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"My experience at camp has been eye opening. Experiencing a new culture miles away from home at a relatively young age really makes you mature and discover who you are. I have made friends and memories I will forever be thankful for."
I applied to camp after hearing about it from a friend who took part the year before. I hadn't had much joy or motivation applying for an internship for my university course so thought I'd try something completely new to me.
I feel that I was very lucky with my application process. I applied just before the recruitment fairs started in January and headed to the closest fair to me, in Edinburgh, for some more information before finalising my application. I got chatting to someone at the fair who I thought was an applicant like myself but it turns out that they were hiring for their camp and before I knew it I was being offered a job at Lake Delaware.
The best thing about America is the people. From the parents of the campers to the average American that you meet on your travels. Everyone is so welcoming and friendly towards you, especially if you've got a fancy British accent!
The best thing about camp is the new family you develop. It sounds like a cliché but the friends you make at camp are friends for life. Working in a close knit environment like camp is something special and it really is a home from home for me.
Don't over pack!! You're going to America not Madagascar. They have shops there, you can buy supplies. Just bring the essentials.
I’d typically start my day around 6am. The kids are usually still sleeping at this point so it’s a good opportunity for a few lengths in the pool or a quick run to get the day started. I’d then head back to camp, shower, shave (we had to be clean shaven at camp) and get myself ready to wake the kids up at 6:50.
Being at a camp with a military theme there is only one way to wake the kids up; CANNON FIRE!! The cannon blows at 6:50 to signify the start of the day followed by reveille played on the bugle while the flag is raised. By now all I’ll be in the camper tents waking up the kids to begin another day. The kids have 10 minutes to get dressed and tidy their “spot” before they fall in.
At 7am the bugle blows again, this time for fall in; this is our method of roll call. The kids line up on the street in formation to make sure everyone is present. They then pledge allegiance to the flag and say the Lord’s Prayer before morning announcements are made. Following this we do a quick warm up to get everyone awake and ready to start the day. This can be anything from a few stretches to running laps. The campers are then dismissed to finish tidying their spot ready for morning tent inspections and head off to chapel.
We attend chapel service every morning for around an hour. This is the only time of the day when all the kids are quiet so I’ve learned to appreciate this time!
After chapel is breakfast in the mess hall. This can be anything from cereal to bacon and eggs. My personal favourite if the corned beef hash! As head counsellor I’d use this time to catch up with the camp director, hand out the daily schedule of activities to the staff and check the weather report. Being in the mountains the weather can change pretty rapidly so I like to make sure that the morning schedule is good to go ahead and we don’t need any rainy day activities planned. I then announce the finalised morning schedule to the campers.
The first activity of the day is always drill. This is when the campers practise for their weekly Sunday parades. As the supervisor of the marching band I’ll be found leading band practice. If the cannon doesn’t wake you up the drums definitely will!
Time to head off to my first activity of the day. Each age group has it’s own meeting spot so I would meet the kids there first before walking to the activity. At LDBC we don’t have specialists assigned to activities so you need to be prepared to be doing a different activity every hour. Period 1 ends at 11:10 at which point I head to my second meeting spot to start period 2. At midday everyday is Angelus, which is 1 minute of silence where everyone on camp grounds stops doing what they’re doing and has a moment of reflection or prayer. The final period of the morning is a free period so rather than collecting my campers for an activity I would head to my station, normally the basketball court or pool, to supervise the kids in that area.
Similar to the morning routine we have a few minutes to help the kids tidy the tents for lunch time inspections before another fall in on the street to take attendance again and off to the mess hall again for lunch. Lunch is typically a pasta dish or once on a blue moon PB&J to keep the kids on our side! Following lunch I announce the afternoon schedule and dismiss the kids back to their tents for everyone’s favourite period…
REST!! Rest period is essentially nap period and after a long busy morning it is welcomed by campers and staff alike! I like to use this time to play a quiet game of cards or teach the kids a few songs on the ukulele. Once a week your tent will be nominated to clean either the mess hall or toilets/showers during rest too.
The afternoon runs almost exactly as the morning would. 2 scheduled activities followed by a free period. So it’s more soccer/basketball/fishing/lifeguarding for me to name a few! The variety of activities I do at camp is what I love though, it makes everyday different and more enjoyable.
This is some down time for the kids, a lot of them use this time to shower and clean their tents yet again for inspection. I would normally be found behind the tents playing catch or Frisbee with my campers or helping the younger ones with cleaning their “spot”.
The final formation of the day to take attendance happens before dinner. The cannon fires again and the flag is lowered to signify the end of another day. As this is a rare time of day when all the staff are together I use this time to get any feedback from them on the day and report any issues to the director at dinner.
The evenings are for competitive games. Again I’d be assigned to an activity to supervise but this time as a score keeper and referee as all results of evening games are counted along with tent inspection scores towards the end of season awards!
Games are played until 8.30 and then it’s time to wind down. The kids get washed and ready for bed as the sun sets and the night comes in. This is my favourite time of the day as I am able to sit outside my tent and catch up with my campers as they come and go. All campers are in bed by 9pm and we have another minute of silence as Angelus rings again at 9.08pm.
The bugler plays Taps at 9:10 to bring the day to a close and the camp falls into silence and darkness. I normally stay up until around 9:30/10 to make sure all the campers are asleep before heading to the directors cottage to start work on the schedule for the next day. Having completed the schedule and caught up with everyone I typically head to bed around 11:30/12 ready to start another day in the morning.
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