Last week you got the chance to read all about Lizzie’s awesome experiences at summer camp, now it’s Rob’s turn to tell us about his 7 summers at camp!
1. Where did you go to camp? How many years?
I went to Indian Head Camp, in Pennsylvania, for 7 years!
2. Why did you decide to work at summer camp?
When I was in my first year of university, I had a BUNAC rep come to a lecture and talk through the benefits of working in the US for the summer, over finding a part-time role here in the UK over the summer, which was a definite no-brainer.
3. What agency did you apply to camp through and would you choose them again/how did you find their service?
I went through BUNAC – I did a lot of research in to different agencies, BUNAC have been in the industry for over 40 years and have a great amount of experience in summer camps. They always responded to my emails, and were fantastic helping me organise my visa and booking my flights for me!
4. What is/was your role at camp?
I had a number of roles, I started as a cabin specialist (general counsellor), before working as a lifeguard and then a group leader, supervising staff and campers. More recently I went on the teen tour program, travelling for 4 weeks around the west coast of America with 35 teenagers, and my last role was Head Counsellor, where I managed the teenage program with 150 campers and 40 staff members.
5. Did camp meet your expectations? In what ways?
Definitely, I went out for 1 year, and ended up returning another 6 times! It certainly helps you gain independence, for me it was the first time I had travelled to another country alone, and I had to navigate New York City to meet my new friends that I’d be spending the summer with. I returned with so much more confidence, and as a result I’m far more outgoing now that I’ve experienced summer camp.
6. What 3 essential items would you never go to camp without?
Tough question –
1). A good head torch.
2). Mementos from home, for 2 reasons, you can obviously have them there to remind you of home, and secondly, the children at camp want to know everything about you, so it’s great to be able to show them these things, and start making connections.
3). Plenty of colourful items, camp always have colour wars and dress up events, so have a variety in your wardrobe is so useful.
7. What is your best/favourite camp memory?
I worked with the same group of kids for 6 years, so I worked with them from the age of 10 to 16, so definitely seeing them all grow up through the years was so rewarding.
8. What is/was your favourite camp food?
Pizza or Tacos!
9. What is/was your favourite camp cheer/chant?
The lost tooth song.
10. What is your favourite camp saying/word/expression?
11. Where did you travel to after camp (if you travelled)?
I’ve visited lots of areas; I’ve done most of the North East, cities like New York, Boston and Washington DC. I visited Florida and also I’ve done a good amount of the West coast of America. I also went to Wisconsin, and saw a college American football game, and visited Toronto up in Canada.
12. How has camp influenced you/who you are/what you do?
Camp definitely influenced who I am; I am doing a PGCE in Secondary Education in September, and would never have done that without the experience of working at summer camp.
13. What is the BEST thing about being a summer camp counsellor?
The connections that you are able to make – I’ve worked with a group of teenagers who are now at university, and so keeping in touch with them is amazing. You also meet with staff members from all over the world, and that was amazing, for example when I went to Australia, as I had friends to meet up with all over!
14. What’s the WORST thing?
The 7 weeks that camp lasts for, goes so quickly!!
15. What the most important thing that camp has taught you?
I think how important connections are in every day life. It has definitely made me appreciate things more, and really try to make a difference each day.
16. Anything else you want to say to people thinking about working at summer camp?
Make the most of it, the time goes really quickly, and you really get out of it what you put in. It will be a tiring experience, but if you give your all, you’ll have the most rewarding experience.