While the majority of people who go to work at summer camp are university students, there are also a lot of people for whom a summer spent working at camp is part of their gap year, either at the beginning or at the end. Whether those people are recent school leavers, uni graduates, or are simply taking a year out from work to decide what comes next in life, they will all tell you that spending a few months at summer camp is a fantastic use of time during your gap year.
Wondering why you should go to summer camp in your gap year? Read on to find out…
1. It makes a great bookend for your year.
Spending a summer at camp is an excellent way to either start or end your year. Want to kick off your gap year with a bang and earn some cash for your upcoming travels? Go to summer camp! Want an exciting way to end an awesome year, and go to uni with some great stories and money in the bank? Go to summer camp!
And if you go at the start of your year off, and totally fall in love with it, you could go again at the end of your gap year too!
2. You will gain some incredible life skills (and I don’t just mean the new activities that you’ll get to try out).
Summer camp teaches you things you weren’t even aware you didn’t know. It teaches you to be a leader and a role model. It teaches you responsibility, towards your campers, your colleagues and yourself. It teaches you how to live and work with other people, and how to communicate effectively with different people from all walks of life. It teaches you to be confident but also how to ask for help in a sticky situation. It teaches you that it’s ok to make mistakes, but that it’s how you pick yourself up again that really matters. It teaches you to find solutions, not problems, to always find the funny side, and to think on your feet, always having a back-up plan.
Oh yeah, and you’ll get to try out all that fun stuff like kayaking, climbing and maybe even waterskiing.
3. You get to travel after camp.
The visa you get to go to summer camp (J1) allows you to travel around the USA for 30 days after you leave camp. 30 days is quite a long time, and you really could see a fair amount of the country in that time, depending on your funds. If the aim of your gap year is to see a bit more of the world, this is your perfect chance. Hang out on the East for some fun in NYC, some history in Washington DC and some sunshine and epic nights out in Miami. Or head West for lazy days on the beach in LA, a bit of the touristy stuff in San Fran, and maybe even a trip to the Grand Canyon. With 30 days to kill, America really is your oyster.
4. You will make some fantastic friends.
The friends you make at summer camp are like no other friends you have ever had (or will ever have) in your life. When you spend 2 months together, living in close quarters, 24 hours a day, you get to know each other really well, and fast. You will see each other at your best and at your worst… by the end of the the summer, you will feel like you have know these people your entire life. These are friends that will stay with you for a very long time. Whp knows, maybe you’ll even end up living together in a tiny little flat in Sydney, Australia?!
5. You get to spend the summer outside, in the sunshine, getting a tan.
And that’s all you really want from summer right? None of this lying in your back garden in England for the 1 day the sun actually comes out, trying to tan, but also trying to find a sot where your creepy neighbour can’t see you over the fence.
No, none of that. At summer camp, it is pretty much sunny the entire time. Ok, maybe you’ll get a bit of rain or a few cloudy days (and when it rains it REALLY rains!), but the majority of the time you will be outside, sleeves rolled up, watching as the sun turns your skin that delicious golden brown you haven’t seen in ages.
6. It will look great on your CV, enhancing your job opportunities, either for the rest of your gap year or for the future.
Go back and re-read number 2.
Done? So now you get it, right? While summer camp is incredible fun, and an aweosme way to spend a few months in another country, playing in the sunshine with kids and calling it work, the things you learn and the skills you aquire will stay with you long after your summer camp counselor days are over. Any employer worth working for will undertsand the strengths that come from having a camp counselor on their team.
7. It’s not too expensive (especially compared to some other gap year opportunities).
While some gap year travels will set you back thousands, going to summer camp is fairly cheap in comparison. Depending on the agency you choose, you could head to camp for as little as £429 (plus flights). And some of the agencies will even include flights, so the entire service is sorted for you. AND you will be making money while you’re at camp, so if you really think about it, it’s not actually going to cost you a thing!
8. You get to be completely immersed in American culture.
You will be surrounded by Americans. American staff, American kids, American parents. You will learn their slang, pick up an accent and come home saying ‘sidewalk’ instead of ‘pavement’, or ‘trash’ instead of ‘rubbish’. When you go on day off, there will most likely be at least one American in your group – you might go to their house if they live nearby, or they might take you on an adventure to somewhere you never would have found without them. You will be at camp to celebrate the 4th of July, and you will be able to visit some of America’s most famous landmarks as you travel at the end of summer. America will become your 2nd home.