Everyone in the UK seems to either know someone who’s worked at a summer camp in America. If they don’t, chances are they’ve done it themselves. Everyone seems to have had a great time. I’m no exception; I first went to Long Point Camp (and America) in 2013, and vowed to return again in 2014 before I even left.
This is because of one main reason: life at a summer camp is freaking awesome, both on and off the job!
Working with the kids is an awesome experience, and a lotta fun! One of the highlights of returning in 2014 was having 11 year old kids who I’d had in 2013 run back up to me, “Jo, Jo! How’s it going? How’s life in England” – It demonstrated how big an impact we’d had in one week a whole year ago – It was just awkward when I then had to ask them their name!
My camp was for disadvantaged children and funded largely by donations, which meant unfortunately it didn’t have all the grand facilities at many summer camps - (something that made me nearly not go at first!). On the flip-side, you could see real happiness on their faces at all these new, exciting experiences; taking my cabin on a speedboat on the 32 mile lake when none had ever been on a boat was like a fine Christmas morning – looking at the kids was looking at pure exhilaration!
You can’t complain too much when your ‘work’ involves chilling at the pool for a couple of hours in the midday heat, having camp-wide paint-filled water-balloon fights, and generally making an idiot of yourself. Being an idiot came easy and the highlights included singing and dancing on stage, having pasta salad thrown over me, and simultaneously skateboarding, yodelling, juggling and eating, while wearing 20 pairs of clothes (it’s a long story). In a nutshell, the work is an absolute blast, and I’m convinced staff easily have as much fun as the campers!
Equally, time when you’re not working is next-level fun.
Both years, it’s been an adventure, and I’ve tried so many new experiences for the first time; I could tick many items off my bucket list; skydiving, waterskiing, firebreathing, catching a foul ball at a baseball game, riding a motorbike and skinny dipping to name a few.
Summer Camp is a bubble – you live, eat, work, play, sleep with the same people for two months, which forges strong friendships. Both years, I’ve made strong relationships with the entire 90+ staff force, with homes spanning the planet, many of whom remain top mates outside camp too!
In 2013, I lost only a little bit of money, while in 2014, I made some dollar which has allowed me to travel after camp both years. I’ve got to know New York State very well having headed across New York from Niagara Falls in the West to New York City in the East, and in second year, I travelled around New York again, before having a cracking time working on a horse ranch, and finishing with a few days in New York City. The downside is that, unbelievably I’ve not actually travelled outside New York State – that’s high on the ‘To Do’ list!