A new counselor of the week interview… yay! Our last interview was with the lovely Liam, and now it’s over to Sophie, to tell us all about her summer camp experience.
1. Where did you go to camp? How many years?
I went to Sherwood Forest Camp, Missouri. This was my first year.
2. Why did you decide to work at summer camp?
Throughout the hustle and bustle of student life I wanted to get away from it all, take a break and do something other people my age weren’t doing.
And also the fact that I always wished my mum would send me away to camp like ‘The Parent Trap’ when I was younger but unfortunately in the U.K. we don’t have that camp life like the States.
3. What agency did you apply to camp through and would you choose them again/how did you find their service?
I applied through Camp America first but I wasn’t qualified enough. Soon after I heard from mutual friends talk about Camp Leaders. I signed up and before I knew it I was hired. Camp Leaders were full of a lot of enthusiasm and definitely set me up with a great jam-packed camp summer. The only thing I would say and this goes for all agencies; once you sign up and express interest they will want the deposit and any payments almost immediately. Difficult that, especially when being a student.
4. What is/was your role at camp?
Camp counsellor and Arts and Crafts Leader.
5. Did camp meet your expectations? In what ways?
Beyond [my] expectations. It was a physical and mental individual journey you can not fully prepare for your first time camp experience. For me I am a born and bred city girl so dealing with nature so first hand and having complete silence was definitely my biggest challenge that I overcame. It stripped me back to basics, any materialistic values I had disappeared and I started to appreciate life in a sense that I’d never witnessed before. It such a rewarding [experience] you achieve from camp and creates a whole new life perspective.
6. What 3 essential items would you never go to camp without?
- Deet/tick spray.
- Tweezers (always handing not just for brows, but squeezing any small insects or wood out of skin).
- Hand sanitiser (always needed for those outdoor loo moments).
7. What is your best/favourite camp memory?
Best favourite camp memory would be that over night stay the night before my birthday. Stuck in the middle of the deep forest, myself my other co counsellors, wildlife and of course our children. All sat around huddling together roasting s’mores, singing camp songs with bright stars shining down and coyotes howling in the background. An odd movie moment, but that morning as I had just woken, my children surrounding me singing happy birthday from the tops of their lungs and full of so much excitement. All surprising me with their own handmade personalised cards and letters they had done before our overnight trip.
8. What is/was your favourite camp food
American food is slightly different from English food. My favourite food, if it wasn’t candy every now and again, it would be surprise corn dogs. So good.
9. What is/was your favourite camp cheer/chant?
FRUIT BOWL! Or ‘brr..it’s cold in here it must be Shire in the atmosphere’.
10. What is your favourite camp saying/word/expression?
‘Every burger has a sprinkle of cheese’ odd saying but a lovely meaning, every person’s different, just like burgers, but a bit of cheesiness now and again doesn’t hurt anybody.
11. Where did you travel to after camp (if you travelled)?
St. Louis and New York. After camp travel is an incredible opportunity to explore and adventure put yo didn’t do and see more.
12. How has camp influenced you/who you are/what you do?
I think camp influenced me to become a better person. Loving myself inside and out and always being that helping hand to anyone who needs it. Learning to become selfless, and forget silly materialistic things you use to obsess over but now realise they don’t have any value at all. I grew in so much confidence and I was at so much peace with myself being a past over-panicker. I felt like I had found a new puzzle piece to discovering who I am as a person, with a fresh new life perspective ready to conquer in any new challenges that come my way. Maturity definitely grows within you along your journey, especially when having the responsibility of looking after small children. As well, having small children around you thinking you’re the best human being in the world makes you want to be the best version of yourself. It’s such a personal journey within yourself and your soul. Seeing children progress around your presence from strength to strength and love you that little bit more each day is what’s truly the real magic in it all.
13.What is the BEST thing about being a summer camp counsellor?
The best thing about camp is the kids. The love and admiration they have for you, building good relationships and discovering you actually do have a maternal side. It’s incredible how much small children can grow physically and mentally within that small amount of time with them. Camp is a whole different world; you bond with a wide variety of people and build solid great friendships that last a lifetime. A few months in a closed environment with the same people, bonding over so much and you learn so much about people that it will feel like you have known them a lifetime.
14. What’s the WORST thing?
Dealing with over-hyper children after an overnight camping trip due to the lack of sleep and tiredness in everyone.
15. What the most important thing that camp has taught you?
Live every moment to the fullest, appreciate everything you are blessed with and love beyond words even with a single smile.
16. Anything else you want to say to people thinking about working at summer camp?
DO IT! You grow through so many milestones at camp and learn life lessons beyond any parent lecture or textbook teachings can ever teach you. You learn what life truly is about beyond any social media measure. Camp changed my life so much nothing can possibly compare, for the better of course, I have conquered so many challenges since camp with an incredible to new life perspective and thinking back to my children motivates me to achieve as much as possible and to [take] every opportunity.
Sophie has also written a fab article about why ‘Everyone should experience life working at American Summer Camp‘ – check it out here.