Camp 1831 teaches first-year students UA cultureBy Tara Massouleh | 08/19/2014 11:44pm
Camp 1831 is a three-day program hosted by First Year Experience designed to help incoming freshmen, transfer students and other first-year students learn about UA traditions while making friends and setting aside fears about their upcoming school year. Photo Courtesy of Jessie King
Camp 1831 is a three-day program hosted by First Year Experience designed to help incoming freshmen, transfer students and other first-year students learn about UA traditions while making friends and setting aside fears about their upcoming school year.
Students participate in a number of team building and traditional camp activities, from high ropes courses to canoeing and activities specific to the University, all while focusing on Camp 1831’s four main themes: adventure, leadership, service and history and ?tradition.
In addition to the color wars, relay races, square dancing and campfires, students have the opportunity to participate in a service project and hear from UA faculty members and staff at a formal scholarly discussion and dinner. This year’s service project involved painting a mural and building a rock garden at Maxwell Elementary School.
Campers are led by 24 UA upperclassmen called the A-Team. The A-Team guides campers in activities throughout the program and serves as mentors and friends to campers past their days at Camp McDowell.
Sheela Kailasam, a sophomore majoring in finance and math, served as an A-Team member during the three Camp 1831 sessions this year. After attending camp her freshman year, she couldn’t stay away from the program, so she applied to become part of the A-Team, she said.
“I wanted to share my excitement and love of Alabama with other people and get them excited about all the opportunities we have,” Kailasam said.
Kailasam said one of the most important things about Camp 1831 is its ability to make students feel more at ease as they transition into college.
“We focus a lot on group activities, trying to energize the students as well as taking into account every student’s fears and excitements for the year and kind of fostering that and using those emotions for their on-campus experience,” she said. “Since we do focus a lot on the fears and excitements, it’s a way to show all the students that they’re all apprehensive about the same things.”
Many of the program’s participants said the small group sizes and individual attention from A-Team members at Camp 1831 were extremely helpful in preparing them to attend such a large university.
AJ Burdick, a freshman majoring in computer science and a Camp 1831 participant, said the camp was helpful.
“It’s pretty hard to get adjusted to a campus like this because there are so many people, but breaking it up into a little people at a time makes you feel more comfortable.