Camp I Am Special Staff
An accredited program, Camp I Am Special has certified staff who are trained in safety and security, person-first language, seizure protocol, swimming protocol, adaptive environments, lifting and transferring, positioning, activities of daily living, communication through transitions, music, art and gestures, food safety, Professional Crisis Management, CPR, First Aid, and AED use. Every year all Staff attend a week long pre-camp training.
Our staff is well equipped to serve individuals with autism, epilepsy, spina bifida, muscular dystrophy, quadriplegia, sensory disorders, cerebral palsy, obsessive-compulsive disorder as well as other diagnoses. Our registered nurses are available 24-hours-a-day and can respond to any Camper need including but not limited to, feeding tubes, shunts, catheters, intrathecal baclofen pumps (ITB therapy) and seizures.
Camp I Am Special utilizes college students who have previously served as Camp Buddies or those that possess strong skills from experience at another ACA-accredited camp to be Camp Leaders. These Leaders oversee group activities, guide Buddies in the care of Campers and aid our nursing staff. Many Leaders are studying for careers in medicine, therapy, education or behavioral science. All Leaders are trained and certified in CPR, first aid, use of automated external defibrillators (AEDs), lifeguarding and crisis management. They are also required to attend Protecting God's Children, a course mandated by the Diocese of St. Augustine as well as a Level II Background Screening from both the Diocese of St. Augustine and DCF. To best serve our Campers, Leaders are trained in modified communication techniques, sensory processing, meal preparation, transfers, and activity adaptation.
Please take a moment to view our full list of staff members below.
Director of Camp I Am Special
Rebecca Aleman first started with Catholic Charities by volunteering at Camp I Am Special. She became the Director in November of 2010. Rebecca, a registered nurse, holds Bachelor’s degrees in Nursing and in Behavior Psychology and she is certified in Behavior Management and Cognitive Behavior Therapy. Rebecca is a proponent of celebrating the “abilities” in disabilities as well as mentoring teen volunteers who will be our future leaders.
Nichole Walker started volunteering at Camp I Am Special as a buddy in 2009. Since then she has volunteered as a camp leader and kitchen director over many summer sessions. Inspired by her time at Camp, Nichole pursued a Bachelor’s degree in Special Education from the University of North Florida. After teaching in the classroom setting for 5 years, Nichole is excited to be assisting the Director in all aspects of operating the ministry.
Camp Office Assistant
Pam McMillan has volunteered at Camp in various capacities, helping during summer camp or working in the office since 2013. She has 14 years of experience in analysis, design, development, and implementation of software systems while working as a computer programmer/ analyst. She now enjoys working with the entire process that makes Camp work from gathering and processing applications, creating reports, interacting with the families, campers, buddies, and staff, and documenting the events to gather new ideas for the next year at camp.
Health Care Coordinator
Theresa is a registered nurse and mother to a 30-year old son with Angelman syndrome. Theresa has worked in the clinical and academic setting as an RN for over 39 years. She pursued her Doctor of Nursing practice (DNP). She worked in Maternal Child, labor and delivery, postpartum, and mother-baby for over 25 years. She is a certified lactation counselor. She has taught in an online/hybrid setting for twelve years, assisted in curriculum development of courses, and prepared and updated course content. Additionally, she has taught in graduate programs for both non-clinical and clinical core courses for the past two years.
Uncle Jim, as he is affectionately known to our Campers, Buddies and Staff holds a Florida certificate as a Food Safety Manager. He has extensive experience in the foodservice industry as a restaurant owner, operator, and supplier. For over twelve years, Jim has handled the food donations and kitchen inventory as well as tirelessly assisted and provided direction for the two weekly Kitchen Directors every session.
17 Camp Leaders, 2 Kitchen Directors, 3 Medical staff, 5 Support staff each week.
How to become a Staff Member
Are you interested in becoming a member of the CIAS Seasonal Staff? Do you enjoy bringing joy and happiness to others?
If the answer is yes, please visit our Apply Here page to complete an application. Applications for Summer 2021 will open in January 2021.