I’ve had many summers that consisted of one thing, work! Waitressing day and night and that was pretty much it. Summer was weeks and weeks of the same thing, with a random birthday or family day out every so often to break up the constant shifts.
This summer was different. It dawned on me that this was my last “empty” summer break. I mean this in the respect that next year I want to do a summer internship, and then fingers crossed I’ll be in the working world from then on. This realisation made me realise this was the perfect time to do one of the biggest things on my bucket list…summer camp. Many recognise it if I drop in the name Camp America, creating images of log cabins similar to the ones from the film Dirty Dancing, not quite as nice as Centre Parks but definitely better than camping!
So I cracked on with the application, the skype interview and then jumped through a few more hoops before I was on the plane heading to New York and waving goodbye to England for 10 weeks. Now, this would be the point I would tell you how I left rainy England and arrived in sunny New York, but no. Fast forward through a very stressful journey and with a lot of rain and I finally arrived at camp.
A day in the life of a councillor consisted of lots of activities broken up with three meals a day, and you definitely looked forward to those meals! I was in charge of the oldest kids in camp, from the ages of 14-16, which meant a lot of moody teenager moments!
It sounds cheesy but for those 7 weeks they were there, I was like a big sister to a lot of them, creating bonds that can’t be replicated anywhere other than camp because you’re literally in a bubble for summer.
Every week there was a staff trip to Walmart, which sound very sad thinking of it now because Walmart is the equivalent to ASDA and IKEA’s love-child. However, those couple of hours away from camp exposed you the real world again, a world where not everyone lives in a wood and there was a McDonalds across the road (again, sad how excited I got about this).
The clichés of an American summer camp are all true, you do sing round a campfire swaying to the music; this took me some time to without finding it hilarious the whole time. Another stereotype that is definitely true is that golf carts are the only way to travel, if you’re powerful enough in camp to have one (which I wasn’t). And finally the image of kids jumping off a jetty into the lake surrounding by trees…yep that’s true too.
I was amazed at this lifestyle these kids had. Yes, I was at an expensive camp, so these kids were paying (well, their parents were!) thousands to be there. They lived through the year looking forward to camp and seeing their friends again. I knew straight away that I just needed to embrace the clichés either I’d never fit in. I channelled my inner Camp Rock sort of character, becoming an enthusiastic camp councillor that became known as “Soccer mom” to all my kids.
Without turning this into a list of clichés and cheesy memories, I’ll move on to say that this summer was (last one I promise) the best summer of my life. You are tested and challenged the whole time, the job is intense because of how constant it is, and these factors alongside the part of being away from home for so long, can put people off, but it is the best thing I’ve ever done and would highly recommend it.
If I’ve inspired you at all then I recommend you head over to the Americamp website to find out more (They’re a similar company to Camp America but you earn more money!) It could be you being hit in the face with paint after doing a woodland colour run…I love the photo but my hair took a few washes to get back to normal after that!