Camp Matador: For Students, by Students

  • Camp Matador counselors and campers at Ponderosa Pines Camp. Photo courtesy of Outdoor Adventures.

Before they hit the books this fall, California State University, Northridge offers incoming freshmen a trip to Camp Matador, a bonding adventure that will feature team-building exercises, zip-lining and other group activities.

Camp Matador is a four-day, three-night camping experience where students will ride air-conditioned buses to Ponderosa Pines Camp near Big Bear Lake, Aug. 10-13. The trip costs $160, which includes lodging, meals, transportation, and a CSUN T-shirt and water bottle.

The staff at CSUN Outdoor Adventures, which organizes and staffs the annual program, described Camp Matador as an opportunity to have fun, make friends and learn more about the Matador life at CSUN — building a strong and supportive foundation for their first year of college.

“We use the terms ‘friends’ and ‘connections,’ but what we really do is help students build support systems,” said Tim Szczepanski, Outdoor Adventures coordinator and faculty in CSUN’s Department of Recreation and Tourism Management. “The students who are facilitators and counselors are great role models and genuine people.”

The camp is a great opportunity for incoming freshmen to meet their peers, improve their interpersonal skills and establish solid group skills, Szczepanski added.

Erika Villalvazo attended Camp Matador in 2013, worked as a camp counselor the following year and serves as a student development associate coordinator for this year’s camp.

“Camp Matador really helped me with my transition from high school to college,” Villalvazo said. “I wouldn’t be who or where I am today without it.”

The camp helped Villalvazo make connections, grow more confident and establish lasting friendships.

“This was a truly life-changing experience,” she said.

Applications for Camp Matador will be available starting April 1. Incoming freshmen are encouraged to apply as soon as possible, as there are only 120 spots for this summer’s program, and they are expected to fill quickly.

For more information about the camp or the application process, please visit the Camp Matador website.

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