Timmy Duado (second from left) with co-workers at Camp Akita | Photo courtesy Timmy Duado
Timmy Duado, a sophomore majoring in Communication and Marketing at Andrews University, grew up on the North Side of Chicago, Illinois. He attended Amundsen High School and was a member of the Northshore Church. At church, he learned about a nearby summer camp.
“From sixth grade on, I went to summer camp at Camp Akita in southern Illinois. After being a camper for many years and seeing the staff come and go, I wanted to be like a lot of them,” Timmy explains. “I decided to fill out a camp staff application, turned it in, and was accepted. So I started summer 2017 as staff at Camp Akita.”
Timmy enjoys the community that camp builds. “At camp, we’re like a family,” he says. “We work together for eight weeks, even if you might not work with everyone personally every day. I think it’s great that, especially in the Adventist world, after working at camp, you can go anywhere and find someone you worked with over a summer.”
He also has appreciated the opportunities to mentor campers. “With the campers, I really like that I can be a big brother. I have campers who will reach out to me and check in with me or ask me for advice. It’s really cool to see them grow and develop as a person. When I was younger, the staff invested in me and my development. Now I can care and be involved in somebody else's.”
An added bonus to employment at camp has been the college tuition scholarship available. Andrews University provides a scholarship for camp employees based on the number of weeks they work at camp. When Timmy transferred from Northeastern Illinois University to Andrews in the fall of 2018, the Andrews scholarship was applied to his tuition costs. Timmy is grateful for this assistance. He says, “It’s helped me achieve my goals, to make sure I could continue to go to school, and it helped me focus more on my classes so I don’t have to worry about money.”
Timmy has become very involved at Andrews. He was on the basketball team last year, works for Student Activities & Involvement (to which he was introduced by a former camp leader) and serves as an ambassador to welcome prospective students.
After graduating, he hopes to be an actor, entertainer, sportscaster, or to work in sports analysis or social media marketing. “I love all of those things,” Timmy says, “but I’m trying to work on my relationship with God currently. I don’t know where God is leading me right now, but I’m looking forward to seeing what happens.”
As for camp, it has made such a positive impact on him that Timmy plans to go back. “I will continue to work at camp. I like working there and the connections you get to make. Summer camp also is a great way to find God if you’re really looking.”
He encourages people who are considering working at camp to do so. “If you have the opportunity to work at summer camp, you absolutely should,” he says. “It will change your life in ways you never really imagined.”
Laura Fierce, University Communication student writer