So it happened. The thing we’ve all been talking about about for the last however-many-months. Donald Trump is officially President of the United States of America. It feels a little ridiculous even writing that down.
But there it is.
A lot of people have been wondering what his first move is going to be, and how it will affect everyone both in America and around the world.
Just yesterday morning, a friend of mine posted an article on Facebook that said Trump is planning to abolish the J1 visa (one of my biggest fears), the visa that allows us all to go and work at camp every summer. In contrast, and almost at the exact same time, I also got an email from one of the agencies about this very thing; the possibility of it (or lack thereof) and that even if it was something he did want to actually do, it would take many, many months of talks and discussions and the rewriting of laws and legislations, which is a very lengthy process. So for right now at least, rest assured that we are all still be set to get our J1 visas for 2017. And if the time does ever come, and The Donald follows through with his threats, I know I’m not alone in saying he will have a fight on his hands!
But anyway. Trump is in charge. Am I pleased about it? No. Should it stop you from applying to go to summer camp? No. Does it mean I love America any less? No. And here’s why:
1. The American people. Throughout the summers that I’ve spent at camp and travelling around the country I have met some incredible Americans and am proud to call quite a few of them very good friends (you know who you are). The Americans that I have met are some of the warmest, most welcoming, most open-minded people I know. And maybe that has something to do with the fact that a lot of them are also ‘camp people’, but in my experience, Americans are kind and honest and fun and outspoken and just, well, lovely.
2. The weather. America has proper weather. And by that I mean that if you go to, say California or Florida for example, where it’s supposed to be hot and sunny, it will actually be hot and sunny. Or if you go to New York or Rhode Island in the winter, there will actually be snow – the real kind that goes up to your thighs and makes you want to lie down in to make snow angels. Oh and the thunderstorms. Don’t even get me started on the thunderstorms (they’re one of my favourite things about camp).
3. The culture. I should really say cultures. America is a country rich with people and cultures from all over the world. Wherever you go in America, you have the opportunity to experience different cultures, different foods, different languages, different religions. And that’s the beauty of the land of the free.
4. The travel. Over my 6 summers at camp I have visited more states than I can count, gone on some epic road trips (Pacific Coast Highway anyone?), visited National Parks, skated the boardwalk between Santa Monica and Venice, rented a house with a private beach in Connecticut, been to just about all the museums in Washington DC, shopped to my hearts content in NYC and much, much more. America is HUGE. There are so many places to visit and so many things to see, I haven’t even scratched the surface.
5. The patriotism. I LOVE how much Americans love their country. A major reason to apply to camp is spending July 4th in America. Fancy dress, fireworks, you name it, your camp will probably do it. And don’t forget raising the flag every day and pledging allegiance. I may not really understand it, because we Brits don’t tend to get that involved or passionate about our own country (unless we’re winning some sporting event which, lets face it, doesn’t happen very often), but I love getting involved in it when I’m in America.
6. The time I’ve already spent there. In the last 5 and half years, I’ve spent close to 2 whole years living and working at my camp in Connecticut (which is crazy when I think about it like that) and in that time I feel like my camp (and America) has become my second home. In fact, because I’ve done so much travelling over the last 5 years, camp has actually been the place I’ve spent the most time, the most consistently. It might seem silly to say it, but I feel like I have a little bit of America inside me wherever I go.
7. Summer Camp. America is where summer camp all began. It is the country that holds the tradition of sending children to camp for weeks at a time over their summer holiday. And I am so, so grateful for that tradition. If it didn’t exist, I wouldn’t have found the thing that I am most passionate about. I wouldn’t have found my second home, or met all of my best friends, or have that little excited feeling in my stomach every morning when I wake up, knowing I’m one day closer to going back there for another summer.
So forget about Trump. Forget about the politics. Forget about all the drama of the last few days. And just think about why a summer in America could be a fantastic experience for you. A summer of fun, sun, friendships, travel, and the chance to work with some incredible kids! I love America and I know that after a summer at camp, you will too.