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"My two summers at camp (2013 & 2014) were incredible. I met so many different people and have come away with great friends and great memories!"
I was finishing University and had not yet planned what I was going to do next. I had always wanted to work with children and saw Camp America as a great opportunity to do so. My Uncle had also done a Summer and so he really encouraged me to apply.
The online application was detailed and presented in clear sections meaning the form was really easy to fill out. You can work on one section at a time and come back to it at any stage to make your application the best it can be. My application process was very quick. After completing my application, I had selected my interviewer, passed my interview, attended the London recruitment fair and got hired. All in the space of a week!
For me the best thing about being on Camp was that as a General Counsellor I was able to get involved in all the activities and programmes my Camp had to offer! Every single day at Camp was full of energy, laughter, excitement and something new.
One of my favourite things about America was the food. American candy is great! (Swedish fish a personal favourite). A Coolatta from Dunkin Donuts is perfect to help get you through a hot day. Also make sure to try out signature/specialist foods of the state your Camp is in/the state(s) you are travelling through.
My top tip would be to make sure that you don’t over pack! You can buy pretty much anything in Wal-Mart or Target. A good idea is to pack something to show off where you are from: Post cards, photos or a flag (which can also make a great Superhero cape or Pirate bandana!)
Time to wake up, get showered and get dressed (making sure to wear the correct staff shirt for that day). Then wake up the children in our cabin.
Whole camp Flag raising (both US and Salvation Army flags) followed by the US Pledge of Allegiance. Any special announcements would also be made.
Grace is sung outside the Dining Hall and then it is in for BREAKFAST– Lots of sugary cereals to give you the energy for the day ahead. There could also be toast, bagels, eggs, bacon and turkey sausages covered in syrup. Options tended to vary each day.
The camp was split so the younger campers had breakfast whilst the older campers cleaned and vice versa. We tried to make sure that no camper would do the same job twice in the week they were at camp for. Jobs included sweeping (inside the cabin and the cabin porch), bin emptying, sink, shower and toilet cleaning, mopping of floors and bed making. Myself and my 2 fellow counselors were given a 3 hour break each day (9am-12pm, 12pm-3pm, 3pm-6pm) and every other night off (after evening programme ended). We would arrange for the upcoming week who would take which breaks/have which nights off whilst the campers cleaned.
ACTIVITIES BEGIN! Every week there was a rota/timetable meaning that each day you’d be doing different activities and have a chance to do everything at least once. In the morning we would have 3 activity sessions. Camp activities included Arts & Crafts, Archery, Athletics, Bible Study, Climbing Wall, Low Ropes, Boating/Kayaking, Nature/Orienteering.
Grace is sung outside the Dining Hall and then it is in for LUNCH - there was a good range of meals throughout the week (Friday would always be a picnic with a PB&J sandwich). We would also find out who had won the Cabin Inspection for that day. The winning cabin would get a plaque to have placed on their Cabin porch.
Afternoon Activities commence. As a General counselor, I was expected to always join in with the activities. Low ropes, Arts and Crafts and Nature were often the first afternoon activity of the day.
It is now time to get changed and head down to the Lake for a Swim. We also had an inflatable slide (Jungle Joe) out in the lake! As counselors, we would be expected to help the lifeguards by supervising those on the beach, those who were swimming or those about to tackle Jungle Joe! Swimming was split between the younger and older cabins.
Snacks would range from ice-lollies to gummy bears to fruit. It would then be back to the Cabins to get changed into some dry clothes - ready for the rest for the afternoon activities.
Time for some more fun activities! - As the day would have got a bit cooler by now we would often do Athletics. Capture the Flag, Soccer and Basketball were firm favourites along with Counselors vs Campers dodge-ball.
It was now time for Clubs. On arrivals day the campers were able to sign up to a club for the week. I helped to run the Boot Camp Club. We would have the children take part in Army drills, Marching songs and physical challenges such as planking, push ups, tug of war and assault/obstacle courses. War face paint was a must!
Grace is sung outside the Dining Hall and then it is in for DINNER. As with Lunch, evening meals differed each day. Meals would vary from Chicken to Pasta to Burgers to Nachos or you could opt for a healthy salad. Often with a side of Corn bread and some Kool Aid.
Every day after all the campers would head to the Gaga Pit for a few games (Dodge-ball in an enclosed ring). There was also the option to throw an American football around, head to the playground or shoot some hoops on the Basketball court.
Whole Camp would come together to lower the flags and repeat the Pledge of Allegiance. Details of Evening programme would then be read out as well as any other important messages.
he whole of Camp would come together for one final activity - Evening programme! Mondays would always be Campfire with songs and Staff skits. Types of Evening Programme included Scavenger & Treasure hunts, Staff hunts, Capture the Flag, Sports night, Pirate night and Carnival! If the weather was wet, we would either watch a film or do a Dutch Auction.
A great way to get the campers to wind down! Evening snacks would often be fruit or carrot sticks but also the occasional cookie! We would also take those that needed evening medications to the Nurse.
Before the Campers head to bed we would do cabin Devotions sessions. We would either talk about a particular bible passage or if the campers were comfortable with it - share a problem or issue they are having and the whole Cabin would come together to pray for them.
Lights out and bedtime for the Campers – making sure they had all brushed their teeth and put on Mosquito repellent (just in case).
Staff curfew/Staff Lights out. Now to get some rest before the start of another action-packed day of camp.
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