This year’s Benefit Luncheon will recognize six of our Camp Kudzu Alumni. These individuals will be the inaugural class of Camp Kudzu Ambassadors. The Ambassador program aims to represent our alumni who have grown up attending camp programs and remain involved with Camp Kudzu, the type 1 community, as well as excel in their personal lives and professional goals. These six individuals were chosen from hundreds of our alumni because of their stellar representation of Camp Kudzu’s effectiveness. They are all well-rounded young professionals who continue to impact the diabetes community and give back their time each summer to children living with Type 1 Diabetes through the programs offered by Camp Kudzu. Kaki Bennett, Jamie Cross, Anna Rambo, Katie Rhea, Kelsey Rogowski, and Andrew Sturniolo are all wonderful examples of what camp strives to instill in campers each and every year. We are excited about this inaugural group of individuals, and look forward to continuing to recognize former campers who are lighting the way for the future generations of Camp Kudzu.
An Atlanta native, Kaki Bennett has been attending Camp Kudzu since 2001 and has served as a CIT, counselor, and on head staff. She graduated from Davidson College in 2015 and spent the 2015-2016 academic year conducting lung cancer research at the Luxembourg Institute of Health on a Fulbright grant. She is currently a second-year medical student at the Emory University School of Medicine. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, singing, and traveling.
Kelsey Rogowski has been a member of the Camp Kudzu Family since 2005. Although being diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes in 1997 at the age of 7, she finally made her way to camp her first year as a camper in 2005. Since then, she has served as a counselor-in-training (CIT), volunteer counselor at year-round programs, and most recently as head staff for both the CIT program and teen girls village. Kelsey has three older siblings also living with Type 1 Diabetes; her older brother, Ben, also volunteers his time during the summer at Camp Kudzu. Because of the valuable impact of Camp Kudzu, Kelsey decided to stay local and she completed her undergraduate studies at Georgia Tech and Master of Public Health degree at Emory University. Kelsey currently lives in Brookhaven and is employed as a Clinical Research Coordinator within the Aflac Cancer and Blood Disorders Center at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta at Egleston. While not at camp, she enjoys spending time with family, going to Pure Barre, and trying out all the fun patios that Atlanta has to offer! Her favorite part about camp is the sense of community and family that Camp Kudzu fosters both during camp and all year-round!
Katie began attending Camp Kudzu in 2001 as a teen camper, then continued through the CIT program. She became a counselor in 2007 and now volunteer as head staff, primarily working with the CIT program. In the real world, she works as a special education teacher in Gwinnett County. She loves her job for many reasons, but one important reason is that she can come to camp each summer! She married her husband Carter in 2011 and they now have a beautiful two-year-old little girl named Harper. Katie expresses that camp has given her so much – confidence in managing her diabetes, the knowledge that diabetes cannot stop her from living her life, and a family that supports her no matter what diabetes throws her way.
Andrew has been coming to camp for 16 years, and has been a staff member for the past 8 years. He was on staff every summer session for 6 years, the past 2 only being able to attend Barney. He has done several family camps and one ski trip. He met his wife, Amy, at camp 5 years ago and proposed at Barney last year with a classic camp meal chant. Andrew played golf in college at Pace University and finished his first degree at Kennesaw State University. He currently works as a Financial Specialist in the Medical Mergers & Acquisitions field. He has never let diabetes stop him from achieving any goals he set for himself whether it be playing golf, baseball, going skydiving etc.
Jamie has been a part of the Camp Kudzu family since 2002. She began her first year at camp by claiming the title of most home sick camper. After a week with Alex Allen encouraging her to meet others with diabetes, learn new skills to manage her diabetes, and just have fun, She fell in love with camp. She continued on to complete the Counselor-in-Training program and then moved on to being a counselor. After completing her Bachelors of Science in Nursing at Georgia Southern University, She began working on the medical team at Camp Kudzu as a clinician. She is currently pursuing her Masters of Science in Nursing and plans to become a Primary and Acute Pediatric Nurse Practitioner. While working in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta Jamie gets to meet many families who are just beginning to learn about the diagnoses of Type-1 Diabetes. Her favorite thing to tell these parents and patients is about all the things camp has added to her life: confidence, independence, and the best friendships she could ever have been blessed with.
Anna has been attending Camp Kudzu since 2002. She moved from camper, to counselor-in-training, to counselor, and then head staff, missing only one summer. What she learned at camp about diabetes management, independence, and support inspired her to pursue a Bachelor’s of Science in Community Health Education at Georgia College and State University. After College, she has work in the non-profit sector at the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, the American Diabetes Association, and now at Camp Kudzu. She is thrilled to be able to give back to a place that helped shaped her as an adult both personally and professionally and is continually thankful for the family gained through all those summers.