Laura Gallagher has been named our new program director, and she wanted to introduce herself. Here are her words. Jane–
Hello from Scotland and a huge Happy New Year to y’all!
As your new Program Director (ahh!), I wanted to take this opportunity to send out a wee message to express my joy and thanks to everyone for the kind and loving words I have received since news broke, I am so incredibly overwhelmed by the response! I also want to let y’all know a bit more about me! First and foremost, yes, I do use the word “y’all” a LOT. It’s a term I picked up probably on my first day in Texas and even though folks back home may laugh I have said it proudly ever since.
I was born and raised in Glasgow, Scotland, a place where we say ‘girls’ funny and a beautiful city where I am lucky to call home. As Jane has previously said, I had a normal upbringing, with my immediate family consisting of my mum, Stephanie, my dad, Jim, and my older brother, Stephen. However, since my mum is one of eight and my dad, one of four, my extended family is huge which I absolutely love. Some of y’all may even know my twin cousins Emma and Rachael Moran, who were counselors and waterfront staff back in 2012. I will be forever grateful to them for introducing me to such a wonderful place!
Throughout my childhood my family vacationed all over the UK in a caravan (*insert American term here*) which first contributed to my love of the outdoors and exploring. Alas the UK does not have optimal conditions for summer camps so I just had to wait a few more years to experience that! I have always known I wanted to see more of the world, my late grandfather absolutely adored Texas and was so excited when he heard of my first two years working here; he would often say “Laura, you could most definitely live in beautiful, beautiful Texas”, how lucky I am to be doing so in the very near future!
I have one semester left at university where I major in Business and Management before I fly out to really begin this life changing experience. When I was in my sophomore year I decided to apply for Camp America, I had heard such wonderful things from friends and the twins that I just had to experience the American summer camp for myself! After applying, both Emma and Rachael urged me to look at the HOH website and go there; the rest shall we say is history! My first summer at HOH was more than I could have ever dreamed of, the place itself is so beautiful and by adding all you incredible campers, staff and families just make it an entirely magical place! Within a month of arriving home I knew I had to return and so I re-applied, this time hoping to be a sponsor as well. Never in my wildest dreams could I have imagined achieving that position for not just one, but TWO terms! It made my second summer all the more outstanding and I enjoyed every single moment of my time with the tribe, however now I promise it’s Shapawnees all the way.
My second summer at Heart O’ the Hills was not without some difficulty however, as I received news from home that my dear grandfather passed away as we were approaching the end of first term. Nonetheless, with the love and support I received from all those around me I continued my time through second term, allowing that camp spirit and magic to heal me, all the while feeling love from my papa and family back home from those beautiful Texan stars. Upon returning home a second time from camp, it was confirmed I would return as I signed a contract before leaving, can you tell I just can’t get enough of the place yet?
At the risk of sounding too cheesy (but then again that’s me all over) I have without a doubt found a piece of my own heart at Heart O’ the Hills, a part that I didn’t even know was missing. Heart O’ the Hills has helped me, Heart O’ the Hills has healed me and Heart O’ the Hills has 100% changed my life. I am so incredibly excited and honored to take on the position of Program Director and I cannot wait to help make your campers’ summer experience the most amazing one ever. Thank y’all again so much for all the kind messages, if you have any questions or simply want to chat, my camp email is firstname.lastname@example.org so please feel free to get in touch!
I hope y’all have had a fun-filled festive season and I wish you all the happiness in the world for 2016!