It’s that time of the week again! Here’s another real-life account of summer camp life, this time from 4th year camp counselor Tash!
1. Where did you go to camp? How many years?
I go to Camp Sloane YMCA and I have attended this camp for four years and counting.
2. Why did you decide to work at summer camp?
I decided to work at camp because I was in a bit of a rut when it came to life and I wanted to do something different, I had always wanted to go to the US so I saw this as an opportunity to do something fun and explore a country I had never been to before.
3. What agency did you apply to camp through and would you choose them again/how did you find their service?
Having gone to camp for four years I have used three different agencies, the first being BUNAC in my first year who were great and provided so much information that put my mind at rest. Then there was Camp Leaders for the following two years and they were again a great company, I would have to say they were better the first time I went with them as the second time BUNAC had just stopped doing their summer camp program (they have started this again now) and there was a massive influx of people to the other agencies, but overall they were great and were a great help with any questions I had. Last but definitely not least are CCUSA, these guys helped me get a visa whilst I was in Australia on a working holiday visa and were really fantastic at helping me get my visa sorted and get me on my way to camp for the fourth time!
4. What is/was your role at camp?
I have had two roles at camp the first being the Culinary Arts Director for three years and this past summer being the Pioneer Girls Section Head.
5. Did camp meet your expectations? In what ways?
I really didn’t know what to expect when I went to camp for the first time, I just wanted to go meet people, have fun and see a bit of the US. I would say that camp most definitely lived up to my expectations and went beyond that as I have not only found a place I love and want to keep going back to year after year but I’ve also made life longs friendships and camp has helped me finally decide the career path I want to pursue.
6. What 3 essential items would you never go to camp without?
- A rain coat. There can be some mega storms at camp and you never know when you’re going to need a good rain coat.
- A flashlight. You never know when this one is going to come in handy (obviously when its dark) but most of the time, at my camp anyway, there aren’t lights lighting the paths so a flashlight is a must
- A watch. At Camp Sloane we aren’t allowed to carry our phones around with us as the campers aren’t allowed technology so a watch always comes in handy when you’re not constantly attached to your phone as you would be usually.
7. What is your best/favourite camp memory?
This is such a hard question there are so many to choose from! I think mine would have to be after the most stressful week of my entire camp life seeing colour war, the theme day I had planned, actually happening and seeing the campers enjoying themselves throughout the day. It definitely made all the stress worth it.
8. What is/was your favourite camp food?
My favourite camp food has to be S’mores. They are amazing and I don’t know how I lived without them in my life.
9. What is/was your favourite camp cheer/chant?
I’m a big fan of all the clappy chants so my favourite chant is between “sevens” which is a chant that involves hitting the table A LOT in rhythms of seven (hence the name) or the cup song without the singing as I cannot sing to save my life!
10. What is your favourite camp saying/word/expression?
“Be your essential self” I love this because at camp you really do become your essential self, it does make a huge difference when people really embrace this.
11. Where did you travel to after camp (if you travelled)?
I travelled after my first two years at camp, after my first summer I travelled to Toronto, Miami, Washington D.C, Providence and New York City. This was a short-ish trip but it was a really great experience and I got to see some amazing places. Now after my second summer at camp I did a slightly longer trip which started in NYC onto Nashville then Memphis, Dallas, Denver, Boulder, a road trip from Boulder to Las Vegas stopping at Monument Valley and the Grand Canyon along the way. After Vegas we travelled to Hermosa Beach (one of my camp friends’ favourite places in America) then I travelled back to NYC to see some friends then it was home time. I am super happy I got to experience these places with so many amazing people, travelling is definitely a highlight for me as something that comes with doing camp.
12. How has camp influenced you/who you are/what you do?
Camp has had a huge influence on my life, it has made me a much more outgoing person and has helped me to come out of my shell, as well as helping me to meet some great people. Through meeting these people, I now put in the category of my closest friends, I have travelled to places I honestly never thought I would. I’ve also made some big decisions regarding what I actually want to do with my life in the last couple of years, I’m currently studying with the hopes of going to university to eventually (fingers crossed) be a primary school teacher, I don’t think I would have ever come to this decision without having gone to camp.
13. What is the BEST thing about being a summer camp counsellor?
Watching the kids learn new things and get really excited when they finally get down how to make a certain friendship bracelet or how to do the cheer they’ve been trying to do for the last week.
14. What’s the WORST thing?
That not all of my friends know what I’m talking about when I say “remember when so and so did this” and how tired I get, but that one’s easy to overcome when you’re surrounded by kids.
15. What the most important thing that camp has taught you?
To just be me, no matter how stupid I may be acting sometimes and to ask for help when you need it, this is something that makes everyone’s life easier, I have honestly asked so many questions over my summers at camp from the obvious to the not so obvious and it really has helped with my life outside camp too.
16. Anything else you want to say to people thinking about working at summer camp?
Do it, it will be the best thing you’ve ever done (unless you don’t like kids that much).