Jenna Catalon, 15, soaks Camp Wa-Tam campers with water recently at Howarth Park in Santa Rosa. Press Democrat photo by Christopher Chung.

By KEVIN McCALLUM
THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

Kids attending Santa Rosa’s Camp Wa-Tam have for years been treated to summers filled with games, canoeing, archery and nature walks in Howarth Park.
But this year, one of the camp’s newest counselors, Jenna Catalon, is bringing a performing arts flair to the camp with her passion for singing and dancing.
The 15-year-old sophomore at Redwood Adventist Academy has used her performance skills and positive attitude to help campers participate in the skits and shows that are a key ingredient in the camp’s popularity.
“She gives off a very positive vibe,” said Camp Wa-Tam director Rocco Ambrosio. “She’s one of the hires I’m very happy with.”
Catalon started out a little shy but over the 10-week camp has really grown into her role as someone who helps make the camp as fun as possible, he said. Her experience as a performer has served her well and allowed her to “be goofy with the kids,” he said.
Catalon started taking dance lessons when she was 5 or 6 and has been practicing more intensely in recent years. She takes tap, jazz and hip-hop dance classes after school most days. While it’s physically demanding, Catalon says dance also is liberating.
“It really helps you kind of step out of yourself a little bit,” she says. “Dancing is great like that because it helps you not take yourself too seriously.”
She lives in Windsor with her parents, Laura and Phillip Cata-lon, and her 13-year-old brother, Jonah, with whom she is very close. He also is a counselor in training at Camp Wa-Tam this year.
Catalon loves the close-knit school community at Redwood Adventist Academy, a private K-12 school on Mark West Springs Road with about 48 high school students. She gets mostly A’s, helps out as a teaching assistant but hasn’t yet figured out what her college plans might be.
In addition to her dancing, Catalon is into singing. She takes lessons with a voice coach and has learned how to sing in three different languages. She recently won a certificate of merit from the Music Teachers Association of California for her performance of the aria “O cessate di piagarmi.”
“My friends would probably say I’m super busy a lot of the time but that mostly I have a good attitude about stuff and just go with the flow,” she said.

You can reach Staff Writer Kevin McCallum at 521-5207 or kevin.mccallum@pressdemocrat.com.

NAME: Jenna Catalon
Age: 15
Birthplace: Santa Rosa
Lives with: Parents, Phillip and Laura Catalon, and brother, Jonah
What’s in her iPod: Jason Mraz
Favorite hobby: Classical guitar
Dream job: Actress/musician.
Favorite food: Any kind of noodle.
Quote: “My friends would probably say I’m super busy a lot of the time but that mostly I have a good attitude about stuff and just go with the flow.”