We’re on a roll with these counselor interviews! Last week, Sarah told us all about her many summers at camp, now it’s over to Ryan, who is heading back to camp this summer for the second time!
1. Where did you go to camp? How many years?
I Went to Camp Sloane YMCA in Connecticut. Last summer was my first year at camp but I am heading back this summer again for a second year!
2. Why did you decide to work at summer camp?
I decided to work at camp because I finished university and panicked because I still had no idea about what I wanted to do with my life. Going to camp opened my eyes to the possibility of working with kids which before, had never crossed my mind in the long term. It also allowed me to go to the US and do a lot of exploring which I consider an invaluable life experience.
3. What agency did you apply to camp through and would you choose them again/how did you find their service?
I applied to camp through BUNAC which was great and very helpful for the first time as it held meetings before camp and also helped with airport transfers and navigating the subway in New York which can be daunting at first.
4. What is/was your role at camp?
I was a counselor in the Pioneer Boys section and this year going back to Pioneer Boys as Section Head.
5. Did camp meet your expectations? In what ways?
Camp exceeded all of my expectations. It became my day to day “job”. I use quotation marks because really it didn’t seem like a job but more of a way of life that was very difficult to let go of on departure. It also gave me the most rewarding experiences of my life so far, that I didn’t foresee.
6. What 3 essential items would you never go to camp without?
A water bottle: I didn’t realise how much water I was able to drink and how much it affected me when I didn’t drink enough. It’s also good to have one on your person to set a good example to the campers who usually get affected by dehydration more drastically. Also when you say it in a British accent lots of people find it funny.
A hat: great for putting on when you’re a person like me who hates haircuts but also hates the hassle of long hair. Also a bonus as a sun block.
A football (soccer) shirt: For someone who loves football as much as me I was not expecting how much American kids enjoy the sport! Next summer I am definitely wearing my League 2 AFC Wimbledon shirt.
7. What is your best/favourite camp memory?
Getting the chance to go rock climbing with Adventure camp, something I never expected to get the chance to do at the beginning of the summer.
8. What is/was your favourite camp food?
Pasta night x 1000.
9. What is/was your favourite camp cheer/chant?
Not a chant or a cheer but a song that [our CEO] sings usually at closing campfire… the first time I heard it I laughed a lot.
10. What is your favourite camp saying/word/expression?
The funny replacements that people use everyday instead of saying rude words.
11. Where did you travel to after camp (if you travelled)?
I travelled to San Francisco for a week then took a road trip for a month back to New York stopping everywhere interesting in between (yes it was lots of driving but worth it).
12. How has camp influenced you/who you are/what you do?
Camp helped me realise that to be happy you have to focus upon other peoples happiness first, sounds like something a self help advisor would say but it really is true, and you find yourself becoming unconsciously happy without realising.
13. What is the BEST thing about being a summer camp counsellor?
Probably being in the USA, meeting new, interesting people and getting to work with awesome kids who look up to you as a role model.
14. What’s the WORST thing?
Having to go back to regular life.
15. What the most important thing that camp has taught you?
Camp has taught me that no matter how tired you are, you can always carry on if it’s something you enjoy. Also to cherish sleep.
16. Anything else you want to say to people thinking about working at summer camp?
Do it, it is a great experience and helps you be more person. [And by that I mean] be more of a functional productive human being.