Meet Our Amazing Staff – Cece Valceschini
For our winter spotlight, we want to shine a light on an amazing staff member who has served Camp Fire for over 30 years: Cece. For many in our community, when they think "Camp Fire," they think "Cece!" Cece directs our Tumalo Day Camp and K-5 After School Programs--We think it is pretty special that every Monday and Wednesday, youth in our after school programs get to have one of the most experienced Camp Fire club leaders as their personal adult champion!
One of the things Cece loves most about Camp Fire is seeing the same kids come back, year after year, watching them grow, have fun, gain self-confidence, and become positive role models for the next generation. Tumalo Day Camps are her pride and joy, and she works hard every year to ensure everyone has a fun and safe experience.
Check out our recent interview with Cece and learn more about what makes her tick:
How do you describe yourself?
I am interested in other people, I love children and find them very inspiring. I love to be outdoors more than indoors.
Where are you from?
I was born and raised in Marin (Northern CA) and went to college in Hawaii and Oregon. I spent a great deal of time in Minnesota as a kid during summers. I have lived in Bend since 1991.
How long have you been a part of Camp Fire and in what ways?
I grew up in Camp Fire in Marin. I volunteered tons as a teen through Camp Fire and that’s where my love of volunteering grew from. My first year in Bend I had a newborn, 2 year old and 5 year old, so I began leading my oldest daughter’s club. Then I led both daughters’ clubs! I started at Tumalo Day Camp the first year and became the director the third year. I chaired lots of committees, ran several programs and have led many clubs over the years as a volunteer. I became the Program Director in 1999. I have continued to direct Tumalo Day Camp and now lead a few programs during the school year too.
Why do you like working with Camp Fire? How does it impact or feed you?
I like being a part of Camp Fire because it is a part of my community. Through Camp Fire I have met so many truly great people over the years. It is really a great feeling to run into a young adult or teen that recalls a Camp Fire experience that meant something to them. I feel like what I do with Camp Fire is worthwhile to them. Many of my dearest friends I met through Camp Fire. Once we all have day camp together we have a bond that lasts; a shared memory.
What’s your favorite part of “camp”?
The leadership experience for the counselors as well as the teens. People really get ‘hands on’ work at camp. It has a lasting impact. They get to challenge themselves and gain invaluable confidence through leadership. Lots of people have never been ‘in charge’ before in their lives. It’s a great experience. Of course I LOVE the songs, themes, and being silly too!
What are your “sparks”?
I love hiking, skiing, swimming in the lake, reading, music, playing games and puzzles, sewing, and spending time with friends in the outdoors. I would camp all summer if I could!
Were you inspired by an adult mentor? How?
I was lucky to have many mentors growing up. My grandparents were all close to me and encouraging. My mom was my biggest cheerleader! I always had my ‘other mother’ too ( I just lost her recently). I have had great teachers and coaches in high school and college too. I’ve been fortunate that way. I often hear myself repeating things they have all said to me when I talk to kids.
What motivates you to do what you do?
I like to see kids learn and grow their minds and potential. I also like interacting with and encouraging adult volunteers. I am happy when people all treat each other fairly and considerately.
Any parting words!?
When you drive up Century Drive on the way to Meadow Camp or hike above Shevlin Park, know that Camp Fire kids planted all those trees years ago! My own kids call them THEIR trees! There are so many things Camp Fire kids have done to better Central Oregon and continue to do, through deeds or just compassionate acts.