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"You are in your own little bubble at camp. You can be exactly who you are and just focus on making sure the kids have a memorable summer which in turn helps you have the summer of a lifetime."
I have always enjoyed working with children and once my cousin came back from her own camp back in 2011 and had an awesome time, I knew this was exactly what I wanted to do. I applied during my gap year before university, as this was the perfect time to make the most of my summer.
I loved how easy the process of applying for camp was. It was straight forward and I could ask as many questions as I needed to assist me. I got placed at the Girl Scout Recruitment Fair in London which was so much fun and it’s amazing as you get to meet people who are going to your camp.
I love how friendly Americans are and of course, their accents! I have always been a fan of country music as well, I could listen to it all day.
The kids! They are what makes your summer incredible. You are a role model to them and it is great when they look up to you. And of course, the weather!
My top tip for the summer would be to take as many photos as possible and write a journal of your experience so you have the memories for a lifetime.
We have to wake up the girls (Polar Bear happens every Monday and Wednesday) at 6:00ish to get them down the lake by 6:30 to play ‘Polar Bear’. We have all the kids lined up on the dock singing the Polar Bear song and once we have finished, everyone jumps in the lake (counsellors included) – really does wake you up!
Making sure they are dressed, teeth cleaned etc. before heading down for breakfast. If we arrived at the dining hall early, everyone would line up outside singing typical Girl Scout songs before pulling the American flag and singing the pledge of allegiance.
We would say ‘Grace’ before we would sit down to eat. We have a ‘runner’ which is one of the campers, who will get the food from the chefs and bring to their individual table. Each table would have two counsellors serving the food and water. I would make a rule that each camper must have a glass of water before they eat to make sure they stay hydrated. Once we had eaten, the trolley would come around and we would put all of the plates, cutlery and glasses in there to be washed up before doing out own chores.
Each counsellor would take their group of girls to their activity and either stay with them and take part or have their break as the camps are with an activity specialist.
This is the same routine as breakfast unless it is a buffet style lunch and then each table would go up to the counter one after the other. While we are clearing up the tables, we would all sing Girl Scout Camp songs before leaving for afternoon activities and handing out letters/post to the campers
This is the same routine as morning activities however; they would alternate between swimming in the lake as well. When the campers went swimming, we would make sure they had their buddy tag with them before they got in the pool so we knew who was there and they had to stay with their buddy at all times during their swimming session.
All of the girls would get showered and cleaned after the days activities and before dinner. We had a whole hour to do this as it was quite a military operation with each age group or ‘block’ of campers having their own showers so we had to make sure everyone got in and out in time.
This would be our rest time before dinner. Each counsellor might have different views/ideas on how to use their rest time. For example, campers would go back to their tents/campsites and they have an option to play their own games outside/inside, snack, nap etc. It is also a really good way for us counsellors to get some rest of our own.
The same routine as breakfast, however we would sing the pledge of allegiance while taking the flag down before dinner. While we are waiting for the ‘hoopers’ to make dinner, we would all stand in lines singing camp songs. Hoopers are campers who lay the tables ready for dinner and they choose the song they wish to sing for grace. One grace has been sung, we would have different ‘runner’ to collect the food from the chefs.
We would do a different evening activity each night. For example, a campfire with s’mores singing campfire songs and performing ‘skits’ or having a talent show, fancy dress, games etc. This would take over the entire evening and depending on the age group, you would take your campers back to their campsite to get them ready for bed.
At the end of every week, we would have a ‘special evening’ which means we would have a theme for the Friday night for dinner and the evening activity. For example, one Friday night it was an ‘animal theme’ so we all had a dress up as animals from TV programmes/films (I was Kermit) and then we would play particular games which involved animals or those programmes. It was really good fun to get all the campers involved in dressing up and spending the night all together as a camp.
We would have to make sure everyone had put their pyjamas on, brush their teeth etc. and depending on their age, they could talk or read etc. before lights off at 10:30pm.
Curfew for counsellors who weren’t looking after the campers (on their break) to come back to their own campsites and get themselves ready for bed and prepare themselves for another manic but fun day ahead!
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