For International Women’s Day the Louis August Jonas Foundation wants to focus on how our alumnae have grown since Camp. In honor of the 30th anniversary of girls programming at LAJF, we reached out to our alumnae to learn where their paths have led after Camp. With close to 1,300 alumnae we haven’t gotten to everyone yet. So far, we have received hundreds of inspiring responses.
Our alumnae choose careers that are vast and diverse. With our alumnae making paths for themselves as an EMT, educator, accountant, financial advisor, lawyer, psychologist, diplomat, doctor, reporter, homemaker, scientist, museum curator, park ranger, and veterinarian among many others. With many alumnae still in school, we are eager to connect them with mentors already succeeding in the fields of their dreams. If you would like to be a mentor, please reach out to us.
Today we are spotlighting just a few teachers whose careers were influenced by the Rising Sun pedagogy. We asked them how Camp impacted their lives and careers. Below are the stories of Layla Treuhaft-Ali (‘10), Dr. Mary Murphy (‘96, ‘97, ‘98, ‘99, ‘00, ‘01), and Ernaida HernandezBarenio (‘90).
Layla, CRS ‘10, is currently a student teacher in middle school English/Social Studies in a Chicago Public School. She will officially start teaching in September of this year. Layla has this to say about incorporating CRS values in the classroom. “In both my teacher education program and the classrooms where I’m teaching, there’s a huge emphasis on building community and empowering young people to shape their community. It’s difficult because the traditional classroom is so focused on maintaining the teacher’s authority, prompting students to see each other as competitors and silencing students’ voices when they try to take ownership over their learning.”
With regard to the personal impact of Camp, Layla shared: “I feel so fortunate that, as a young person, I got to participate in a rare community that gave me the tools to work with others and put my ideas into action. Because I went to CRS, I have a commitment to creating this experience for young leaders and a vision for what it should look like and feel like. The idea of leading by serving others is built into both my classroom community and my curriculum, as we study social movements that have shaped history. Most of all, as a teacher, I try to be a sachem - I try to lead not through singularly imposing my own vision, but by supporting everyone in our community to articulate and enact their vision. I don’t always succeed (I’m only a student teacher!) but CRS has given me core values at the heart of my teaching.”
Dr. Mary LaRue Murphy is currently the Director of Development at Franklin Academy, a small, specialized, college-prep boarding school for high-functioning students on the autism spectrum. She was one of the founding members of the Franklin School in 2002, directly after her years as Director at CRS/Clinton (1996-2001). She began as the Residential Director partnering with the Educational Director to design and implement a new and innovative program.
Mary has this to say about incorporating CRS values in her work. “I was ready for this new position (Residential Director) at least in part because of my work as Director at Camp Rising Sun. Rising Sun is a focused, mission-driven program. I had spent many hours thinking, talking about, and debating how best to create and design a program that delivers on its mission. This was a good place to start to design a new school with a distinct mission. In addition, I embraced the collaborative work style that we used at CRS and used many CRS ideas to provide enough structure with enough freedom so that staff members could take off with their own creativity. Most importantly, I think, is that the experience of working and living with people from other cultures provided the right mindset to work with my students. Franklin students are smart and talented, often brilliant. However, they often function as strangers in their own culture and feel like they can never quite understand the language or the rules. Approaching them with the same respect, care, and appreciation that I would if I were approaching someone from another country (or the respect, care, and appreciation that I would like to have given to me in another culture) put me at the right starting point to begin to understand their world and help them to understand mine. Check out Franklin Academy at www.fa-ct.org” - Mary
Ernaida Hernandez Barenio, CRS ‘90, was a teacher for students with special needs at the NYC Department of Education for 15 years. For the first four years, she taught in an elementary age classroom students on the Autism spectrum. For the last 11 of her time in public school, she was a Technology teacher for the same population of special needs students in grades K-4. Now, she is an outdoor educator for a social impact company called Tinkergarten. She holds weekly outdoor classes for toddlers and their caregivers. This spring she will be leading Tinkergarten classes with babies and their families.
Ernaida said this about how CRS impacted her career path “the role that the outdoors, music, and creativity played during my time (at Camp) is an absolute influence on where I am today as an educator. My strongest memories are from Council on Saturday evenings where music and singing together was a way to set the atmosphere for listening to each other's personal stories and sharing really intimate lessons we might want to share with our fellow campers. Overall, just trying to be thoughtful and finding ways to work together coming from differing perspectives, counselors giving us the space for trial and error yet always being there in support. I look back now and see that is the kind of teacher I've wanted to be.”
“CRS has had such a big impact on how I approach teaching. I feel blessed to have gone through the experience of spending an entire summer with fellow youth from all over the world. I think it helps me to remain curious about each student and appreciate where they are when they are in my classroom. I don't take for granted that groups of people from a certain culture all think and act the same because I have met individuals with unique points of view that came to CRS as representatives of their country or state. It has shaped my worldview and influences how I appreciate, respect, and maintain an open-ness towards people who come from different backgrounds and cultures.” -Ernaida
It is International Women’s Day today, and 2019 is the 30th Anniversary of Girls’ Programming at Camp Rising Sun. We are inspired by Layla, Mary, and Ernaida’s becoming the leaders of their journeys post Camp. We hope you will join us in celebrating their stories and that you think about sharing your story as well. LAJF wants to hear from more of our alumnae and alumni about their lives after Camp. Our Alumnae/i can add which college they are attending or have attended along with their profession in their Camp profile here. If you would like to share a testimonial with us please reach out.