Last week we heard all about Katie’s time at summer camp, and now we hand over to Lizzie, to find out what she really thought of her summer camp experience!
1. Where did you go to camp? How many years?
I went to Easter Seals Camp Stand by Me in Washington State. It is a charity funded camp that specialises in caring for children and adults with special needs. I worked there for one summer.
2. Why did you decide to work at summer camp?
Deciding to apply for summer camp was a spur of the moment decision. I was at university and after my lecture there was a work abroad talk by BUNAC where they talked about spending a summer in the States. Within a month I had been interviewed and hired at a camp fair, the rest is history!
3. What agency did you apply to camp through and would you choose them again/how did you find their service?
I applied through BUNAC and found them really helpful and friendly and have recommended them to all my friends when deciding which agency to go through. I really liked the fact that they did informal travel talks around the country to learn more information.
4. What is/was your role at camp?
The majority of my time I worked as a General Counselor but was also trained up to be a lifeguard for the summer.
5. Did camp meet your expectations? In what ways?
To be honest I had no idea of what to expect when I boarded the plane to the States but spending a summer working at camp was one of the best things that I have ever done. I spent my days doing activities that I loved and making a real difference to the campers’ lives.
6. What 3 essential items would you never go to camp without?
T-shirts that you don’t mind getting dirty, some English chocolate (American chocolate is rubbish) and a camera to capture your memories.
7. What is your best/favourite camp memory?
My favourite memory involved one specific camper who never failed to make me smile whether we were going swimming or making s’mores. When she returned back to her parents I got a huge card from her thanking me for being her Summer Camp Mom for the summer which was incredibly sweet.
8. What is/was your favourite camp food?
My chef at camp made the best cinnamon rolls, literally the best breakfast to wake up to!
9. What is/was your favourite camp cheer/chant?
My favourite camp song was ‘Did you ever see?’ aka The Penguin Song. It was a great way to get everybody moving and it always made the campers laugh.
10. What is your favourite camp saying/word/expression?
When I went to camp Miley Cyrus was still a sweet and innocent Disney star and ‘Party in the USA’ was the anthem of our camp (yes I still know all the words and the dance routine to the song). The campers would sing the song all the time and now whenever anyone says the words ‘Party in the USA’ it makes me think of camp.
11. Where did you travel to after camp (if you travelled)?
I travelled down the West Coast of America visiting Portland, San Francisco and hiked Yosemite, it was amazing! My return flight was through New York so I also managed to spend a few days there as well.
12. How has camp influenced you/who you are/what you do?
Spending a summer working at camp gave me the confidence to spend 2 semesters abroad with my university. I ended up spending 9 months in Canada and 9 months in Australia and have truly been bitten by the travel bug. Since graduating university I now work at BUNAC full time and help other travellers achieve their travelling dreams!
13. What is the BEST thing about being a summer camp counsellor?
Making a positive difference to the campers’ lives, I still get emails from some of my old campers and their families updating me on their lives.
14. What’s the WORST thing?
As cheesy as it sounds, leaving camp! On my last day I cried like a baby and didn’t want the summer to end.
15. What the most important thing that camp has taught you?
To work as a team and be kind to one another. At my camp it was important for all the counsellors to work together to make sure the campers got the best possible experience.
16. Anything else you want to say to people thinking about working at summer camp?
Just go for it! You have the choice to spend a boring summer in the UK or have the adventure of a lifetime in the States where you essentially get to be a kid again. To me it doesn’t seem like a hard decision!