Apologies if you’re coming to hear about my cycling trip around the world - I desperately tried to get it uploaded but the wifi was too slow to upload new pictures. It'll be up asap! This one-off post is about one of my other adventures; Camp America.
On June 21st, you will be waving goodbye to friends and family, stepping onto an airplane and setting your sights on the distant horizons, of an unassuming, picturesque spot of countryside sitting on the shores of the massive 32-mile long Seneca Lake in Upstate New York, ready for a summer in the States. As of yet, you have little idea of the significance this small patch of land will have on you, but give it 8 weeks, and you’ll understand exactly what I mean!
For the past two years, this has been a greatly anticipated day for me. You got hired months ago, and today marks the end of the waiting, and the start of an exciting new adventure. Even though I’m currently cycling around the world, it still pains me that I'm unable to return to camp this year, and that, come the 21st June, I won’t be boarding a plane, ready to jet off for a third, unbelievable summer. I can't help but continue to find myself fighting off pangs of jealousy.
In a few days, you will meet the 90 or so strangers you will be spending #summer15 with. Many of them will seem to know each other well – that’s cool – you’ll see the strength of the friendships forged at camp, and that despite a year apart, it seems like they’ve known each other forever. The first few days you will hear all about the tales from previous years at camp, maybe it’s the time we got called onto the pitch to run a home run at a baseball game, the time Wes kicked his shoe into Niagara Falls, the time we went skydiving, or the hundreds of other outrageous stories I could tell you! Don’t worry, soon you’ll be making your own tales which will be passed down through camp legend and lore, from epic pranks, to camp romances, to an array of other ‘going-ons’. You’re going to meet so many new people, but they will all be awesome like-minded people. Throw yourself into it, and meet as many people as possible, and you’ll get on really well!
Of course this isn’t a holiday, and you are here to work. But, who said work couldn’t be fun huh? There’s a consensus among staff that working on camp is just as much fun as being a camper. Your day job could involve hiking, kayaking, camp-wide games of paint-balloon fights or hide and seek, and generally making a bit of a fool of yourself… for the campers of course!
I’ve not spoken about the campers much, but they are obviously the reason you get to be there! It’s a completely two-way relationship; just as you have a huge impact on them, they will have an impact on you. Working at Long Point Camp is very rewarding! Your patience will be tested. You’ll want to scream and shout. You’ll want to run into the lake and swim across to the other side. But, you’ll also have a crazy amount of laughs with them, you’ll become friends with them, they’ll respect you and see you as a role model, and you’ll feel like you have made a difference in their lives! When I went back my second year, every week when new campers arrived, I’d see a familiar face who’d been in my cabin a year previously, and they’d invariably run up to me, happiness etched on their face, “Jo! Jo! How are you? How’s England?”. I realised then, how influential and privileged a position we are in, that they can remember us 1 year on, and are excited to see us again!
I know that this post only goes a little way to preparing you for what an incredible summer you’re about to embark on! Writing this has made me excited to hear about everything from all my friends going back to camp this year, and made me search for the application form for #summer16! There’s a good chance you will be going back again I’d imagine… even if you don’t know it yet! Have an amazing time!
If you have any questions at all, please ask them in the comments below! I’d also love to hear about how you get on at Long Point Camp!