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Juliane - Humans of Camp America

19.10.16

I've spend my summer in a foreign country with a lot of foreign people and yes I was a bit scared at the beginning but I think that's fine. Camp America was the best decision for me. Working in an american summer camp from June to September sounds like a lot of fun. And it definitely was ! I mean to be honest, I thought it will be a bit more like vacation and working 24/7 can sometimes be challenging. But here's the good thing about camp: you're never alone, whenever you ask for help you'll get it.

Let me tell you a little bit 'bout my camp: i got placed in CAMP HERRLICH, which is located in Patterson, NY and even if it's close to some bigger towns you feel like in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by woods. Perfect for me. We had a mainbuilding for the mealtimes, some smaller buildings for our offices and a boys village and a girls village with cabins where we slept in. I think it was called ''rustical environment" in my application and it's true don't expect anything luxury but we had showers, beds and at least a roof over our heads and I actually loved it. It was special, it was different and it was what I wanted. I got so grounded at camp. I've learned that I don't need much to be happy. Be surrounded by good friends 24/7 and working with kids is a pleasure.

I was the archery specialist at our camp, so I had my own area and the general counselors came to me with their groups. (Other specialist activities at my camp are highwall, boating, horse riding, swimming, arts and crafts, music and journalism and design.) The youngest kids I've had to deal with in archery where eight years young. Some kids really loved archery, other ones preferred to play card games the whole day. I've learned to be flexible - you can't force a kid to do something but sometimes they're just to shy to try an activity and then it's my part as a counselor to make them confident enough to do it. I didn't want everybody to fall in love with my activity, that was not my goal, but I always wanted them to have a fun time down at my area and to try it at least once - you can't know if you like something if you never tried it!

Whenever I had time I've tried to help out with other work around camp. It's not just all about take care of kids, we also helped by painting buildings, porches and swingset's or by cleaning the basketball court, the field's and inside the buildings (still thanks to the amazing housekeeping crew this year). My favourite part of helping was joining in the kitchen crew. I'm grateful that my camp gave us the chance to try this as well. The work in the kitchen is hard and I appreciate everything our crew did so much more after I've worked with them.

Another reason that CAMP HERRLICH was perfect for me is that we are following the same goals. "treat others the way you wanna be treated" and "sharing is caring" where some of our mottos in camp. That made me fall even more in love with this place.

Okay, let's talk about the thing's I've learned 'bout myself: I'm now more confident in dealing with children; I'm more flexible and creative whenever needed (there's no problem without a solution, you can make it work! #germanengineering); life is so much easier with a smile on your face; you can spread happiness by just being happy (sounds logical); I have a loooooot of patience by explaining the same stuff ever and ever again; going the "extra mile" because I can and not because I have to will make you stronger; helping others makes me unbelievable happy and the probably most surprising: I feel better after a day of hard work than after a day of doing nothing.

Working in a summer camp in the states results in new experiences, lifelong friendships with people all around the world and learning about foreign cultures and people. At this point I wanna give a massive THANK YOU to all the people how helped me realizing this summer:

Thank you to my parent's who support every step I do and all my adventures and take care of me even if there's an ocean between us. ❤
Thank you, Aifs-Team in Germany, for helping me through the whole application process!
Thank you, CAMP HERRLICH, for hiring me, being patient by answering every question I had and making this summer to the best experience (Tyrell, Uncle Scott, Jess, Dean, Theo and our nurses - THANKS)!

And of course thank you to all the Camp Herrlich Staff 2016 - long-lasting friendships!

Camp America changed my life. And my English Skills. :D
Love, Julie

Juliane Wittig - Camp Herrlich (2016)