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Mark

Camp: Willoway Day Camp

Mark

1999-2002

Camp Years

Head of Business Development - LNER

Current Job

Willoway Day Camp

Camp

"I decided to apply to Camp America from a recommendation from a friend of a friend. Sense of adventure, desire to work with kids, work outside, see America, make new friends. All boxes were definitely ticked!

I have lots of memories from every summer and loved every moment, the time of my life. Willoway was a day camp so only one night per week (Thursday) was spent on camp, I spent the rest of my time with my host family. 

I will never forget all the amazing activities we did on camp. We’d always have swimming every day but a whole host of other sessions throughout the week including soccer, go-karting, fishing, arts & crafts, nature, rocketry, capture the flag and so much more. I remember long hot summers. Camp food being memorable – including hot dogs, pizza and not forgetting s’mores on the camp fire.

I had a Camp America romance which started in the Summer of 1999 and continued for 5 years! And yes, we managed to maintain it long distance. Sadly it did come to an end, but Brooke was my first true love and we had an amazing time together, travelling backwards and forwards over the years. Absorbing each other’s culture, meeting and spending time with respective family and friends.

I really couldn’t have predicted what camp would be like. I was randomly allocated a camp (I didn’t attend a camp recruitment fair) and fate took me to an amazing place that I loved. It was a predominantly Jewish camp so I learnt a great deal about their religion and culture. Loved the kids, loved the area.

I still speak to my camp friends. My best friend now (Sam) is the guy I roomed with in 1999. We were paired together with a host family. In our case, a single mum and her daughter Lauren. The mum was a vet so we shared the house with various animals including a dog who liked to poop on the carpet! Incidentally, Sam and his young family now live in the same town as me, I was his best man and we continue to be very close friends. We’re still in touch with our American friends as well as our fellow camp counsellors. We occasionally have Willoway reunions in the UK and US.

With camp friends, you’re on the same wavelength, same sense of adventure. Same appreciation for life changing experiences. You treasure the good times together and lean on each other when times are tough. No one will ever have the same shared experiences, you’re unique.

Camp was life changing. What an experience. Shaped me as a person and has given me friends for life. Opened my mind at time when I was a young adult who hadn’t travelled much or experienced a great deal. Camp was character building. I was always shy and camp pushed me out of my comfort zone, it’s made me more confident today."