Volunteer Spotlight: Jordan Smith

With over three hundred volunteers, Austin Bat Cave works with some of the most talented, creative, and engaging individuals in bringing dynamic programs to¬†Austin’s kiddos. We are waist-deep in summer camps right now, but Austin Bat Cave wants to take some time out to highlight the important work being done by one of our stellar volunteers.

Jordan Smith not only led a yoga & writing workshop with the youngsters at Amala Foundation’s Camp Indigo, but also signed up to help out with our Fiction-to-Film Adaptation Camp. Jordan put together an exciting lesson plan built around a shared mission statement between Amala Foundation and Austin Bat Cave: that kids develop increased confidence and a high level of respect for themselves and others. We love volunteers like Jordan!

Jordan was always able to adapt to any situation. Every day she was presented with a new group of kids to work with, always different ages, and she managed to keep every one of them engaged through writing and yoga exercises. She’s pretty awesome.

Recently, we spoke with Jordan about Austin and volunteering with ABC.

Volunteer Spotlight: Jordan Smith

Volunteer Spotlight: Jordan Smith

Q: What do you like to do here in Austin?

A: I teach yoga (in addition to various writing-related jobs), so I love finding new yoga classes or yoga events to attend. Other favorites include eating way too many breakfast tacos and writing at Mozart’s Coffee, especially when the sun is setting.
Q: How did you find ABC?

A: I run a small writing critique group with some friends, and we decided to attend Story Department as a way to get more in touch with the Austin literary community. My friends and I were completely bowled over by the storytelling (I may have cried the first time we went), and when we learned more about ABC’s mission we were so excited to get involved. I think I went home and filled out the volunteer form as soon as I got home from the event! 

Q: What do you like about working with kids?

A: It’s such a nice reminder that creativity is supposed to be fun! At the Amala camp we played a game where everyone pretended to be animals, and it was a blast to see the kids getting super into it — some of the other adults and I got pretty into it, too. As I’ve gotten older, it gets harder and harder to turn off that judgmental “editor” voice, to embrace silliness and the creative process as wholeheartedly as I once did. Kids just go for it, and seeing their excitement is really inspiring.

Q: What was your favorite part of the Amala camp?

A: Definitely seeing the kids’ imaginations in action! We gave the kids the option to draw rather than write depending on the age group, and one little girl decided to draw herself as a bunny. It also happened to be her birthday, and so she gave the rabbit a birthday party hat. Get this — the hat was also a carrot. I thought it was pretty much the most brilliant thing I’ve ever seen, and I can’t stop telling people about it.

Q: If you could start an ABC writing workshop of your own, what would the theme be?

A: I’ve been on a mystery kick lately, so I think something about writing mysteries or suspenseful stories could be super fun! Maybe the kids could read some classic mystery stories like Sherlock Holmes or excerpts from writers like Agatha Christie. If it was a week-long camp, they could play some sort of murder mystery game in addition — like life-size Clue. So the kids are learning about writing and reading but also staying engaged through a fun game all week!

Q: How old are you? Where did you grow up? Where did you go to school?

A: I turn 24 in August. I grew up in College Station, TX, but traded my Aggie maroon blood for Longhorn orange when I decided to attend the University of Texas at Austin. Hook ’em!

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