10-year-old girls prove to be great leaders of kids camp

Photo Credit: REVIEW PHOTO: VERN UYETAKE - Sofia Corso, left, and Avery Jett lead kids aged 4 to 7 in one of the many activities at their camp. Their camp was so fun that the kids didnt want to leave.When Sofia Corso raises her loud, authoritative voice, little kids listen.

Sofia is only 10 years old herself, but along with her best friend Avery Jett (also 10), she was co-leader for a flock of happy little kids (ages 4 to 7) at Avery and Sofia’s Camp FUN in Lake Oswego.

The camp got off to a shaky start on its first day last week. After all, Avery and Sofia had never led a camp before. But even before the day was over the two girls were getting a handle on things and proving themselves to be natural born summer camp leaders. There were soon a bunch of kids eager to return. There were even a couple of cases of kids kicking and screaming when they had to leave. That’s success.

“We felt a little out of control at the start,” Sofia explained. “We developed a strategy to get better control.”

Certainly, Sofia quickly established herself as an authority figure. When she piped out orders the kids listened, quickly obeying her commands on what they needed to do. While taking charge of the kids, Sofia was also able to keep the Jetts’ dog, Lucy, from eating her sandwich.

The little ones were eager to do the right thing at a camp that was fun, fun, fun. The activity list was so fun that adults might try to enroll next summer. The final afternoon of the camp alone called for a hot water balloon fight, the exploding lunch bag, Photo Credit: REVIEW PHOTO: VERN UYETAKE - Avery Jett takes a scientific approach to exploding a lunch bag for the benefit of her campers in Lake Oswego last week.crafts, games, and snack time. There was also trampoline jumping, popsicle time, tracing leaves, a scavenger hunt and a nature walk in the neighborhood. No wonder kids would only leave the camp kicking and screaming.

This wonderful camp was the idea of Avery Jett, who her mother Karie Jett calls a natural organizer and teacher.

“Avery always played school with her sister,” Jett said. “But when Lexi got to be 6 years old she didn’t want to play school anymore.”

But Avery wasn’t ready to give up.

“I thought of having a camp, so I called Sofia,” Avery said. “We brainstormed about a way to raise money to go to the Destination Imagination’s global finals next year.”

“We figured a camp would be a pretty fun, great way to make money,” Sofia said. “If we did our math right, we’ll have raised $467.”

“The hardest part for me was making the list of everyone to call,” Avery said. “It took me two hours of calling everybody to see if they wanted to come to our camp.”

The Destination Imagination global finals is just the right thing for smart, creative girls like Avery and Sofia. DI is a nonprofit organization that develops the creative process by posing challenges in creative thinking, critical thinking and collaborative problem solving in organized competitions throughout the USA. Avery and Sofia have already done quite well, along with their four teammates from Westridge Elementary School, in regional and state competition. But this success has only increased their desire to go all the way to the finals in Tennessee in 2015.

“Doing this gives us a lot of time to spend with our friends,” Avery said. “We get to really support each other with teamwork.”

“I like it because it lets me be so creative,” Sofia said. “You can take any reality and then see how you can make your idea work.”

The two girls proved they can certainly overcome challenges at their summer camp.Photo Credit: REVIEW PHOTO: VERN UYETAKE - Sofia Corso has the vocal strength to command the attention of young kids. She and her partner Avery Jett were so encouraged by their success last week that they are making big plans for next summer.

“At first I wondered if they should have a camp because they hadn’t even done baby-sitting yet,” Karie Jett said. “But soon they were learning how to separate kids into the right groupings.”

Summer success has sparked the girls’ ambitions for a bigger and better Camp FUN, with more camps, longer camps and more kids.

“We can have more sessions and more days because we’ll have our four teammates (from their Destination Imagination team) with us,” Avery said.

Avery and Sofia are already getting a long reservation list for next summer’s camp. And one of the campers will be Avery’s lively little sister, Lexi.

Truly, Avery and Sofia’s camp will become a destination.

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