Great news! Tutor Ishani Bickley is returning to camp this summer! This will be Ishani’s third summer at camp (after two summers in a row 2016 and 2017, she took 2018 off). Ishani also served as Camp Spring Creek’s caretaker during the winter of 2017. She is beloved at camp for her commitment to her students, her sense of humor and of course her great fashion sense! Ishani has just returned from a three-month meditation retreat in Ecuador, where she got to practice her Spanish and do some organic gardening as well. Ishani tells us more about herself below. Welcome back, Ishani!
How did you become interested in tutoring and Orton-Gillingham?
I was a nanny for a family in Winston-Salem for seven years. I was working as a volunteer tutor at The Augustine Literacy Project, an amazing program that offers tutoring for at-risk kids who are identified as non-readers. I worked with them for two or three years, but didn’t have formal training. In the process of looking for someone to train with, I learned about Susie from the chair of the Augustine and the mother of the family I worked for. I came to a training in March of 2016. Afterward, Susie offered me a job.
What do you love most about working at camp?
I really love seeing the campers’ confidence grow. When a child doesn’t feel smart, it’s the hardest thing. When they stop resisting the process something happens. They start to believe in their ability to think. There’s a different sparkle that happens. Seeing that is what I love and what got me hooked on doing this.
What is it about the one-to-one approach that makes this possible?
It’s the most powerful way to share. The campers let me see how hard it is for them. They share with me how they’re feeling. I earn their trust and that opens up a lot of possibilities. I have a deep interest in meditation, and I can’t help but share the essence of that with them. Part of us knows and doesn’t doubt. If we can relax into that part of us, our minds and our brains can be ready for something new.
What are some of your best memories from camp?
Laughing and having success. One student gave me a buddy bead at lunch for a future trip to Australia that I ended up taking later.
What might campers be surprised to learn about you?
I love trying to speak new languages. I try to learn as many words as I can in every language I come into contact with. Part of what I was doing in Ecuador was trying to improve my Spanish. I’m also a certified in mushroom identification, which means I can legally forage for and sell those mushrooms!
What are you looking forward to the most this summer?
I love jumping off the rock in the creek holding hands with whoever will do it with me! I love seeing how smart and great the kids are. I love sharing with them how hard and easy everything is, and laughing with them. I look forward to showing them how to kick an Australian football!