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Niko

Slovenia

2000 - 2002

Camp Niobe

Michigan

Social Worker

"Originally, I wanted to go for Au pair in England, but the agency informed me that they only take girls for that and instead offered me Camp America and I accepted.

My favourite memories at camp are far too many to mention but to keep it brief, I would say cabin time, swimming, camp fire, comforting kids, madly falling in love with a US counsellor, after bedtime hanging out in the kitchen…you name it!

The first night I cried and wanted to go home, asking myself what the hell did I get myself into, to be honest. Camp was for children, diagnosed with ADD and ADHD, which was for me a completely new experience and I was struck with the amount of “juicy” language these kids had. Can’t say I expected anything, but I was shocked with what I saw the first day. I started to understand very quickly that it was very different to what I expected.

Sadly, the director of the camp died, and the camp was eventually closed and sold. I visited it twice after that. I keep in touch on regular basis with quite a few counsellors and other staff, we even exchanged visits a few times. I look at the pictures often and wish every single time to be able to repeat it.

Camp helped shape me in a lot of ways, it introduced me to ADD and ADHD for one, and that helped a lot, for I am a social worker and work with similar kids today. But most importantly, it tore apart any prejudices that I might have had (not that I did, mostly was just a general opinion in my country) about Americans. It showed me that, above all, America is also a land of kind, warm and intelligent people. There are good and bad people in every country and America is no different.

Camp friends are different because we share the same, you can say, intimate experience that can only be lived and cannot be explained in words. Camp taught me that you only live once. Grab the moment and live it to the fullest and you’ll have a lifetime experience, friends and memories.

I would totally recommend doing Camp America, because it gives you a chance to work in international environment, travel, see places and gain new experiences. So, don’t hesitate, do it! You’ll never regret it.

Being with kids 24/7, getting to know their stories and feeling of trust that some kids developed towards you. It means a lot, gives you kind of confirmation that you are doing things right. And we all need that from time to time.

Camp had a huge influence on the career. I followed the development of ADD and ADHD appearance more closely. Like everything, ADD, ADHD, Ritalin, Concerta… came to Slovenia with a ten years delay. And the things I learned in camp, how to communicate with these kids, how to address them…are priceless."

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