I want to tell you all about Camp America and how amazing it is and that I would encourage anyone who wants to do some travelling to consider applying. This is a blog of my personal experience working at a summer camp and if you have any more questions please get in touch with me.
What is Camp America?
Camp America is an organisation that arranges placements at summer camps in America. You could be placed at any camp across the USA and there are a number of different types of camps including, all boys camps, all girls camps, religious camps, specialist sports camps, underprivileged kids and special needs camps.
You can specify a preference on your application form if you have a particular interest. I personally didn’t specify a type of camp. If you are successful you work in the camp for around 8 weeks and then your Visa is valid for 5 months so you can travel afterwards.
The only requirements Camp America ask for is that you are 18+ and enthusiastic. You apply through Camp America and pay a total fee of £752 (you pay this in stages) which covers administration fees to process your application, your VISA costs, police checks, medical insurance, and return flights to New York. In my opinion this is worth every penny because Camp America deal with the stressful elements of the process. It is free to register and if you are unsuccessful in finding a place you get a refund on your application fee.
So you have nothing to lose! You complete an online application first, giving as much information on your skills and showcasing why you would be a great candidate. I also posted some pictures of me playing with family friends younger children and spoke about my babysitting experience.
You also meet with a Camp America interviewer who writes up a report for you to add to your application form. I personally found my placement at the Camp America fair in London in January and was employed on the day! There are so many different camps in one room and it is a brilliant opportunity to find a placement. I kept a very open mind and was placed at a special needs camp, even though I had no previous experience working with special needs children. It is more about having the right attitude and being the right fit for the camp.
The day I got to Heathrow airport and left my boyfriend at the time and family behind I was so nervous and wondering if I had done the right thing. I boarded the plane and soon realised about 40 others were all going to my camp, camp Northwood and we all soon made friends and got chatting. We then took a coach from NYC up to my camp in Remsen, upstate New York and a lot of people had worked at the camp in previous years so were great at putting my mind at rest and talking about what to expect. When I arrived at camp it was everything I expected, log cabins, lakes, beautiful scenery and fun people! You have a few days before the children arrive to settle in and have some training. My co-counsellor was brilliant and made me feel very welcome.
When the children arrived I felt really overwhelmed at first as I had no experience working with special needs children but I soon got into the swing of camp and it is the best thing I have ever done! It was so rewarding watching my campers develop over the summer and acting as a role model for them. A typical day would begin at 7am and finish at 9pm when the campers went to bed. It is hard work but I did get 4 nights off a week and 1 day off a week. My camp was great for socialising on your time off and I have made friends for life across the world! I loved it so much that I went back for a second year.
For anyone interested in applying I would say keep an open mind about which camp you might like to work in. I really surprised myself with my camp and I loved it. Go to the Camp America Fair near to you! It really is the best place to find a placement. Don’t make any travelling plans for after camp before you go – you make friends while you are there and you can make plans with them during the summer.
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