Camp Counselor Of The Week: Matthew Smith

Last week we heard from Leah about her awesome time at summer camp and this week it’s over to Matty, who is heading back to camp for his second summer very soon!

Summer camp counselor

1. Where did you go to camp? How many years?

I went to Beber Camp, last year was my first and I’m heading back for my 2nd in less than 4 weeks!

 2. Why did you decide to work at summer camp?

A friend of a friend had told me all about her experience working at a summer camp and there was no way I was about to pass up the chance when a CCUSA rep came to do a talk at our University!

 3. What agency did you apply to camp through and would you choose them again/how did you find their service?

Like I said previously, it was all down to CCUSA. (Camp Counsellors USA) These guys are incredible and will literally answer every single one of your phone calls/emails/cries for help with Visa and flights anytime of the day. I cannot recommend them enough, they even come to visit you at camp which is pretty cool!

 4. What is/was your role at camp?

My role at camp is a Keshet Counselor. This means that I work one on one throughout the whole summer with one of the kids who has special needs and specific requirements (the most awesome kids at camp may I add). It is the most rewarding job I have, and probably will ever have! Our day is very similar to everyone else’s, but sometimes we get to do our own thing with no time restrictions so that’s pretty cool!

Summer camp counselor

5. Did camp meet your expectations? In what ways?

YES, YES and YES! Camp met every single one of my expectations and much more. I expected that camp would be the best summer of my life and I was right. In what ways? The people are the most positive people I have ever met in my life, from all around the world, America, Israel, Australia and of course UK! It’s hard to remember exactly what my expectations were initially, but the fact that I had already decided I was coming back for a second summer about 5 minutes after leaving camp must mean something.

6. What 3 essential items would you never go to camp without?

  • Sunglasses – Might sound obvious but you do not want to do what I did and rely on Walmart sunglasses (the equivalent to Primark ones)
  • A fancy dress costume – or just generally silly clothes. I made this mistake and again, had to buy the worst fancy dress costume from Walmart. You always need colourful, fun clothes, no matter which day or what time it is, it’s best to dress as weird and wacky as you can at all times!
  • iPod – for all those long journeys. Be it flying to America itself or travelling after camp, trust me, sometimes you need to just lie down and listen to your favourite songs, and don’t forget all those new American songs you will hear at camp, hate at first but then you will be desperate to put them all on your iPod to take home and show you friends. Also, if like me your camp is in the middle of nowhere, camping trips and days off involve long periods of time spent on big yellow buses, so take your music with you!

7. What is your best/favourite camp memory?

My favourite camp memory has to be the end of staff week. Don’t get me wrong, when the kids arrive it’s an amazing feeling, but the bond you make with your fellow staff members is something hard to replicate anywhere else in the world. After just 1 week of hanging out and getting to know each other, they are your best friends. So my best memory has to be during staff week when we were all sitting round outside on our camping trip, around a campfire, singing and laughing. We had expert guitar players and first class singers entertaining us, and then I grabbed a pair of bongo drums and joined in and no one even noticed (I ruined it), but no one cared, and that’s love right there!

Summer camp counselor

8. What is/was your favourite camp food?

Let me start by saying my least favourite food was Macaroni Cheese, stay clear, avoid. But, camp food was amazing! Pizza, Tuna Salads or the coloured cookies for desert were very good. Although, I must warn all the British guys going over, TAKE ENGLISH TEA WITH YOU. Do not be fooled by American imitations that claim to be “British Tea” – It is not!

9. What is/was your favourite camp cheer/chant?

I believe, I believe that, I believe that we will win; I believe that we will win! (Sang at every possible opportunity by campers)

10. What is your favourite camp saying/word/expression?

Trash, Garbage, Buddy, Highway, Soccer, Cell phone and GAS (it’s petrol)

11. Where did you travel to after camp (if you travelled)?

We took a flight from Chicago to Miami, travelled up the east coast, visiting Miami, Orlando, Washington D.C, New York.

Summer camp counselor

12. How has camp influenced you/who you are/what you do?

Majorly! I can say that I am more patient, better at listening and a whole load more positive than before camp in every aspect of my life! I am more motivated throughout the year at university knowing that I have camp to look forward to and I am now looking at maybe working full time in America after I graduate to work with kids!

13. What is the BEST thing about being a summer camp counselor?

There are literally 100 best things about best a counselor. I would say THE best thing if I had to choose one, would be the fact that you are looked up to as a role model in such a way and you are some of these kid’s heroes! You get the chance to this summer amazing for you, but more importantly the children.

14. What’s the WORST thing?

There is no worst thing, honestly. I had no bad experiences at all, none whatsoever. But if you had to have a worst thing, it would be saying goodbye to people you know aren’t returning to camp! But even then you plan to fly half way across the world and meet them in later life!

Summer camp counselor

15. What the most important thing that camp has taught you?

Be nice! Simple. To everyone and everything, no matter what. It is always for the best.

16. Anything else you want to say to people thinking about working at summer camp?

DO IT! Don’t even think, just do it! Don’t be put off by thinking you don’t have any certificates or experience, I had zero! It will change your life so much. If you want to have the best 2 months of your life, and then be excited for the 10 months in between, then this is the job for you!

Summer camp counselors

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