Camp Fire Central Oregon Program Specialist Cece Valceschini believes engagement with nature is vital for youth.

In the realm of Camp Fire Central Oregon champions, one of our greatest superheroes is Cece Valceschini!

As our program specialist, Cece runs our certified babysitter training, supports Kids Night Out events, and serves as the director of our beloved Tumalo Day Camp. No doubt, Cece’s energy and commitment help these programs thrive. But that’s no surprise, given she has a long history with our inclusive nonprofit youth organization as someone who has played countless roles, creating, managing and evolving Camp Fire programs, events and initiatives for over three decades.

Campers from our past and present love her—she’s impacted so many lives, inspiring and creating treasured memories for youth, as well as our camp volunteers and fellow staff members. Living the Camp Fire mission, Cece brings incredible historical knowledge, energy and passion to her unique role. She’s helped so many of us find our sparks, navigate efforts in making a positive difference in the world, and build greater connection to the outdoors, to each other, and to ourselves!

Theresa Langley, the late Sue Hamilton, Cece Valceschini and Volunteer Tammy Gassner pose at Grand Council Camp Fire Ceremony.

Blast from the past, former Camp Fire leadership at the Grand Council Fire Ceremony, pictured left to right: Theresa Langley, the late Sue Hamilton, Cece Valceschini and Volunteer Tammy Gassner.

Q: What’s your role as Program Specialist?
A: I have a variety of responsibilities! These include running our very popular certified babysitting course throughout the school year and setting those participants up for success as they care for children or perhaps volunteer as babysitters at our Kids Night Out program, which I often either lead or help with in some way.

As Tumalo Day Camp director, I facilitate and help manage the details, so that it’s a success, too. The hope is that lots of kids have fun at summer camp, learning about the outdoors, hiking, adventuring, and maybe even getting sparked to consider a future career relating to the outdoors!

Cece Valceschini organizes t-shirt handouts among many tasks at Tumalo Day Camp.Another big aspect of my job is recruiting, coordinating and managing the dozens of adult volunteers who serve as camp counselors at Tumalo Day Camp. They are an important tradition and vital to Tumalo Day Camp because volunteering brings a very unique spirit of compassion, enthusiasm, creativity, ownership and innovation to the camp vibe and their role.

While Tumalo Day Camp is clearly about empowering kids to thrive, it also empowers our adult counselor volunteers. I find it very rewarding to engage around this responsibility of supporting them, so they get out of their comfort zones, understand their value, and truly enjoy their leadership experience at camp, too. I first started volunteering at Tumalo Day Camp 32 years ago and have served as its director for 29 years—it’s been amazing, and I am so grateful!

Cece poses with a group of campers at Tumalo Day Camp

Cece Valceschini (back right) talks about the evening's upcoming activities with overnight campers at Tumalo Day Camp.

Q: What are your sparks?
I love kids. I love hiking, camping and skiing. Summer is my favorite time of year, and I love spending time outdoors and playing on beautiful lakes. Another spark is working with my volunteer camp counselors. When I walk around camp and see what they’re doing and how they’re being creative with our activities or their own activities, I learn from and get inspired by them. They’re brilliant!

Q: What are your future goals, professional or personal?
Professionally, I’d like to continue what I’m doing with camp. Personally, I have a second grandchild being born soon, so I intend to further embrace and live life fully through the grandma lens!

Q: What’s your favorite part of working with youth?
Kids are so curious about life, and it’s so fun to watch and learn from them as they play, explore or are simply just being their awesome selves. I also love empowering kids to become better at whatever they are doing, whether in the moment or throughout their lives.

Q: Why does your job—and Camp Fire—matter?
Camp Fire Central Oregon gets kids outside, and I think that’s very important. Organized sports and activities are great, but there’s something uniquely valuable in getting kids outside and experiencing adventures, interacting with nature, and just calming the noise in their brains, so they can witness the plants, wildlife and awe-inspiring beauty around us. There’s so much that’s artificial in kids’ lives today, and I just want to help children experience the awe of what’s real and build appreciation around this, whether that means watching the waves roll in on a beach, looking up at the trees, or taking in the beauty of the mountains that are before us—it all matters so much.