Fall brings great excitement to the LLYC office as the team welcomes new interns—Nicole Votolato and Jacqueline Brustkern. “Nico,” an Echo Valley veteran, and Jacqueline, a seasoned staffer of the Hills, are the perfect blend to serve alongside our full-time staff this coming year.
If you’ve spent any time at Echo Valley over the last four years, you know Nicole Votolato—though you may only know her by her camp-given nickname “Nico.” After hearing lots of Camp stories from her cousin’s camp-famous husband and former LLYC Intern Steven Wallace, Nico applied to LLYC the spring semester of her freshman year. Canyon Club quickly stole Nico’s heart as she served her first two LLYC summers loving and caring for the full-time staff families’ kids. She formed very close relationships to the LLYC staff families, which allowed her a peek behind the scenes into the real work of the Foundation and also awakened her love of working with young children. Over the next two summers, Nico got a broader experience of Camp when she took on the job of EV Crew Boss and EV Assistant Girls’ Director. With this variety of experience, Nico gained wonderful insight into all things LLYC.
Nico graduated in May from the University of North Texas with a BS in Interdisciplinary Studies and Certification in Early Childhood – 6th Grade ESL. While she cannot wait to get back in the classroom to teach, she knows that the Lord opened the door to the amazing LLYC internship opportunity this year. Nico is hitting the ground running with staff recruiting and attending the Ponder Retreat in Round Top with LLYC Director, Karla Heath. Nico shared that she is especially excited about the retreat content—learning about a deeper study of Scripture— as she will help Karla next summer in leading the Echo Valley girls’ staff preparation for Rooted, the girls’ bible study.
Austin native Jacqueline Brustkern first came to LLYC the summer after her freshman year at UT. Jacqueline recalls having a real desire to work at a camp and had opportunity to interview with quite a few. But it was her interview with Karla, along with a number of LLYC friends, that ultimately swayed her decision. “It wasn’t a checklist of my abilities or personality,” says Jacqueline. “It was an authentic conversation. I felt like Karla really wanted to know me—which I learned is a true reflection of LLYC.” Having served as an EV counselor, SH Crew Boss, and SH Assistant Girls’ Director, Jacqueline brings diverse experience and relationships to her internship role.
Jacqueline jokes that her friends might describe her as a bit indecisive. But when the LLYC internship presented itself, she knew with absolute clarity it was the right fit. Her friends were shocked at her quick decisiveness—maybe for the first time ever! Jacqueline is excited to spend this year focusing on something she cares so deeply for—a place and ministry she loves. A place to which God keeps bringing her back.
With a Bachelor of Science and Arts in Nutrition, Certification in Business Foundations and a Minor in Kinesiology from the University of Texas, Jacqueline believes she will pursue further schooling in dietetics or social work after her LLYC internship.