May Community Connect-Jack Carey and Lucy Scholz

Summer is around the corner and many of us are ready to head outside and enjoy some long-anticipated fun in the sun. For Jack Carey and Lucy Scholz, however, outdoor activities are everlasting. Witry Collective’s May Community Connect highlights Jack Carey, the founder of Live Oak Wilderness Camp, and Founding Program Director, Lucy Scholz.

Jack has spent most of his life hiking, camping, backpacking, and adventuring. His passion for the environment and outdoors reflects in his academic career, completing coursework in Natural Resources and Environmental Studies at the University of Minnesota. After graduating, Jack distributed his knowledge to 5th grade students in the South of Bronx where he met his wife, Jenny. In 2008, Jack and Jenny came to New Orleans for the first time to attend Jazz Fest and fell in love with the city.When Jenny received a teaching opportunity in New Orleans, they decided to move here and soon after, Jack met Lucy Scholz. Lucy is originally from Baltimore, MD and grew up attending the same summer camp in Virginia for 12 years. She later graduated from University of Virginia, where the career center encouraged her to follow her dream of running her own summer camp. The Crescent City brought together two individuals who share a common love for the outdoors and together they created a life-changing summer program called Live Oak Wilderness Camp.

Live Oak Wilderness Camp strives to instill a love for nature and the outdoors into children between the ages of 9 and 15 from over 70 public, private, and independent schools. The program is designed to teach children the importance of bravery, awareness, and kindness through exciting and engaging daily activities. Some of these activities include a camper-run talent show to promote organizational skills and team work, event planning to help campers think creatively and plan ahead, and swimming to encourage an active lifestyle. Campers not only learn vital life skills that help them embrace their best qualities, they also have the opportunity to gain lifelong friendships with a diverse group of children from all over New Orleans. The New Orleans school system is majorly divided between public, private, and independent schools. Often, children will remain separated their entire educational timeline and never cross paths with kids outside their school. “The school system leads to a huge divide for young people,” Jack says. “I took this as an opportunity to bring them together and help them connect.”

Live Oak Wilderness Camp partners with schools all over New Orleans to raise money for scholarships so every child has an opportunity to attend. Many campers return to Live Oak for 5 summers in a row! At the end of the 5-year program, the camp graduates will present a capstone project where they describe what Live Oak has done for them over the years. “One camper used his capstone project to describe how Live Oak helped him realize he could make interpersonal connections,” Lucy explains. “Live Oak has also taught me [as a staff member] that the people you surround yourself with are really important and every day I am so excited to work with my best friends doing what I love.” In the technologically advanced era we are living in, early-on personal connections are so important for children to create. Live Oak Wilderness Camp gives children the opportunity to create these relationships and maintain them on a strong foundation of kindness.

The values of Live Oak Wilderness Camp resonate with Witry Collective because of the importance of strong interpersonal connections in the field of realty. After Jack worked with Katie Witry on two different home transactions, the similarities became apparent. “Katie’s dedication to building a community of people in New Orleans has been the real deal. She shows that in ways that extend beyond the business relationship,” Jack says. Lucy also worked with Adrienne LaBauve, stating, “Adrienne was patient, kind, and on my side through the home buying process. I’d recommend her to anyone.” There is still time to apply to the Summer 2019 program at Live Oak and donations towards scholarships can be made here. We love our community in New Orleans and we are so excited to see what these Live Oak campers will contribute to it one day.