SPOTLIGHT: Smokey (15 years of volunteering )


SPOTLIGHT!!   Mr. Doug Woodson


It was such a privilege to talk with Mr. Doug Woodson, aka Smokey, about his involvement in Sickle Cell Camp, and what continues to bring him back, year after year.


Doug is a retired Seattle Firefighter, he worked for the fire department for 27 years, and now he is enjoying his time doing what makes him happy.

He heard about the Sickle Cell community and camp around 2002, from Ms. Carol Flanagan, who was a nurse at the Carolyn Downs clinic. When Doug started volunteering, he noticed there were not many African-American counselors or leaders. He thought about why this was so, and decided to help out. He wanted to spread awareness about SC into the community and amongst people he knew. The most important reason he decided to help out at camp, was, he just wanted to make a difference in kids lives.

The first thing that Doug had to decide on was, a nickname for himself, the previous camp director wanted him to choose one that would easily relate to his everyday life, so he chose the name “Smokey”, which he has been known as for around 15 years now.

doug-woodson-2Doug started volunteering with the 8-10 year old age group. Then he included the Leaders In Training, (LIT) group. He taught them how to be in charge of their specific age groups, he taught them how to work with any of the children that were having difficulty fitting in with their age groups, how to assist children that may get sick at camp, and over all, how to be a great, positive role model.

I asked Smokey what was something he remembers from camp that was funny to him that he would like to share. He stated the younger groups always liked to go outside in the dark, so he would download animal sounds from the internet, and they would go outside in the dark, and the kids would hear these sounds and get scared and wanted to go back inside.

When asked wha makes Smokey return to camp every year he stated that Camp Burton is a very beautiful camp and that the kids have the opportunity to experience the pleasure of attending a camp with their peers, with the same illness that they are experiencing, and to be able to talk together about what they are going through and feeling. He stated that the experiences he has felt, grows on him, and that is the main reason he returns, year after year.

Thank you Mr. Doug Woodson, for the time and leadership that you give to the SC community and to all the children who attend Camp Burton every year, we are forever grateful.


Valerie Ndifon