At The Painted Turtle, PUN is as fundamental to the camp experience as arts & crafts, fishing, or the ropes course. Beloved and revered by campers and staff alike, PUN—part magician, part counselor, part clown, part friend—volunteers at nearly every camp session The Painted Turtle holds each year.
And of the thousands of people who come through our gates, we would wager there is not one who leaves the camp not having shared a smile, a laugh, a word of encouragement, or a kind hand up from the miraculous PUN.
My favorite part about camp was meeting new friends and PUN! —14 year old camper
PUN has the ability to change a life!
It is hard to summarize in words the way in which PUN affects every person he meets. Dressed in a loud magician’s coat, a floppy-brimmed hat, baggy pants, striped socks, and armed with magic tricks, cards, ropes, plungers, and laughter spilling out of every pocket, PUN is a person who has the ability to change the course of a day, a week, and I’m sure in some instances a life, by the love and generosity he offers to each person with whom he comes in contact. One of the magical aspects of PUN is that he seems to be everywhere. His presence on camp brings a spirit of innovation: PUN develops special game show programs for Camp that he intentionally designs with our Camp setting in mind, plus so much more.
Yes, PUN is a universal presence, but what is even more amazing about him is the individual and intentional opportunities he creates to interact with each and every child at Camp—and the way in which those interactions impact a child to feel lighter, more confident, more appreciated, more special. And therein lies PUN’s true magic: his ability to affect positive change in a child.
PUN also serves as a role model and teacher to the hundreds of volunteers who enter the gates of The Painted Turtle to donate their time for a camp session. He constantly shows a willingness to teach and mentor our volunteer community, and this impacts the program in immeasurable ways. PUN maintains he is not just a teacher, he is also a student. “At every session of Camp there are countless campers who teach and inspire me with their innate wisdom, their ongoing desire to try and accomplish new achievements, and their resilience in the face of profound challenges.”
PUN’s dedication also extends to volunteer recruitment. By carrying information about our Camp programs wherever he goes, he passionately champions the Camp experience to people he encounters and encourages them to get actively involved in serving our campers.
Oh I know him, he’s the guy who makes me laugh when I feel sick. —UCLA patient about PUN