Soaring to the Future

In August, we were blessed to host Camp Thunderbird College Access at Augustana University. Kate Haswell, camp director, and seven students spent their days immersed in programming designed to prepare for and navigate a successful college search. Sara Telahun Birhe ’20, provided leadership throughout the week as their camp counselor.

The students were focused as they learned about communicating with colleges and universities, writing essays, requesting letters of recommendation, filing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), gathering cost information via the Net Price Calculator and completing The Common Application. They also spent time reflecting on their interests, goals and what is most important to them in a college experience.

The campers had the opportunity to tour the Augustana campus with Augustana student ambassador Josh Barrows ’19, learn about important resources for student success and of the many opportunities to get involved and share their gifts. They also enjoyed time exploring Sioux Falls.

Here is what some of the Camp Thunderbird participants had to say about their experience: “Attending Camp Thunderbird for a week was a great opportunity for me because I got the college experience and I learned about financial aid, how and when I can apply to colleges and what kind of colleges there are and what they offer to fit my needs. I also love how kind and outgoing my peers were because they were willing to help one another at any time. This experience has made me college ready and I could not be happier. I am on the right path to graduating high school and now college ready! I know I would not have this much faith and excitement if it was not for Camp Thunderbird giving me this life changing opportunity! I am not good at trying different things but attending this camp sharpened my skills and I am glad I came. I am thankful for Kate because she gave me hope. I’m thankful I met her! I will encourage others to apply to this camp!”

“This week spent at Camp Thunderbird has been great. From learning new things to meeting new people! Thank you so much for putting this together for us students. I personally didn’t know anything about the college application process coming in at the beginning of the week. But now I feel as though I am one step ahead on getting to college! Before Camp Thunderbird I knew that I wanted to go into the medical field but I wasn’t too sure about anything really…Now I feel that going to college is actually possible now that I know what I am doing. Again, thank you so much. I really appreciated everything you did.”

Augustana is grateful for the opportunity to host Kate and these outstanding students. We were highly impressed with their dedication, determination, and kindness.