During the summer of 2016 I worked at a summer camp in the U.S state New Hampshire at “Camp Tel Noar”. This summer was the hardest yet most rewarding summer of my life. I would recommend working at a summer camp to everybody! I hope this blog serves as a first person account of what being a camp counsellor is really like…!
Apprehensive, nervous, excited, full of enthusiasm… I got a flight from Heathrow to Boston. Arriving at Camp is extremely surreal and it doesn’t sink in that you’ll be spending your whole summer there initially. I attended a week of training and within a blink of an eye I had been placed with a specific age group, co-counsellors, and had ten eleven year olds to look after….AHHH. It is overwhelming, you go from being a young brit who is nervous to looking after children who you do not know. However, I promise you that these children will honestly change your life. I cried a ridiculous amount when I said goodbye to my kids and they have left such an imprint on my heart. I even still keep in contact with them now. Alongside my bunk responsibilities I worked as a Drama Tutor, it was extremely fun, we put on three shows throughout the summer and it was so rewarding to see children who were shy become confident.
I feel like many people who go to work at a camp don’t quite know what they’re in for… you do not stop from morning until night and you don’t even sleep properly as you’re worried about the kids you are responsible for. Camp is fun and the best place ever, there is no where else in the world where you can you act like a big kid and get away with it. However, if you’re thinking of doing the programme don’t be tricked that it is easy… it is hard work!!! You’re constantly tired (the tiredest you’ll ever be!), you miss home… its not just a summer spent chilling at the lake. Despite how hard the summer was and how bad my eye bags were when I left (literally) it was THE MOST REWARDING SUMMER EVER. As cheesy as it sounds… you learn so much about yourself, I realised at camp a lot of things about myself that I would have never ever known if I had not done it.
From colour war, performances, movie nights, trip days, evening activities, meeting my best friends ever, tears, lots of laughter, countless servings of Ice-cream, camp fires, s’mores, bunk activities, gross showers, mosquito bites, trips to Walmart, days off, kayaking, dancing… it was the best experience of my life.
Advice for Future Camp Counsellors:
– Keep a journal. I did this and I am so glad that I did! I pretty much wrote in my journal three times a week and now I can look back and remember every single thing in detail.
-Video LOADS. Whilst pictures are great, videos are better. I wish so so so much that I would have videoed more.
– Make the most of travelling after Camp. I travelled to Miami, LA, San Fran, and New York. It’s not expensive as it looks. Internal flights are cheap and so are buses. Hostels are cheap and you can live of 50p Noodles!
– Take clothes you’d exercise in… don’t take nice clothes to camp. The dryers will DESTROY your clothes.
-If you’re traveling after opt for a backpack not a suitcase…I learnt this after sliding my suitcase down 8 flights of stairs in a San Fran Hostel, resulting in a huge hole in my suitcase. Lifts don’t always work….hahahaha!
– Give everything you have, some days all you want is to go home and have a cup of tea with your mum… I now regret the days I felt sad and homesick. It’s a once in a life time experience (unless you decide to go back) so don’t take it for granted!!
The Camp America programme, and others such as Camp Leaders etc are quite expensive. In total with extra expenses I think it cost about £1100…this looks so off putting… but you will get payed for working at Camp and honestly it was worth every single penny! Go and do it, I am so proud of myself for doing Camp America. It will be the best summer of your life.
Camp certainly scars you for life – you will not be able to escape the travel bug once you’ve done it.