Last week you heard all about Rob’s summers at camp, now it’s over to Leah who spent one glorious summer at camp in Vermont!
I went to Camp Killooleet in Vermont for one summer
2. Why did you decide to work at summer camp?
I always wanted to go on a J1 to America but I didn’t want to work at the typical jobs like in restaurants and bars. After talking to a girl I know who worked at a summer camp in New York and loved it I decided to do some research and I decided I definitely wanted to spend my summer at a camp.
3. What agency did you apply to camp through and would you choose them again/how did you find their service?
I went through the company Camp Leaders. When I applied there was no office in Ireland so I was in contact with them in England all the time. I found them really helpful and very fast and efficient when emailing them. I applied in October 2012 and was placed in April 2013. During those few months they were very reassuring when I was worried I wouldn’t get placed and they were always giving me advice on how to improve my application. I also had the chance to be an interviewer when I came back from camp!
4. What is/was your role at camp?
I was the video and general counselor. I got to make videos with the kids and also film different activities that were going on around camp for the summer. Each of the cabins made their own videos and we showed them at the end of the summer to the rest of the camp. Some of the footage I shot around camp was used for their new website! I say that I was a general counselor as well because it was a small camp so as well as the activity area you were in you also participated in evening activities, special events, trips and weekly hikes.
5. Did camp meet your expectations? In what ways?
I honestly did not know what to expect. But it was the most amazing, wonderful, crazy, adventurous summer that I have ever had!
6. What 3 essential items would you never go to camp without?
Teabags: The tea over there is nothing like it is here. I love a nice cup of tea in the morning so having my own there was definitely important. So if you can’t go a day without a few cups of tea definitely bring some with you.
Torch/Head torch. I mostly used the torch on my iphone as it was pretty strong but if I was going again I would bring a head torch. they are so handy for when you’re walking around the camp in the dark, trying not to trip over tree stumps and whatever else.
A nice big warm hoodie: When everyone thinks of America they expect warm weather all the time especially in the summer months. And yes it can get very hot but then evenings are actually pretty cold especially if you are close to the mountains like I was. So definitely bring one or two warm sweatshirts.
7. What is your best/favourite camp memory?
I had the oldest girls cabin who were 13/14 years old. I really connected with these girls over the summer and there is definitely some amazing memories with them. The one that stands out though is when they sang a One Direction song to me at one of the Pro Nights (Kind of like a talent night) I used to always film these at the back of the theatre. When my cabin went up to sing I was excited to see what they were going to do. I was getting the shot ready when I heard them say: ‘This one’s for you Leah’ and the music to What makes you beautiful came on and they started singing it to me. The smile never left my face all night!
8. What is your favourite camp food?
Congo bars, they are like brownies but the white chocolate ones. I think they’re also called blondies.
9. What is your favourite camp chant?
The only camp chant I can remember is: K-I-double L-O and an O and an L and a double E-T, That’s how we spell Killooleet!
10. What is your favourite camp saying/word/expression?
‘This is not a drill’
11. Where did you travel to after camp (if you travelled)?
I have relatives in Boston so I stayed with them for just over a week. I was eager to get back home as I was going into my final year of college and we started back in early September. But August 2015 I am going on a road trip with Trek America!
12. How has camp influenced you/who you are/what you do?
I was always a really shy person and when I started college I started to become more confiedent but it was really camp that made me the person I am today. When I came back after that summer I was unrecogniseable to all my friends. I was more outgoing, I was louder and I was just more confident then I have ever been. My friends would joke and say America changed you Leah. But it actually did and I am grateful for it. When you’re at camp everyone treats you the same. Actually the crazier you are the better.
13. What is the BEST thing about being a summer camp counselor?
Everything. If I had to pick one thing though its having your kids tell you over and over how much they love having you as their counselor and begging you to come back next summer. It makes you feel really good and you know you must be doing something right.
14. What is the WORST thing?
Probably the end of the summer. I never pictured what the end of summer was going to be like so I wasn’t prepared and neither were any of the other new counselors. The buses are there and parents are picking their kids up and everyone is crying, and hugging and its just really sad. I mean you spend like 7/8 weeks with these your kids, being with them 24/7 they’re basically like your family and having to say goodbye was really hard.
15. What is the most important thing that camp has taught you?
To never be afraid to just be yourself. It may sound cheesy but it’s true!
16. Anything else you want to say to people thinking about working at summer camp?
Working at a summer camp is the hardest but also the best job you will ever have. If you’re like me and never want to grow up and just be a kid forever then summer camp is the place to be!