In the summer of 2017 I went for my first experience of a Summer Camp in America. And I can honestly say that it is one of the best things I ever did. I did have quite a few dramas getting my visa sorted but that’s a story for another time. For both summers I worked as a ropes specialist, unlike most camps specialist don’t live with the campers. And I even got the opportunity to progress to ropes director in my second year. When I sat down to write this blog, I came up with so many reasons that I will remember these summers so I have tried to summarise this into five reasons.
1. Friends that I now call family
As I didn’t live with the campers, we had a specialist cabin. Here is where I have met the most amazing girls who come from all over the world. And in my second year I was even closer with my cabin mates than my first year! See picture below, She’s from P13! In March this year I got the opportunity to to got to New Zealand to attend Kate’s wedding. She is one of the friends I met in my first year of camp and she is still one of my closest friends, technically she wasn’t in my cabin but the one attached to it so it counts! See the pictures of us from the wedding on my Instagram, don’t forget to follow to see more of what I’m currently up to.
2. My dream job
It sounds so cliche to say that it was my dream job, but honestly it was. I got to spend the day amongst the trees with a harness on, with kids who love to do this activity just as much as I did. At the camp I worked at, the children chose 2 options which generally meant the campers were enthusiastic about climbing rather than doing all activities.
3. Camp Traditions
Each camp has its own traditions, and that’s partly what makes camp so magical. So the summer camp I worked for Blue Star Summer Camp. Is a Jewish Camp which means that each Friday we have Shabbat. The children invite the specialist to join them for dinner, which simply means you make an effort with a shower and dress up in a nice outfit before sitting down to dinner with them. This makes it special for the children as the specialists usually eat in their own dinning room.
We also at the end of a session (camp is split into two sessions) award the campers paper plate awards. These are literally what they are called. We take some time to decorate a paper plate that is awarded to the campers that you choose. Campers love to receive these.
4. New Skills
As a ropes specialist I was part of the Outdoor Adventure Programme (OAPs). All OAPs are given a Wilderness First Responder Course (WFR – “woof-er”). This is an advanced first aid course that teaches you all about how to manage traumas in the back country. This course was a great addition to my experience at camp, teaching me skills that I would not have received otherwise. To complete the course you have to do a written paper as well as lots of practicals where people act out the incidents. One of the highlights of the course, was being an immobilised patient carried around on the stretcher.
5. The American Experience
Each week you get a day off, this is the perfect time to go see new things as well enjoying all the American experiences. On many a day off we went our for brunch, as well as going tubing down a river in rubber rings, a baseball game, and trips to a massive Walmart, (which had great Wifi to call home) and so much more. These are probably the things I will remember the most from my summers in America. It’s all the little extras that you didn’t know that you would be getting while you were out there. Take these with both hands and hold on to them!
As more and more time passes, especially when sat in my office job in the summer I think back to the great two summers I had in America that I will remember and treasure forever. I will share more about my time there so don’t forget to subscribe below to ensure you never miss a blog! Also check out my other blogs and let me know if there’s anything else you would like to know about my experiences in America!