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Camp Colonie combines learning and fun

For Philip Isaac, a 17-year-old Colonie Central High School student, his two favorite camp activities are swimming and lunch. While swimming, Isaac said he enjoys going under water and for lunch, he said he enjoys eating bologna, which he brings with him to camp. Isaac has been attending Camp Colonie for 10 years now, because, he said, "I like this camp."

Jocelyn Heermance, 15, of Schenectady, said she likes the camp as well, but for different reasons.

"I love the pool. I like the boys too," she said.

Heermance said she has been attending Camp Colonie for eight years, and that her favorite camp-time activity is "rec," or recreation, in which campers play various sports. When asked what else she enjoys about camp,

Heermance said, "Everything. I love everything. If I wasn't here, I don't know what I'd do."

From the outside, Camp Colonie may seem like a typical summer camp, but for those deeply involved, it is more. It is, in fact, a step toward a career.

Meagan Farrell, 18, and Joe Mooney, 18, both of Troy, said that by working at the camp as counselors, they were able to choose a career path as they get ready to go to college this year.

Farrell, a Colonie Camp counselor of four years, said she plans to attend SUNY Cortland in the fall, majoring in speech pathology.

"I never would have considered that major if I didn't work here," she said.

Mooney, a counselor for three years, said he plans to attend Skidmore College and major in pre-medicine to become a pediatrician, an interest he also attributes to his work at Camp Colonie.

Other counselors consider working at the camp a stepping stone for their already-begun careers.

Danielle Schnieble, of Berne, a middle-school specialized teacher at Berne-Knox-Westerlo, said, "For teaching, you get to see the kids in a different setting."

Schnieble said that the close interaction she is able to have with the students in the setting outside of the classroom allows her to build stronger relationships with them.

"A lot of them are growing, but not socially," she said. "By the end of the summer, they're hugging you."

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