It’s that time of the week again. Yep, it’s time for another counselor interview! This week we’re handing it over to Jacinta (or JC, as we like to call her) to tell us all about her first summer at camp.
1. Where did you go to camp? How many years?
Camp Sloane YMCA. 2016 was my first year (and counting! :p )
2. Why did you decide to work at summer camp?
I heard about the summer camp program at a careers festival. It sounded like a lot of fun, and something I would be interested in. Except I wanted to go to University first. I didn’t love my whole time at Uni, but my parents really encouraged me to finish my degree, so I made a deal with myself that if / when I graduated, I could go work on a Summer Camp!
3. What agency did you apply to camp through and would you choose them again/how did you find their service?
Camp Leaders Australia. Yes and No. It’s thanks to them that I ended up having the most amazing time at Camp Sloane. However I felt they lacked support whilst you were in America, escially in comparasion to other agencies that would actually come visit camp etc.
4. What is/was your role at camp?
5. Did camp meet your expectations? In what ways?
I always thought I would like Camp, but I never realised just to what extent. I had the opportunity to live in the Camp Bubble for about 13 weeks, and I only wish it had been longer! Getting to live outdoors, work side by side your best friends, and see kids having fun every day (thanks to you) was a truly magical experience.
6. What 3 essential items would you never go to camp without?
1) My Journal – I was never a huge journal writer but I become one at Camp. I found my journal gave me a way to unwind, debrief and collect my thoughts every day. And I really think it kept me sane through out the summer! It’s also really fun to read through the old entries!
2) Backpack – So many good things can go inside a backpack – hat, water, sunscreen, towel, change of clothes (you know, for those times you fall in the lake)
3) Something from home. For me my treasured teddy bear (even though he always fell off my Bunk in the middle of the night). It’s nice to have something from home on those tougher days.
7. What is your best/favourite camp memory?
A really special memory for me, was the day I saw this particular kid get up on waterskis for the first time. It wasn’t his first year trying, and you could tell how much he wanted it. I was in the water helping him, and then we counted down, and he actually stood up and waterskiied for a little bit. It was such an awesome feeling knowing we had helped him achieve that goal.
8. What is/was your favourite camp food?
One meal I always look forward to was cook out night! I liked the burgers, the corn, the beans! And my favourite dessert BANANA BOATS (Banana, chocolate and marshmellows cooked in the oven).
9. What is/was your favourite camp cheer/chant?
Probably the Little bird Morning Song. It always brightened my morning.
10. What is your favourite camp saying/word/expression?
“I appreciate you”
This stemmed from a team building activity, but it turned into just telling people you appreciated them at random times through out the day, maybe when they did something great, or if they needed a pick me up.
11. Where did you travel to after camp (if you travelled)?
I went on a roadtrip with 5 friends! We started in Long Beach, NY (visiting one friend’s family home), flew to LAX, drove through / camped at Redwoods National Forest, Yosemite National Forest and then up to San Francisco. I then flew to Disneyworld Florida to meet up with a friend from home. I think roadtripping is such a fantastic way to see America, and Roadtrip #2 is already in the works …
12. How has camp influenced you/who you are/what you do?
One of the realisations I had early on at Camp, was that at Camp you truly just get to be yourself. There’s suddenly nothing that defines you anymore, especially in your first year when you are meeting everybody for the first time. Camp influenced me not to just be myself, but to also enjoy being myself. I’ve only had 1 summer at Camp, but I defiently plan on going back, and I’m excited to see where it leads me.
13. What is the BEST thing about being a summer camp counselor?
Everybody you meet. Both your co-counselors and the kids. Your fellow counselors truly become like family, because you learn to lean on and support each other from the first day. Then the kids. I mean that’s what Camp is all about! You never know what they are going to say or do next, and it’s so much fun getting to be apart of their journey of growing up.
14. What’s the WORST thing?
The food … It’s not all bad, and I was so hungry most of the time, that it couldn’t bother me too much.
15. What the most important thing that camp has taught you?
That every day can be a good day.
16. Anything else you want to say to people thinking about working at summer camp?
Do it. It’s that simple. If you have even an inkling that you would enjoy it, then just try. The best is that you will have the most amazing time, and the worst that you got to travel to America for 2 months.