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‘We call it fun, but you may call it madness’ - being a counsellor is an amazing experience, you get to be a part of a camp community, try things you never normally would and spend a summer with great people. It’s the best thing I’ve ever done.
Lifeguard & Boating Instructor
I applied to work at camp because I had travelled in the USA the previous year and loved the time I spent there. I wanted an experience that let me go back, meet ‘real-life’ Americans and have a worthwhile summer putting my childcare skills to good use.
I got hired through my online application, after a brief email exchange with my Camp Director. I remember the application form taking a little while to fill in and finding it hard to say everything I wanted in the word limit! I had an interview with a local interviewer, which I found helpful and gave me a real insight about what to expect at camp as well as confidence in my application.
The positivity and patriotism, I enjoyed being part of a camp family and being a part of the American culture. We got to watch fireworks for the 4th of July and all dressed up to celebrate; we also raised the flag every morning and said the Pledge of Allegiance and the Girl Scout promise. It was great to be a part of a different culture.
The best part of camp was being able to spend time in the outdoors and becoming part of a summer camp community. I was lucky enough to spend my days lifeguarding at the lake and leading canoe trips which is completely different to how I spend my days at home. I worked with five other lifeguards and we became a close team and had lots of fun together, even pranking other counsellors and floating their beds out on the lake.
Give it your all, even if you’re tired and exhausted, you don’t realise how much you’ll miss it when you get home! Days at camp can be tiring but it is worth making the most of camp life, enjoying the waterfront, having fun with your campers and fellow counsellors, dressing up and spending time in the US. Real life afterwards just doesn’t compare.
Wake up early and sneak out of my tent to set up the waterfront for ‘Early Otter’ an early morning swimming session for the girls. This ran for 45 minutes and we would make sure the girls were having fun in the session and would be out and changed in time for breakfast!
Breakfast for all resident campers in the dining hall. I would grab a quick breakfast and with my fellow counsellor and head down to ‘Turtle Terminal’ to meet the day campers and get them exited for their day at camp. We would check them in and walk back to the green for flag ceremony, being nice and loud and making sure the Resident campers knew we were coming.
Every morning a different group of girls ran our flag ceremony. They were responsible for creating the ‘silent bridge’ which everyone had to go through before assembling around the flagpole, calling the instructions and raising the flag. We all recited the Pledge of Allegiance and the Girl Scout Promise.
We had four sessions every morning where the girls would take part in horseback riding, archery, arts and crafts, sports and science. I spent the morning at the lake lifeguarding swimming sessions and playing games with the girls or instructing canoeing and kayaking and leading them on trips to our hidden ‘Blueberry Island’.
Girls would sit in tables of seven with one or two counsellors per table, and it was buffet style so tables would be called one by one to get their food. After lunch was finished we spun the ‘Meal Wheel’ and each member of the table was given a clean up job such as clearing plates or sweeping. The first table to finish got to sing the victory chant of ‘We’re Table Number 1’.
The girls went back to their cabins or tents for a rest period. We usually had training or maintenance to do at the lake.
Included a break at 4.15pm for snack and to retire the flag. Everyone assembled and sang our ending day song of ‘Taps’ we also gave out beads as a reward for campers who had a great achievement during the day.
When plates were cleared we played many hand games which involved lots of shouting and banging on the tables.
The best part of the day! The whole camp gathered together to participate in a big activity, these included campfires, sing-downs, talent shows and my favourite ‘Gold Rush’. For this we would each be assigned a colour team and the campers would have to race to get ‘eggs’ into their basket. Counsellors would ‘tag’ the campers with paint, flour and water and they could then only be revived by ‘medics’ asking them to do silly things such as jumping jacks. After this we all went to the barn to be hosed down.
Usually spent relaxing in the staff lounge or heading out to Walmart for mint oreos!
Time to head back to my tent, I would climb the hill in the pitch black with only my flashlight and then would walk round my unit to make sure that my campers were all asleep.
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