By Luis Torres

"Cispus has changed my life because it allowed me to be myself for the first time. For most of my teenage days, I only had interactions with teachers until coming to Cispus in 2010. I’ve learned to not be afraid of branching out with other people and understand people will have my back through thick and thin. I can never thank the Cispus staff enough because they mean the world to me and will always cherish each moment I’ve had there."

By Katherine Reeves Wilson

"Working at Cispus Learning Center was the most gratifying and happy time of my adult life. Being granted the opportunity to attend and complete the Challenge Course facilitator's training meant more to me than a million vacations, trials and achievements. I was not fit, brave, and pretty much clueless as to what the experience would bring, and it has remained with me for many years. There is magic at Cispus, and I was lucky enough to be a part of it. To those with whom I worked and learned- you remain in my heart as the best sunshine to be had."

By Jared Richardson

"Little did I know the end of my quest for self-worth would begin in the middle of the woods at a place called the Cispus Learning Center.  In less than a week, I learned more about myself and my role in this world, than I had imagined was possible.  16 summers later I still make the annual trek to Cispus, this time as a counselor, helping to ensure the next generation can influence that kid who’s struggling to find their worth in this world, to turn him/her into an innovator, a servant, a mentor, and most of all a leader."

By Stuart McCurdy

"Cispus and the summer leadership camp series served as an important anchor as I transitioned from Delegate to Junior Counselor to Senior Counselor. It mirrored my life as I simultaneously transitioned from high school to college to the military. As I have now transitioned once more to a civilian career I have been able to reflect on the value that Cispus provided in its uniqueness as an environment where energized people can come together and be truly open as leaders and human beings. I look forward to the future and maybe being able to contribute to Cispus once again."

By Zach O’Neill

"I had the opportunity to attend a leadership camp there with my high school ASB my senior year, the camp was Mt. Baker, the focus was bringing our school closer together and developing a team that would be able to trust and function at our school for the next year. The theme of the camp was "We're on a Quest." I was still unsure of myself when I started camp at the beginning of the four days we would spend there. Over the course of the camp some of the Baker magic started to work its way through me and I was able to gain confidence in both my peers and myself. We were challenged; we were provided the opportunity to push ourselves, to make fools of ourselves and most importantly to grow. Songfest was a prime time for students to come together, to collaborate and shine showing our talents and supporting what had been created. When we left camp we had met many different people and we had developed deep connections with members from our own school, but also people from all over Washington. We were connected and united through this magical place and time that can only be explained as Baker Magic. I was fortunate enough to get to return to Mt. Baker the next summer as a Junior Counselor about to enter my Freshman year at Gonzaga. I was much more confident in my ability to lead and be support for those students that were in my group. However, I did have some areas that I needed support in as well as a first year JC. The experienced JCs were there to have my back, they helped me to develop and realize what I could do and who I could be for the student leaders that needed us to be more then who we were by ourselves. As a JC I taught and I helped to shape the experiences that the student leaders had that summer, helping them to get a taste of that Baker magic that I had the summer before. I was now in a role where I pushed them, challenged them to problem solve, to collaborate, allowed them to fail when it was necessary and to realize what it would take to be successful. It was empowering to be able to do that for others." 

"Now I am a Teacher, I teach students to take action and be active according to their values. I teach physical education and health. I teach students to enjoy movement, to take care of their bodies as well as the other dimensions of health. To be sociable, respectful, and compassionate. My goal is to help students realize their dreams, and to guide them to be the best version of themselves." 

 By Monica Ranger

"Since being a counselor at Yelm's Camp Cispus experience in the 80's taught me a little about what it was to be a nurse, though I didn't really put it together until now. You learn how kids sleep and don't sleep, how ice cream can cure everything, even the munchies Salmagundi bake dinner (lovely nutrition !!) left behind, how if everyone pitches in we can learn to save environments/animals/ourselves, how seriousness is sometimes overrated, how meeting after lights out singing under the bathroom sinks is better than any counseling, and how getting bone tired in the fresh wet air makes you so much more grateful for your bed and the friendships that keep you coming back. I'm blessed to know that Cispus AmeriCorps helped my daughter realize her gift of teaching, and gave her the experience to develop it."