Camp News
Camp Stories

Home Away From Home

By Elizabeth McCurry
March 16, 2022

Meet Julie

When a person describes their home, they might describe it as a place they feel safest, the place they can be the most themselves. A person’s safe place can be many things – a person, their actual place of residence, or even another place. To Julie Silva, one of her favorite places that has that feeling of “home” is Victory Junction.

Julie with summer counselor
Julie worked as a lifeguard at Victory Junction in 2016.

In late 2015, Julie was a freshman in college, looking to get a summer job in 2016. Her mom saw an ad for Victory Junction, and that they were searching for lifeguards for the summer. Julie thought she would apply and see what happened. After all, it was just a job and just for one summer, right?

What Julie says now is that summer was the catalyst to an amazing journey at the place that she describes as a “home away from home that shaped a lot of who I am today.” Since her first summer on staff in 2016, Julie has returned to VJ many times to volunteer and even serve in a summer leadership role.

When asked about one of her favorite VJ memories, Julie said she had so many, but she noted that one of her favorite stories happened in her first week at Camp, and she feels it exemplifies what VJ is all about. “My cabin that week was some of the oldest girls so we had time at the adventure area for climbing the tower,” she explained. “This camper had an illness where, in the world outside of VJ, she was told ‘no’ a lot. But she wanted to climb the tower to the top so we were going to make it happen. She used so much strength and perseverance, and she got all the way to the top! In that moment of cheering with my co-counselors and her fellow campers, it really hit me how magical of a place VJ is!”

“I find myself almost daily looking back at lessons I learned and connections I made during my time spent at Victory Junction.”

– Julie Silva

Julie’s experience with Victory Junction also helped to prepare her for a career in clinical research. In her role as a site management associate, Julie assists with managing sites that conduct clinical trials. “Working at VJ gave me a passion for serving others,” she said. “It also helped me discover my personal skills and talents. Experiences there helped me develop strong communication and interpersonal skills, along with valuable leadership skills that I use daily in my job and personal life. Even though I do not have as much direct contact with patients as I did at Camp, I still use the exact same skills I learned there.

Erik and Julie
Julie with her fiancé Erik at Victory Junction.

Today, Julie lives in Wilmington, NC with her fiancé Erik and her one-year-old Goldendoodle, Penny. In 2019 had had the opportunity to share Camp with Erik as well. “Victory Junction is such an important place to me and I was so excited to share it with my best friend,” she said. Julie and Erik will be getting married in September, and both are excited to come back to Camp soon. “No matter where life takes us, Erik and I are so excited to be able to continue volunteering our time at one of our favorite places, my home away from home – Victory Junction.”

We find it so amazing that so many people view Victory Junction as their home away from home. We will continue to strive to make that a reality for many kids and counselors to come! We will see you back at Camp real soon, Julie!