By Jackelyn Ho
Passion. In 2008, I graduated from J Camp in Chicago.
Determination. Last week, I returned to J Camp as an Alumni Assistant.
Hard work. This week, I am here with Voices working hands on in the newsroom.
Today, I am celebrating my 19th birthday.
It has been an amazing journey graduating from J Camp and immersing myself into the fast-paced world of Voices.
With J Camp, I am brought to tears of joy when I think about what a life-changing program it is. On one side, the most mature, smart, and personable youngsters in the country are united. They possess a refreshing spark of passion for journalism – eager to know anything they can about this evolving industry.
As an Alumni Assistant this year, I bonded with the students because I understood their passion, but felt their worries. I will always remember the nights they spent picking my mind about college life and laughing about anything that seemed remotely funny. Together, we were high off life.
Then, there are the dedicated faculty members who volunteer their vacation hours to enlighten students and plan this rigorous five-day camp. They are shaping the future, and to say the least, the future is bright. As J Camp celebrates its 10th year, these professionals continue to inspire and challenge young minds. The way they are able to pull off this amazing camp while maintaining demanding full time jobs is simply incredible.
As I ended my journey with J Camp earlier this week, I began another one with Voices. These two programs have different group dynamics, but Voices has allowed me to experience work in the field.
On Thursday, I got the chance to experience life of a “one-man-band.” I filmed my own stand-ups, found my own interviews, and edited my own pieces. Besides gaining invaluable experience, I have also gained muscles in my biceps from carrying all of my filming equipment. Not bad.
One thing that remains the same between J Camp and Voices is that our mentors are all the best in the industry and are devoted to growing the next generation of students.
The editors have stayed up until the midnight hours, missing out on convention after-parties, and fueling up with caffeine to ensure that deadlines are met.
It is exhilarating to see the positive energy and unquestionable impact that AAJA’s student programs have to offer. As my Facebook account explodes with picture tags and this newsroom wraps up, I know this adventure is far from over. I’ll be back to see a new generation of J Campers in Detroit.
Until then, thank you for the memories and the love.