Camp White Oaks
"33 years ago I began my Camp America journey. After a talk at 6th form by one of the teachers I knew it was the summer for me. I was working as a qualified lifeguard, was a Young Leader at Guides and loved being a Venture Scout. All things that helped me get a place on camp.
My camp was Orthodox Jewish and I was placed as a lifeguard and general counsellor to the teen girl bunk; it could not have been a more perfect fit for me. I knew nothing about the Jewish religion but this didn’t matter one bit on camp and I soon learned what I needed to know with the help of my campers. I’d never seen such an array of activities and one that stands out is being taught to water-ski alongside my campers. I took them camping in the woods, stayed up all night carving a totem pole for colour war and shock horror ate my first ever pizza (I had led a sheltered life).
When I got back to the UK I immediately wanted to share my experience and became a promotor for Camp America (now called Brand Manager). A year later I trained to be an interviewer and have interviewed every season since. I’ve been very lucky to have travelled with Camp America to some European Universities to interview and even worked some recruitment fairs in Australia before kids came along. Over the years I have developed my interview skills and adapted to the ever changing requirements such as child protection and the introduction of the INTERNET! For at least the first 10 years of interviewing everything was hand written and posted into the London office. I look forward to the start of every new season. It is so different from my day job as a Helicopter engineer, I never get tired of meeting new applicants and helping them start their own Camp America journey. Being part of the IYLA Award since the beginning is also very exciting, the training we run at Easter each year for the latest IYLA girls never fails to re-inspire me and is close to my heart as I’ve volunteered as a Guide Guider ever since returning from camp in 1986.
Back in 2011 my eldest child took the opportunity of attending camp as a camper. My own camp had closed some years before but ILC came highly recommended and Katherine enjoyed 2 summers as a camper inspiring her to apply as a counsellor herself. She has now done 3 summers as a Dance Specialist and General Counselor bringing it full circle by specifically applying to an Orthodox Jewish camp herself.
In summer 2018 I was very lucky to be offered camp visits and the US office did me proud by putting Katherine’s camp on my visits list. I met her and her friends as they worked on camp and also enjoyed an impromptu meet-up with them in Times Square on my way back to JFK.
I can be found most evenings in the local gym giving the ‘glaze effect’ to anyone who looks like a promising candidate and I wear my latest Camp America staff t- shirt to promote conversation.
Camp America has given me some of the most memorable and formative moments of my life and some very good friends who I look forward to seeing every year at the Recruitment Fairs. I’m now interview training the daughter of an interviewer I used to work the fairs with 30 years ago. I am very proud to have played a small part in such an awesome organisation and look forward to the next 50 years!"See More Alumni