Celebrating Another Year of Camp Fire!

More than 120 guests gathered to enjoy stunning mountain views and a delicious breakfast catered by FareStart at the Pacific Tower for the 24th Annual Leadership Breakfast on May 25th.

Camp Fire Board President, Hillary U, started off the morning by sharing memories of her own Camp Fire journey and how being a member of a Camp Fire Group, volunteering at Day Camp and earning the prestigious WoHeLo Award as a child made her the person she is today.

“Camp Fire truly does build tomorrow’s leaders today. As one of the youngest managers for Alaska Air Group, I am a testament to that fact and I am so proud to now be helping lead this great organization!”

– Hillary U, Board President

Keynote speaker Captain Yokko Okamura shared her incredible story on how she became the first female Japanese national airline pilot in the world.  She credited her incredible adult mentors, or as we refer to them in Camp Fire, “spark champions,” with encouraging her to never give up and supporting her through every obstacle she faced. She shared the importance of supporting youth organizations like Camp Fire who provide youth with critical support and arm them with specific tools to help them reach their dreams.

“There are many wonderful organizations which motivate and guide children and young adults.  This wasn’t the case when I was growing up in Japan but I was fortunate that I had many adult mentors that supported me and I could not have become a pilot without their influence. Camp Fire offers everything I needed to achieve my dream.”

       – Captain Yokko Okamura, Keynote Speaker

From Left to Right: Board President Hillary U, Keynote Speaker Captain Yokko Okamura, Teen Leader Emma Schmidtzinsky & Executive Director Rick Taylor.

The final speaker of the morning was Camp Fire Teen Leader, Emma Schmidtzinsky. Emma has a long history with Camp Fire joining one of our groups 6 years ago. She credits the group with welcoming her with open hearts and giving her a sense of belonging during a difficult time in her life.

“Camp Sealth offered me a place where I was able to feel like a normal kid again; an inclusive place where I didn’t feel the need to worry about if people would judge me and a place where it was okay to just be myself. At camp I could succeed and I could push myself to try new things, and it made me start to feel better about myself. It helped to confirm within myself that I was good enough and it reminded me that the happiness I thought was gone forever was still there.”

– Emma Schmidtzinsky, Teen Leader

Thank you to all our guests for waking up with us & supporting Camp Fire kids! 

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