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Jade - Humans of Camp America

29.11.17

Hello, I’m Jade-Louise and I worked at a special needs camp in Hackettstown called Camp Merry Heart as a general counsellor for the summer. It was the first summer working for Camp America and working at a summer camp and I absolutely loved it.

I decided to work for Camp America as I thought it would be a really good idea to get experience and hands on understanding of individuals with special needs as my future career is to become a primary school teacher specialising in SEN. What better way to get the experience than to work at a camp, giving a little extra help to people who need it and expanding my knowledge.

My favourite memory of camp this summer was the campers. So many campers changed my life and made a difference to my life although I was there to make a difference to theirs. There were many campers that were so inspirational this summer. My favourite one was a gentleman called David, David was a non-verbal camper who communicated using a communication board. He was the most inspirational camper I met all summer and as his board said ‘the board isn’t there for David, it’s there for you’ and it was he could communicate without the board but the same way! The bond between campers and general counsellors are indescribable.

Camp stays with me today as I made so many memories at camp with campers and work colleagues. I learnt many techniques on how to support an individual with many additional needs but also how to manage someone’s behaviour. Camp will always stay with me and the photos which I have taken throughout the summer. The camp was inspirational as every camper had the opportunity to do every activity from rock climbing, zip lining to boating and fishing and sports and games. Every camper has the potential to do as much and as little as they want.

Camp has shaped my future as I now know that I definitely want to support  children who have an additional need as someone once said at camp ‘I think of them as a friend, just a friend who needs a little extra help’. This is my future.

I definitely would recommend the Camp America programme to other because it was a life changing experience. Not only did I spend from mid-May to the end of August at camp but then I spent a month travelling the states too.   The life skills and knowledge I have taken from the summer will stay with me for the rest of my life.

I still speak to some camp friends, Alex and Lucy were my best friends this summer at camp and we have met back up in England after camp already. It is definitely a camp friendship that will last a life time. Camp America has changed my life so much and I would recommend it to everyone.

After camp I went travelling for a month with 10 friends from camp. We flew from NYC to San Francisco and hired 2 cars and travelled from San Francisco to Los Angeles, San Diego, Dallas, El Paso, Phoenix, New Orleans and then on to Mississippi, Kentucky, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia and Washington DC. I saw so many different places and loved it.

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