Camp Counselor of the Week: Cat Hay

A couple of week’s ago, Nick told us all about his summer camp experience. This week, it’s over to Cat, who just spent her first summer at camp coaching sport and loving it!

summer camp counselor
Cat (left) and friends enjoying the sunshine!

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

Camp Sloane YMCA for 1 year (so far)

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

Something I’ve always wanted to do since school and this was the first summer that I was able to do it. Love kids and love sports so it made sense to at least give it a go.

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

BUNAC – very helpful and efficient with my application. Because I applied so early, I was able to go to the first fair in Edinburgh and get hired. Some of the events prior to camp were a little tedious because what was being covered were things that I had already done (eg J-day, police check, medical check). I know that it still had to be done since some people had just been placed.

4. What is/was your role at camp?

I was a camp counsellor teaching sports to children. I was 2nd for sports, which meant that I would be acting director once a week for when the director of sports was on day off. My main sport was football. Outside of sport, I was a counsellor for the oldest group of children, which entailed taking a couple of them in to my classes and helping with their teaching skills.

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

Yes! It even exceeded them! I underestimated how much I would enjoy teaching and working with children in a full-time capacity. The support that I had within the department was exceptional, not just from the director but also from fellow counsellors. I met some incredible people and they will be friends for life.

Summer Camp Color War
The Colour War Generals

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

Extra socks! Wellies, industrial strength bug spray

7. What is your best/favourite camp memory

Colour war opening ceremony. All the kids were put in to teams and I was the captain of team blue. You could see them walk down in the dark with their team glow sticks and starting to chant. Incredible to watch and I didn’t have a voice by the end of it!

8. What is/was your favourite camp food?

BBQ chicken + salad

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

“JU. JUNIORS. We are the juniors! What what?! The junior girls!”

“She’s eating, she’s eating! Bella’s eating lunch! MUNCH MUNCH!”

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

Everything is “super” something. SUPER AWESOME!

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

I spent 3 weeks in NYC. 1 week with camp friends, 1 week with a friend from uni and 1 week with my mum.

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

I take my coaching experience in to the coaching that I do back home and it’s made me really consider teaching as a career option.

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

The hours are long and sleep becomes a distant memory but the emotional rewards are indescribable. You’ll be able to make a kid’s day with a smile and they’ll forget that they were missing home 5 mins ago. Or be able to teaching them a new skill in your chosen field and they will be so pleased with themselves.

Summer camp counselor
There’s noting like a little paddle on the camp lake

14. What’s the WORST thing?

Sometimes the food can be repetitive and you have to be able to mix it up. Towards the end of the summer, you hit the wall. You’re tired and sometimes grumpy but you need to push through and make it to the end. The sense of achievement when you make it to the final day of camp is totally worth it.

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

It’s taught me that I am more resilient than I thought I was and never underestimate children. They can make your day as much as you can make their day.

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

What you get out of the experience is completely dependent on what you put in to it. If you enjoy working hard then this is the right choice for you. If you don’t then don’t bother because if you’re doing it half assed then you’ll get nothing but lack of sleep out of it.

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