around me. I had SO MUCH FUN at Dawg Camp, and I got to carry those lessons with me into the first year of my college experience.
Without a doubt, Dawg Camp shaped the way my first year panned out, and it also SHAPED WHO I AM TODAY.
-Allie Burton (Dawg Camp Discovery Staff 2013, BLACK CREW)
Allie Burton is a first year from Grayson, Georgia, majoring in Middle School Education.