Episode 2

Published on:

2nd Aug 2021

Camp SuperHero and the Volunteer Center of Washington County with Sheldon Brennemann

It's a bird! It's a plane! It's a group of 10-to-14-year-olds learning what it means to be volunteers in their community. It's CAMP SUPERHERO!!

Hey there, masked crusader. This week, I'm joined by Sheldon Brennemann, a community engagement specialist at the Volunteer Center of Washington County. Sheldon and I talk about a program called Camp SuperHero that introduces tweens and young teens to volunteerism.

I love to hear about fun and positive things happening in and around Washington County. If you know of something I should share, email me your idea at fifteenwithfuzz@gmail.com.

Thanks for listening!


Fuzz Martin 0:02

It's a bird. It's a plane. It's a group of 10 to 14 year olds in Washington County helping out the community. Its Camp Superhero. Thanks for tuning in to episode three of Fifteen Minutes with Fuzz. We did it. We're here high five, slap, slap, slap. I'm Fuzz Martin, and this is a show all about the fun and positive things going on in and around Washington County, Wisconsin. Thank you for joining me. I appreciate you listening. On this week's episode, I sit down with Sheldon Brennemann. She is the community events specialist at the Volunteer Center of Washington County. For those of you who don't know, the Volunteer Center is the driving force behind The Hub social good brews coffee shop in West Bend. And in full disclosure, I'm also a volunteer on the board of directors for the Volunteer Center and The Hub. Today, Sheldon and I focus on one program in particular at the volunteer center one designed to get 10 to 14 year olds excited about volunteerism. It's called Camp Superhero.

Fuzz Martin 1:18

All right, Sheldon Brennemann joining me right now from the Volunteer Center, Washington County and Camp Superhero. How are you today?

Sheldon Brennemann 1:26

Doing well, how are you?

Fuzz Martin 1:28

I am so good. I appreciate you coming on. And you're my first guest on the show. That's not my wife. So if I have a any technical issues, I apologize, because we're just getting this all set up. And and I'm trying to be forgiving myself for not having audio perfection all the time. So how long have you been with the Volunteer Center?

Sheldon Brennemann 1:48

I've actually been at the Volunteer Center. Well, as an employee for about four months. I started out as volunteering on Sundays with my husband actually, at The Hub at The Hub. Yeah, and I'd say even before that I was a Hub guest and picked up some coffee to start my day. And then, you know, my story, I feel like from there, he's just gotten bigger and bigger. He went from enjoying a Friday pick me up to volunteering on Sundays to eventually working here full time.

Fuzz Martin 2:16

Sure. What, what drew you to volunteering with the Volunteer Center in The Hub?

Unknown Speaker 2:22

That's a great question. Um, you know, actually, the story that we always tell is that John is my husband's name. When John and I would come in on Sundays, we would volunteer because it made us feel good and to get us ready for the workweek. You know, every time coming in, you could tell good things were happening at the hub, and we just wanted to be a part of that. Electricity and community. And, you know, that's really what hooked us in and I've been here ever since. And so glad that I Yeah.

Fuzz Martin 2:53

Very good. Well, as a, I'm a board member, with the Volunteer Center and as, as a board member, and as a person that's just in the community, I say thank you, because doing good things, and it's a gem in our community to have something like this. So tell us a little bit now about your role, like what do you do at the volunteer center? Like what is community engagement specialists? What does? What does that entail?

Sheldon Brennemann 3:21

Yeah, so there's kind of two pieces to it. You know, the Volunteer Center is here to help support all of our nonprofit members. So that's kind of one piece, helping our nonprofit members through mobilizing different resources, finding volunteers, we've got a volunteer online portal. And then the second piece is engagement. So you know, trying to offer different programs and events to try to meet the public as they are, where they are, and just to encourage them to volunteer. And where those two two things collide. That's where where my position lives. So really just trying to find the balance between the two.

Fuzz Martin 4:00

Sure. Very good. Well, I was at The Hub for meeting, we have to be downstairs at the 303 Water Street location. And all of a sudden, we saw a bunch of kids coming in and they were super happy. And that was a Camp Superhero day, right?

Sheldon Brennemann 4:14

Yeah. Yep. They were probably all dressed in yellow. Yep, that was Camp Superhero. You know, I used to be a teacher actually, which just makes me so excited for camp. Although Camp is full, and we actually are just finishing out our last three weeks this summer. Camp Superhero is really designed for, oh 10 to 14 year olds, led by 14 to 18 year olds, and really just hot offering them different volunteering opportunities, and learning about our nonprofits trying to help just grow lifelong volunteers.

Fuzz Martin 4:50

Yeah, to get them set up so they know what it means and to have some experience doing it. I think getting that that first push is sometimes what it takes to get you hooked on helping others? What are some of the? Oh, go ahead. What are some of the activities that you guys do?

Sheldon Brennemann 5:06

Yeah, so we, we've spent some of our days outside our very first camp, we were at Blue Lotus farm and retreat center. It was hot, so hot. But we have done things from planting pollinator gardens with Cedar Lake Conservation Foundation, to stuffing survivor bags for friends and making blankets for Project Linus. You know, my goal this year was really to make sure that we are providing something safe, but also introducing some more nonprofits that aren't always our go to. So some days, it's just serving one nonprofit and some days it started serving 10 or 12, nonprofits depending on the activities.

Fuzz Martin 5:52

Very good. And the there have been more than 300 kids that have gone through this so far in in,

Sheldon Brennemann 5:58

Correct, correct. I believe our total prior to this year was at like 345 Okay, um, our camps this year, we've got some, because we were planning this while COVID CDC guidelines were always changing. Sure. Our smallest camp was up 20. And our largest camp this year has 39 kids involved in it.

