Fresh off the press! PALS magazine Senior Editor Sarah Barnes sat down with Chicago directors Casey Lower, Doug Kocur, and Conor Hawes for an exclusive interview last week. Get a sneak peek at the hard hitting questions featured in the inaugural edition featuring this year’s most dynamic trio.
Q: How did you get involved with PALS?
CL: Sara Glass and I starred in Beauty and the Beast together in high school (and by starred I mean played a serving napkin) and she told me about PALS! Never looked back.
DK: Soeren Palumbo gave a speech at Best Buddies Conference and mentioned camp. I was Googling around, stumbled upon it, flew out to Philly and have been experiencing the best week of the summer for 6 years!
CH: Jenna and the Palumbos convinced me to volunteer as a counselor at the Georgetown location. Mid-way through the week I had already reached out and signed up for the Chicago location later that summer!
Q: What is one thing you always keep with you?
CL: Bananagrams. It’s always a hit at camp! (and when it’s not I force people to play with me anyway)
DK: My PALS Love.
CH: My running shoes.
Q: What is your spirit vegetable?
CL: Probably a beet, because I am red most of the time and I am really in touch with my roots.
DK: Broccoli. I am full of bright green love on the top while being strong on the bottom (stalk section).
CH: Celery! If only for it’s ironic (but sadly untrue) negative-calorie mythical properties.
Q: What is your favorite memory at Camp PALS?
CL: Watching Camp PALS San Francisco campers instigate (and win) a spontaneous dance-off with the Mathletes camp sharing our residence hall.
DK: When it rained at the baseball game last year at Camp PALS Chicago. To see everyone dancing in the concourse like rain is no big deal was simply AMAZING!
CH: How does one number the stars? Platitudes aside, I sincerely find myself in a continuous state of amazement, pride, and love every day that I’m at camp. It’s the little things that I see throughout the day that keep me going throughout the year.
Q: How do you cope with Post PALS Depression (PPD)?
CL: I watch camper arrival videos on repeat for several hours while eating cookie dough.
DK: Continually looking through photos of Camp PALS on Facebook, while crying myself to sleep…pretty much every night.
CH: I rehearse my director application interview answers so that I can keep doing this year round :).
Q: What is on your Camp PALS bucket list?
CL: Learning something new about each and every camper, counselor, and staff member during the week.
DK: It would have to be PALS meets Obama or I will settle with a PALS Cruise!?
CH: I’d love to get a chance to experience all of the different camp locations. Then again, we can’t all be like Doug.
Q: If you could have one food to eat for the rest of your life what would it be?
CL: Peanut butter.
DK: Tacos, no question.
CH: The amazing paninis at Elmhurst College!
Q: Describe your favorite minute to win it game.
CL: Trying to get an oreo from my forehead to my mouth without using my hands. It’s the best way to eat healthy because I have yet to succeed. Also, it makes for really flattering candid photos.
DK: Who doesn’t love trying to move a Oreo down your face into your mouth without using your hands?
CH: The one where you get to eat all the Oreos as fast as you can. Judging from the answers above, I think I probably should have read the instructions…
Q: Name one piece of PALS swag you can’t live without.
CL: My PALS onesie. I wear it everyday underneath my outfit.
DK: If the sun is out then guns got to be out. For sure my PALS Jersey. PALS Love.
CH: My PALS bracelet. Jenni gets nervous Kübler-Ross model inspired texts whenever mine breaks.
Q: If you could have any superpower which one would you want?
CL: Teleportation. (Apparition for all my HP fans out there)
CH: Teleportation. (shout out to all my consultant friends out there)
Q: Would you rather be able to talk to animals or read people’s minds?
CL: Animals, duh.
DK: Talk to animals. Really though, what does the fox say?
CH: The consequences of always knowing what someone is thinking would result in an uncomfortably awkward imbalance in social dynamics. I suffer enough from that naturally enough as it is! Plus, penguins yo.
Q: Where should the newest Camp PALS be?
CL: The moon.
DK: Camp PALS Hawaii.
CH: I can’t say enough about Camp PALS Toronto, eh?
Q: In one word, what does PALS means to you?
Q: What will be the theme for this year’s dance?
Interview continued on page 79. For full access to this interview, please send all subscription checks to Camp PALS Chicago 2015 or check out their website here.