Alberto Botello of Santa Rosa’s Camp Núñez- California Human Development wins a North Bay Business Journal Nonprofit Leadership Award
Professional background: I started off my career working with At Risk and Out of School Youth through Migrant Education, Volunteer Center and the Boys and Girls Club of Central Sonoma County before starting work with the Sonoma County Department of Child Support Services.
Education: Bachelor of Arts degree in sociology from University of California, Davis.
Number of staff: 25
Describe your organization: California Human Development (CHD) is a nonprofit organization waging the War on Poverty for more than 50 years. Inspired in service to our state’s farmworkers, today CHD serves people of low income from many walks of life—giving 25,000 people a year in 31 northern California counties a hand up to the American Dream.
CHD provides services ranging from training & jobs, immigration, disability, rehabilitation, Disaster Relief Assistance for Immigrants as well as a summer camp.
Camp Núñez is a free weeklong overnight summer camp for over 100 underserved students in Sonoma County. The summer camp provides an outdoor experience for incoming 4th through 8th grade students that would otherwise may not have the opportunity to attend a summer camp. CHD works with Migrant Education and other partner agencies to provide an educational outdoor education program.
This camp is a labor of love and is run with the help of many volunteers including past students that have attended and want to return and pay it forward.
Tell us a little bit about yourself: I was born in Michoacán, Mexico and moved to Sonoma County at the age of three. I graduated Windsor High School and attended the University of California Davis. I returned to Sonoma County and worked with Migrant Education program working with migrant families and students.
I also worked with Boys and Girls Central Sonoma County, and the Volunteer Center of Sonoma County. I currently work for the Sonoma County Department of Child Support Services and California Human Development as their Camp Director for Camp Núñez.
I have always enjoyed volunteering my time and give back to my community. I am also a Big Brother with the Big Brothers Big Sisters, Sexual Assault Victim Advocate with Verity and an a member of the Santa Rosa Active 20-30 club #50.
Growing up I benefited from many programs that helped me achieve my goals. I feel it is my privilege and responsibility to pay it forward to the future generations in our community.
What is your role in the organization?
I am the Camp Director for Camp Núñez.
How has your organization been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic?
We had to cancel camp for the first time in 15 years.
What are the ways your organization responded to increased demands for services, and fiscally, in what has your organization been forced to adjust?
Our organization has found ways to provide support to the families of students that would have attended camp this year including supplies to assist with distance learning. It is completely new to us as we usually provide a direct service to families.
What achievement are you most proud of?
Our previous camp director Martha Núñez passed away in February, 2016 and I was asked if I was interested in taking on her role to make sure that camp continued to happen. I was able to finish the planning for in 2016 and have built a great team that has ensured we create a meaningful experience for our students.
What is your biggest challenge today?
COVID-19 and all the uncertainties around it.
What is the next major project either under way or on the horizon?
Finding a way to hold camp next year COVID-19 permitting and securing funding so that we can continue hold camp years come.
What product or service would/or is helping you do your job more effectively?
Google Drive has helped our staff and partner agencies do all the prep work for camp.
How do you think your profession will change in the next five years?
Summer camps will have to adapt to our new normal, either smaller groups of students
Describe a fond memory you have about working with a staff member or client of your organization?
We had a camper that had recently arrived to the U.S. and was having a hard time adjusting to live here.
The first day he arrived, he would cry during meals times because he was homesick. Like with many of our students, it was his first time away from home.
It was amazing to watch him slowly stop coming out of his shell and making new friends. By the end of camp, he came up to me and said he didn’t want to go home because he had made so many friends and was having so much fun.
Years later I met him an outreach event and he asked me if he could volunteer to help with camp. It is moments like that make me realize the huge impact that camp has on our campers lives.
What other community involvement would you like people to know about?
I am a member of the Active 20-30 club No. 50., a big brother with the Big Brothers Big Sisters program of the Bay Area, a Crisis Line Counselor / Sexual Assault Victim Advocate with Verity, Windsor El Día De Los Muertos – Committee member, Windsor Educational Foundation Scholarship – Committee member.
Current reading: “Hanson’s Marathon Method”, Luke Humphrey; “We Were One”, Patrick K. O’Donnell
Most want to meet: Emmitt Smith
Stress relievers: Running, hiking
Favorite hobbies: Running, hiking
Social media you most use: Instagram
Typical day at the office: When we are planning for camp a typical day is doing outreach to families, contacting our partner agencies and working on logistics for getting our 100+ students up to camp.
Best place to work outside of the office: Outside on the picnic tables at camp getting to know our campers.
Words that best describe you: Honest, adventurous, resilient, passionate, caring
Anything you want to add?
Camp Núñez has been around for many years under different names. It was renamed Camp Geneva Núñez over 15 years ago to honor her after she passed away for her decades of work helping run the summer camp.
In 2006 her sister Martha Núñez took over and continued her work to provide a summer camp to students that may otherwise not have the opportunity to attend one.
In 2016, after Martha passed away we renamed the camp once again to honor both sisters. It is now called as Camp Núñez to honor them and the legacy they left behind.
I want to thank you for honoring me with this award. As most people in the nonprofit world we do not do it for the money or recognition we do it because we love the work and have a passion for giving back.