Discovering My Sparks, a Camp Fire First Texas blog by Jan Katchmazenski

Child Development Specialist

Here at Camp Fire, we talk about finding our Spark not only for the children we serve but for the employees as well. As I began thinking about that I started wondering when my Spark started within me. I think I was 12. You see I grew up not only as a Bluebird (the name for a young girl in a Camp Fire club) but as a young teen I became a true Camp Fire Girl. You would earn emblems by doing activities that were in the Camp Fire handbook.

Activities like studying, doing artistic things, and even speaking were difficult for me. I had to work hard at these things, more than most people do. It was easy to feel sorry for myself but when I went to the Camp Fire meetings it was a safe place to be myself. I also looked around and realized that I was not the only one to struggle. I began helping other girls if they were struggling with their work, that they had to do to get their patch. It felt good to help someone and forget that I struggled too. I also realized that there was more than one way of doing things and it was okay to do it a different way.

I found my Spark of helping others.

When I was in high school, I was in a program where I worked with kindergartners. This was where I discovered one of my other Sparks, which is working with children. This started a lifetime career of working with children. At Camp Fire everyone in some way impacts a child’s life.

Another important thing we talk about at Camp Fire is growth mindset.graphic list of growth mindset attributes vs fixed mindset attributes

I had never heard that term before, but those words really became inspirational for me. I realized that only I hold myself back. When I realized this, I began to really think outside the box. I feel the sky is the limit and even though I might not be able to do everything I think about, it’s okay to dream. Some of my ideas will or can become a reality. I have never had a job that allowed me to do that, and I am so grateful to be in a place that does.

Being part of Camp Fire First Texas has allowed me to use those Sparks I have within me to work on the School Readiness team. I am privileged to work with early childcare center directors and teachers as a mentor. They have the tough job of getting children ready for school. They allow me to be with them to learn and share ideas. We work on goals for the childcare center or the classroom. It is exciting to see the reaction they have when their goal is met. It helps them find their Sparks. Which is what we are all about here at Camp Fire. What is your Spark?

Want to work at Camp Fire and help others find their Spark? Check out our open positions.

Learn more about the Camp Fire School Readiness Program