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Head Counselor

Duration

4 Summers

Name

Adam

Location

California

Camp Type

Private

Sports Counselor

Head Counselor

Duration

4 Summers

Location

California

Name

Adam

Camp Type

Private

Why did you apply to work at camp?

To this day I still can’t remember how I heard of Camp America. I just knew that it existed, and that it was a way of getting myself to the United States of America! I’d wanted to visit the ‘Land of Liberty’ for as long as I could remember, and Camp America was my gateway. Coaching and supervising sports/general outdoor activities in constant sunshine? There wasn’t a job description out there that was better suited, so you can imagine it wasn’t long before I was registering and filling out my application.

Applying for camp...

The application didn’t take long to complete - you can do it all in one go, and it’s a piece of cake compared to some job applications out there! I remember the one thing that did take a little extra time was getting 2 references completed, this was down to my referee’s not responding as soon as I’d liked, but the patience paid off and with constant help from the Camp America team, the references were uploaded to my application and I was ready to go.

Best part about working on camp...

For me, the best part of working on camp is just being outdoors in the most incredible locations, all day, every day. I’ll always remember sitting on a jet ski on a beautiful California lake thinking to myself, "wow, this is actually my job right now." It was a novelty that never wore off. The vast surrounding mountains, the star-filled night skies, the crystal-clear lake; every aspect of the camp and the scenery was breath-taking, and something that kept me returning summer after summer.

Favourite thing about America...

My favourite thing about America (if you haven’t guessed already) is the forever changing scenery. ‘The great outdoors’ has never been greater until you reach certain parts of the US! My first summer, instead of going to Vegas I chose to do a tour of California, which until this day is still my favourite travelling experience. You can be in the desert one minute, and an hour later, you’re in a national forest.  You can be relaxing on one of LA’s famous beaches, yet minutes away from the city. You can’t find anything close to it in the UK.

Top Tip...

Camp may be the first time you’ve be thrown into a completely new environment, one where you don’t know anyone. For some, this can be scary and a daunting prospect which is completely understandable. However, my tip would be to use this as an opportunity to be the best you that you can be! You can leave all and any personal ‘demons’ behind, remove that metaphorical monkey from your back, and let your confidence grow. No one is at camp to judge you and everyone is in the same boat - it creates a wonderful sense of unity straight off the bat, and I believe it's a reason why camp friendships and relationships can last a lifetime. After all, I am engaged to someone I met at camp.

Adam's Typical Day

7:00am

Zero Period

Zero period is term used by American high-schoolers for a class that starts before the regular school day. However, there are no text books during these zero periods - just pure, unadulterated, collective fun! It was a time for the early rises to smash a baseball around, or score some screamers whilst shouting ‘Djibouti’ (you’ll understand once you’re at camp). Completely optional for campers, but sometimes compulsory for counselors.​

8:00am

Breakfast

​Campers would meet outside the main lodge and line up in their cabins. The cabins were given staggered times to help with the hustle and bustle of hungry campers all fighting over that first French toast stick. Campers would often use this time to chant and sing their way in early at the judgement of a head counselor who was ‘letting in’. As the cabins are called into the dining hall and straight to the breakfast buffet, a counselor from each cabin will sanitize and put on gloves ready to serve the food. Breakfast at my camp was incredible, imagine a buffet of scrambled eggs, bacon, sausages, pancakes, French toast, banana bread, muffins, fresh fruits, yogurts, cereals, bagels, (the list goes on) all prepared fresh everyday by professional chefs. Mouth-watering stuff, right? You couldn’t ask for more, especially when it’s all free! Once you and your cabin have all eaten, and you’ve chugged down 3 coffees to give you that caffeine boost for what is going to be one hell of a day, you nominate a camper to clean the tables.The kids are in charge of cleaning up after themselves, this isn’t a restaurant, there’s no waiter service and it’s definitely not your job to be cleaning up after them. Some campers may have morning medication that they need to take, and now is the time to take them to the nurse.

9:00am

Cabin Clean-Up

​Before the morning activities start, each cabin will have 15-30 minutes to clean their cabin after the previous day’s activities. Counselors are on hand to help, but it is mostly up to the campers to remake their beds and clean their bunks. Shortly after clean-up, a Head Counselor will come around and inspect all the cabins, giving them a rating out of 5. This becomes a competition for the ‘cleanest cabin’ award, which usually would involve an ice-cream Sunday party later in the week. Counselors would also use this time to prepare their campers for the day, ensuring they put on sunscreen, have water bottles and the correct footwear.