Fuzz Martin 6:19

What does it look like in a typical year? That's not kind of cloud?

Sheldon Brennemann 6:23

Yep. So we aim to get between 40 and 50. Individual campers, they can't always come on one camp day. And then we aim for 10 to 15. Team volunteer team leaders,

Fuzz Martin 6:37

it's obviously full this year, because you guys are in and doing it. But when is the typical signup for camps?

Sheldon Brennemann 6:44

Yeah, so we're going to be changing it just a little bit. Our goal is to have sign up ready, by late January, early February. And when we first released that sign up, it's going to be available for campers who can come to all of the camps. So we're going to open it up first to those campers and they'll get a free T shirts. After that After that first wave, then March, April is when we'll release other dates. Just so that way we can make sure to have the right numbers in the right spots. And then if kids come from camp, one camp all the way up to all nine or just under nine, then they can decide if they want to purchase a shirt as well.

Fuzz Martin 7:24

Sure. Is that just a once a week camp? Is that how that works?

Sheldon Brennemann 7:27

Yep. Once Um, excuse me, it's three weeks in a row per month of the summer. So June, July, August. Okay. We built in kind of an off week towards the end. And at first it was, you know, in case there'd be an outbreak that shows this little wiggle room. And now that we're going through it all, I think that break is just for me.

Fuzz Martin 7:49

Well, you need that to we didn't need that, that kind of that balance. A typical day, like how does a typical day at Camp Superhero startup?

Sheldon Brennemann 7:59

Yeah, so our team leaders actually come first, they come in at eight o'clock. And for that first 45 minutes, we're working on developing leadership skills, we're explaining what we're going to be doing for the day, things like that they do any kind of setup teardown for us, campers arrived by nine, we really try to hop on the do good glass as much as we can. So you know, those first 15-20 minutes, we're getting to know everybody, we hop on the bus, our campers normally get a good two and a half to three hours of really meaningful volunteer work. We'd come back on the bus and then eat lunch, we asked campers to bring lunch bags and all of that good stuff. And so if we can eat it, while we're volunteering, we try to do that. Otherwise, we come back to to The Hub and eat here.

Fuzz Martin 8:50

What would you say is one of your like, most rewarding pieces of of working with these kids in Camp Superhero?

Sheldon Brennemann 9:00

It's a great question. You know, I really feel like children underestimate themselves and underestimate their capacity. And so I really enjoy. When things are all kind of said and done. You know, we're finishing up our project, whatever it may be, and we're cleaning everything up and the kids are just tuckered out and they want to eat lunch and they're hungry. But then to be able to corral them all together, and kind of say, but now look at what you did, you know, look at what made you made a difference. And just kind of seeing that reaction on their face and and making them realize that they are, quote unquote, more than just a 10 year old but having them realize their own impact. That's, that's my favorite. Because in my mind, those moments that you have, and when you hone in and you're showing them what they can do. That's what's gonna make them lifelong volunteers.

Fuzz Martin 9:52

Yeah, very cool. It's awesome. It's such a great thing in our community that you know, a lot of people don't know what Camp Superhero is. They haven't heard of it and Hopefully more will now but also just knowing the good that's coming out of the community and you know, helping raise up kids so that they're starting with a good base of volunteerism, I think is a great deal. And I thank you for being a part of it and showing people that if somebody wants to volunteer to help out with Camp Superhero, or if there's a one of the older teams that wants to volunteer, what, how do they get set up?

Sheldon Brennemann:

Yeah, they can easily either email me or call me to 262-338-8256. Anyone can call that to talk to me to volunteer as an adult leader, or if they're just interested in other volunteering opportunities, or the resources that we provide here at the Volunteer Center, I'd love to talk to anytime.

Fuzz Martin:

Very good, awesome. And then again, if you go to volunteer now.net, you can learn more information. And hopefully, you can volunteer as a listener and also get your kids involved in volunteering. And that would be great. And Sheldon, we really appreciate one all that you do for the community and to for coming on the show. Thank you so much.

Sheldon Brennemann:

Yeah, thank you for having me.

Fuzz Martin:

All right. That'll do it for this week's show. Before I go, I just want to say thank you to everyone who listened to last week's episode. I was completely blown away by your support and encouragement. It was It felt so good, and I received so many great ideas for future episodes. I am excited for you to hear next week's show. I am looking forward to this it makes me feel so good. If you have an idea for the show, please send it to 15 with phones@gmail.com. That's 15 spelled out fifteenwithfuzz@gmail.com New episodes every Monday we'll talk to you next time on Fifteen minutes with Fuzz.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai

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About the Podcast

Fifteen Minutes with Fuzz
Showcasing the positive things happening in Washington County, Wisconsin.
Fifteen Minutes with Fuzz is sheds light on all the great things going on in and around Washington County, Wisconsin. The host, Fuzz Martin, is a local business owner (EPIC Creative) and a former radio personality (92.5 WBWI - now Buzz Country). New episodes launch on Tuesday mornings. https://fifteenwithfuzz.com

Whether you're in West Bend, Kewaskum, Slinger, Hartford, Germantown, Richfield, Jackson, or anywhere else in the area, 15 Minutes with Fuzz serves the community with fun and positive people, places, events, and attractions.

About your host

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Fuzz Martin

Fuzz Martin is a partner and Chief Strategy Officer at EPIC Creative in West Bend, Wis.