If you’ve been following the blog, you’ll know that this year, I’ve chosen to go back to my camp through CCUSA, and that I’m going to be blogging for them every month from now until I leave camp. Some of these blogs are going to be a Q&A series with the awesome people at CCUSA themselves! This is the first part of that series, so it’s over to the lovely Lydia to tell you all about summer camp and what CCUSA can do for you.
1. What is summer camp?
Summer camp is what American children live for. Every summer over 11 million children head off to a summer camp to learn new skills, make lifelong friendships and grow as a person. In the UK this isn’t really part of the culture, but it’s a lovely breath of fresh air when you go to the States and watch these children learning and having fun; without the need of social media and devices. Summer camp is a place where children can step back and focus on having fun and being themselves without the fear of being judged.
2. What does it mean to be a camp counsellor? What is daily life like?
Being a camp counselor for the summer isn’t a job role, but instead a lifestyle. You are around the campers 24/7 so you will certainly get to know them better then most of your friends and family. You are on duty all the time, including in the middle of night when someone feels homesick – but that’s what makes it so fun. Because no day will ever be the same. Usually you will start of the day with a bugle at around 7:30/8 and then head to breakfast. Once everyone is nice and full (get ready for the most delicious food and eating your body weight in pancakes) you will head back to your bunk with your campers for clean-up. And trust me – you’ll need it everyday because campers have the ability of making everything messy in the space of about 1.5 minutes. Once everything is nice and clean the activities will start for the morning before heading to lunch for more delicious food. Next comes rest hour – one of the most valued times of the day where everyone gets to chill out and write some letters home. Activities then carry on throughout the afternoon and the day is usually wrapped up with an evening activity. This was my favourite time of the day – this could be anything from having a campfire with s’mores, watching a film, having a talent show, going out of camp to play mini golf, the possibilities are endless. And finally it will be lights out – the only time of the day the camp will be quiet.
3. Tell me about CCUSA. Who are you and what is your goal?
Camp Counselors USA is a company that helps you find a camp to work at in the summer and ensures that you have the BEST SUMMER EVER! We have been around since 1985 so we certainly know what we are doing when it comes to matching you with the perfect camp. We are also 1 of the 2 official visa sponsors in the UK, which makes your life a whole load easier. Our goal is simple, to make sure every single person that applies through us has the best summer ever and pays as little as possible to have that dream. We are one of the cheapest companies out there and are very proud to say that for the past 2 years we have placed 100% of applicants accepted onto the program.
4. How many people do you send to camp every year?
Every single year the UK office send around 1500 lucky people to camp. With our offices combined around the world, we send 5000 applicants to camp. Now that is an awful lot of people. And every single person that goes to camp is changing children’s lives across America and worldwide. That’s why we love what we do so much – because we get to hear about all the incredible stories our participants have to tell when they come back and share those experiences with them.
5. How many camps do you work with? What types are they?
Across America we work with over 600 camps and highly value each and every one. There are also many different camp types that you are able to choose when filling out your application. The most common camp choice being a co-ed traditional camp. Both boys and girls will attend this camp type and take part in activities from land sports, water sports, arts and crafts and performing arts. We also offer speciality camps, which will focus on a specific area, usually performing arts or sports. Some of the most well known camps in America are speciality camps and have had famous actors and sportsmen attend as a child. Across America there are also quite a few special needs camps, catering for minor to severe disabilities, including both children and adults. Religious camps are the next type we work with, some only hiring people who practice their faith and others hiring people that don’t, allowing them to bring a new aspect and viewpoint to camp. A lot of camps in America are Jewish but only have 1 or 2 aspects of camp that are orientated around faith and will commonly hire people who aren’t Jewish. We also work with Girl Scout Camps who will focus a lot more on leadership and the outdoors. America is a big place and unfortunately a lot of children don’t have the funds to attend camp, so we work with certain camps that are in underprivileged and inner city locations, which enables those children to have the summer camp experience. The last camp type we work with is day camps – these run the same as a normal camp however the children won’t sleep on site.
6. Why should I apply through CCUSA instead of one of the other companies?
For the past 2 years we have placed 100% of accepted applications on the program and want to ensure we carry on achieving this. We are also an official sponsor for the J1 visa, which means you don’t have to then find another company to sponsor your visa to get to the States. We truly believe in giving our applicants the true American Summer Camp experience for as little money as possible which is why we are one of the cheapest companies out there. We will give you full guidance throughout the process, forming a bond with everyone that applies so you always have someone to turn to. Included in the fees you pay you get insurance, flight to America and back (if you choose the flight option), a 24 hour support line while you’re in America, all accommodation and food while at camp, pocket money/wages while at camp, a pre-departure meeting before you go and enough memories to last a lifetime.
**I’m returning to camp this summer with CCUSA who have the lowest returner fees and have placed 100% of applicants in the last 2 years. Get in touch with them via their website, Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, by phoning them on +44 0208 874 6325 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.**
Disclaimer: CCUSA are waiving my camp fees in return for this blog series, but please rest assured that all opinions are honest and my own.