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"STEP 3: WHAT’S THAT COMING OVER THE HILL?" By Carys Tellyn

12.01.17

I am here to help you with the next step of our CA journey to getting placed.

The people of Camp America have put together numerous resources to help us get prepared for the Recruitment Fairs that are happening NEXT WEEK!!! I have simply gathered all of that information up and put it all together in this short blog. So without further ado, let’s get ourselves placed!

On the CA website, under the Recruitment Fair section, you will find a list of the camps that are attending each of the events. From there, you can see which camps look like a good fit for you - pay attention to their requirements such as start dates and age of staff, making sure you tick the boxes. At the fairs, camp directors are going to be very impressed if you can talk to them with an obvious knowledge of their camp ethos and values, so I would also recommend moving beyond the information provided on the CA website, and getting onto the websites of specific camps. This will give you a much deeper insight into what the camps are like, and whether you can see yourself working there for a whole summer. Personally, I have spent almost every night for the past couple of weeks researching the philosophies and general environments at different camps, as I am eager to get placed somewhere that is as right for me as I hope to be for the camp. This is an extremely important step in your preparation.

From your research, you can begin to put together a shortlist of which camps you would like to approach at the event. Think about which would be your absolutely ideal placement, and start there on the day; if you don’t get hired at your first choice, at least you’ll have a ranked order of other camps to fall back on. However, if you sell yourself well, you won’t even need to refer to your second and third choices.

According to the camps you shortlist, it might be a good idea to scribble down some bullet points or have a think about how you’re going to sell yourself to that specific camp. This can be anything from your skills, your personality, or even the personality of the camp that makes you a great fit.

I don’t know about you, but I was really interested, as part of my own prep, to hear about the sorts of questions that I could be asked by the camp directors. So, I decided to call the CA contact number to have a chat with one of the team who told me that the most common questions that are almost guaranteed to be asked are things along the lines of “what would make you a great camp counsellor?” and “why should we hire you?”. This helped me gather my thoughts as to how I want to answer these questions, and I recommend that you do the same to give you the best chances of getting placed on the spot!

The sorts of things that impress a camp director are: knowing your stuff, showing that you’re hard working, letting your personality shine, and most importantly to approach a camp with a view to having a conversation with them, rather than an interview; they want to see who the real you is in your relaxed, happy state, not in interview mode!

Lastly, some things to remember on the day are:

Take a printed copy of your online application- this will allow the camp directors to refer to your information throughout your chat.
Take any resources that you would like to show the camps- things like certificates and paper work documenting your skills will be impressive for camp directors.
Money- if you haven’t already paid the first fee, you’ll need £35 to pay that once you’re placed.
Get there early- the fairs will all be super busy and camp roles will fill up fast, so make sure you get there in good time to secure your perfect summer placement.
Stay positive- it can be a long day with lots of queuing, but you need to show that you are able to maintain a smile despite how tired or frustrated you might be!

Above all, remember that this is your biggest opportunity to sort your amazing summer plans out- so have fun!! Let me be the first to say that it is quite a daunting prospect, and I will admit that a few doubts have crept into mind about leaving the event without a placement, but I am trying to ignore those doubts and have confidence. After all, it is confidence and positivity that camp directors are after!

I’m wishing all of you all the luck in the world! I look forward to hopefully (*fingers crossed*) writing my next blog about my placement and what happens next. Have a good’n!