What To Do In The Off-Season (i.e. Not Summer)

If you’re anything like me (i.e. totally obsessed with summer camp), you’ll have a hard time adjusting back to ‘real’ life when camp is over. In fact, if you’re anything like me, you will start your daily countdown to next summer pretty much as soon as the last one ends!

You have 10 months to fill before summer starts again (or 8 months if you do Spring and Fall camps like me) and it seems like a never ending stretch of time… what on earth are you going to do in those months to stop yourself from going totally crazy with camp-sickness?

summer camp tents
I miss this already!

If you’re a student, then you’re pretty much sorted for how to fill your time – you’ll be at uni/college, with all your friends, with plenty of work and parties to keep you busy and your mind occupied. But what about those of us who have finished studying (or never started)? What can we do to make those months between September and June pass by with some sort of meaning, other than just waiting for summer to swing back around?

Here are just a few suggestions I have, some of which I have done myself, and others that I’d like to do, or know people who have done.

1. Work a winter season. This could be in Europe, Japan, New Zealand, Canada… anywhere that has snow really! Back in Jan 2013 I headed off to the French resort of Les Arcs for the winter and had an absolute blast living with my friends (from camp), playing in the snow and perfecting my snowboarding skills. It’s a fantastic way to spend your winter and there are plenty of companies around hiring for jobs that are perfect for summer camp counselors… childcare in the snow anyone?!

Snowboard jumps in Les Arcs
Snowboard jumps in Les Arcs

2. Go travelling. Heading out on a Round The World trip back in 2011 (after my first summer at camp) was one of the greatest things I’ve ever done. I already had it all planned out and booked before I ever went to camp, but during the summer I somehow convinced a couple of my new friends to join me on this adventure. It was amazing. We travelled around SE Asia, Australia, New Zealand (in a campervan), Fiji and back to the USA for a month of travelling before going back to camp again in 2012.

Scuba Diving the Great Barrier Reef
Scuba Diving the Great Barrier Reef

3. Spend a year in Australia. This is what myself and two of my best friends did last year after camp ended. We jumped on a plane and flew across the world to Sydney, where we ended up living and working for 4 months before doing our 3 months of farm work (required if you want to get a second 12 month visa) at an incredible sustainable farm. Australia is one of the most amazing countries I’ve ever been to and it’s pretty sweet that their seasons are the opposite to ours too – I had 3 summers in a row, going from summer in the USA, to summer in Oz and then back to the USA again.

Beekeeping at the farm in Australia
Beekeeping at the farm in Australia

4. Work for one of the summer camp agencies. Something that a lot of people do after spending a summer or two working as a counselor at summer camp is to work for one of the (many) summer camp agencies back here in the UK. Pretty much all of the agencies will hire students to be ambassadors/recruiters at their unis, a great chance to earn a bit of cash (or money off your fees when you return to camp the following summer) and stay involved in everything summer camp. If you’re not a student, then there will also be opportunities to work for the agencies in more full-time roles – just keep checking their websites for job postings and get those applications in early… there’s a lot of people just like you who dream of working in the summer camping industry all the time!

AmeriCamp team
You too could be part of the team!

5. Get back into studying. One thing that summer camp is very good for (along with everything else!), is showing you what you really want to do in life. I know quite a few people who have been inspired by their jobs at camp, and have changed the direction of their studies, or made big life decisions that involve applying to university for the first time. And seeing as the school year runs from September to June, it’s a perfect excuse to spend your summers back at camp, right?!

 

What else have you done between summers at camp to keep yourself occupied or to further your career, or just to simply stop you from missing camp too much?

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