9:30am

Morning Activities

Counselors will programme most of their morning activities themselves and have the whole camp to work with. Some activities are compulsory and will have been programmed for them, but it is up to the counselors to fill in the gaps. Cabins often team up during these periods and play cabin vs cabin soccer, baseball or basketball games. Other counselors will use this time to get creative and come up with new activities, and there’s always the pool for campers (and counselors) to cool off from the 30+ degree heat. The possibilities are near endless! Programmed activities are run by specialists and require counselors for assistance, but not to lead the activity. These would include: High ropes, mini bikes, go karts, archery, arts & crafts, various nature hikes, and of course, the ever-favourite LAKE DAY! Each cabin would be programmed a lake time which will last half of the day and include lunch. Nothing can beat a lake day (in my opinion), as a counselor, it was your job to drive campers around on jet skis or to sit on a boat and assist the boat drivers in any way possible. When you’re not out on the water, you’re lakeside playing cards and soaking it all in.​

12:30pm

Lunch

Lunch is prepared for 12:30 and again it is up to the counselors to assist in serving the food. Cabins sit down at their tables and wait to be called up to be served. The dining hall isn’t as busy at this time, as a quarter of the camp will be at the lake. Lunch lasts an hour, and allows everyone to re-fuel and re-hydrate after 3 hours of non-stop activities out in the sun. As with all meals, it is up to the counselors to make sure each camper has a varied, healthy meal as well as avoiding any food they may be allergic to.​

1:30pm

Cabin Time/Candy Store

Cabin time gives the campers (and counselors) a chance to recharge their batteries and chill out in the cabins. Card games are the most popular cabin pastime, and if you’re lucky you may even get one or two finding the need for a short nap. Some campers will also use this time to write letters home to their parents. Each cabin is allotted a ‘candy store’ time where campers would be allowed to go to the camp store and purchase drinks, sweets, supplies and even clothing using credit provided beforehand by their parents. Counselors are also entitled to take something from the store. Another one of those moments where you can’t believe this is your job.​

2:30pm

Free Choice

Cabin time is up and the campers are usually raring to go again. Cabins are required to meet at 2:20 outside the main lodge where the counselors will separate to their assigned posts. After a morning of programmed activities, campers are now given the choice to do exactly what they want around camp with a vast range of activities to choose from. Counselors would be assigned to different activates to run which was great as it gave you an opportunity to work with different staff members as well as different campers. A welcomed break from the annoying camper that follows you around all day (there’s always one).​

5:00pm

Shower Hour

​The clue is in the name, after 2 and half hours of sweat filled free choice the campers would now be given the opportunity to shower and get changed for dinner. It is very important that as the counselor you stay on top of your camper’s hygiene level by enforcing a shower schedule.This is also an opportunity for you to shower and get changed yourself. Alternate showering times would be first thing in the morning and right before you go to bed.

6:00pm

Dinner

Very much like breakfast, the campers will meet outside the main lodge first where they will wait to be called in. It will most likely be a ‘dress-up dinner’ where you will be asked to dress to a certain theme.‘Disney dinner’ was always popular, although I enjoyed the ‘dress like who you want to be when you grow up dinner’. The Rock was out in full force on those evenings, and it wasn’t just the kitchen that you could smell cooking.The kitchen staff would again prepare a spread that would rival the Bellagio buffet, and the conversation would turn to the eagerly anticipated night activity. Who was running it? What did it involve? How can we win? All questions you could hear muttered from table to table. After desert had been finished and the tables had been cleaned, the campers would await instructions on how to begin the activity.​

7:15pm

Night Activity

For some campers, this was their favourite part at camp. The evening was cooling off, the sun was going down, yet the kids knew that play time was not over. Far from it, as the head counselors and camp directors would have prepared an extravagant activity for the entire camp. Night activities would often involve competitions between cabins and take place all over camp. However, my favourite night activity was one that took place outside of camp, at the local minor league baseball ground. We would have previously made signs and chants for the ‘Lancaster Jet Hawks,’ and gone to the ballpark to enjoy America’s favourite pastime - and of course the food that comes with it! ​

8:30pm

Camp Fire

When you think of summer camp, it’s hard not to think about a camp fire - the great camping tradition that it is. Although, an old man with a guitar, singing kumbaya it is not! Camp Fires often offered the last chance for campers to use up all the excess energy before settling down for the night. They are loud and full of energy with lots of singing and dancing. Counselor participation is compulsory, and long sleeved tops are recommended. Camp fires usually consist of a few songs, a skit (short comedy sketch acted out by counselors), followed by announcements and s’mores. After campfire, it is up to the counselors to take their campers that require night medication to the nurses before heading back to the cabin.​

10:00pm

Lights Out

After camp fire and a very long day, It’s time for bed, final showers, and card games before dreary eyed campers climb into bed and enjoy some well-deserved kip! 8 hours of sleep is a must, ensuring you’re refreshed and ready to do it all again tomorrow.​

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