Just before Christmas we heard from Mairead about her incredible experience working as a summer camp counselor in America, now it’s over to Glen who spent 2 amazing summers in Minnesota.
1. Where did you go to camp? How many years?
I worked at Camp Lincoln which is Lake Hubert in Minnesota for the summer seasons of 2014 and 2015.
2. Why did you decide to work at summer camp?
I had just left university and had always been interested in going to the U.S. to work at a summer camp. It was the perfect time to sign- up!
3. What agency did you apply to camp through and would you choose them again/how did you find their service?
USA Summer Camp and I found their service absolutely amazing. I don’t think I would have gone to work in the U.S. if it wasn’t for USA Summer Camp. I received a phone call after I registered an interest on their website and this is what prompted me to complete my profile. They provided a very personal and well-organised process to working at a summer camp in the U.S.
4. What is/was your role at camp?
Ropes Director and I was in charge of the high/low ropes courses as well as the climbing wall at Camp Lincoln throughout my two summers there. It was a new leadership role for me as I had done a lot of climbing but never taught it before. It was an amazing experience and I am very glad I had the chance to direct the activities and support my colleagues.
5. Did camp meet your expectations? In what ways?
Yes absolutely! It has become a home away from home and I hope to return again in the future for another summer. I absolutely loved the lakes in Minnesota and they reminded me of home as I grew up in a coastal town. The friends and relationships I made at camp will last a lifetime and I am so thankful of the family who run Camp Lincoln and Camp Lake Hubert for this.
6. What 3 essential items would you never go to camp without?
Flashlight (torch), Elastoplast plasters, cell with Three UK contract sim. Three in particular saved me a lot of money! They have a feature called ‘Feel At Home’ with most of their contracts where you can use your phone with the same usage as if it has never left the U.K. That way I could use unlimited data, call home and text everyone I normally do at no extra cost! One thing to be aware of is that if you call/text U.S. numbers you get charged the international rate… So use Messenger/WhatsApp for your new American friends!
7. What is your best/favourite camp memory?
There are so many amazing memories but I must say I enjoy work crews the most. There is something about arriving at camp before anyone else and having involvement in setting everything up for the season. I loved meeting the new staff who were arriving on a weekly basis and how camp was transformed! It was hard work as everything was packed away during the winter months as the lakes freeze over and there is a lot of snowfall! We even had some snow one year when we were setting up camp in May!
8. What is/was your favourite camp food?
I would have to say International Food Night! This is where all of the kitchen staff would cook savoury and sweet dishes from their home countries and we got to try a range of traditional food! It was definitely the evening where I would eat the most food as well! DELICIOUS!!
9. What is your favourite camp cheer/chant?
This is a tricky question… There are so many. I’ve changed the question slightly to involve songs as well. Mine was a song called ‘Blue Skies’ which had a harmony piece at the end where the group split into two. Such a lovely song to finish an evening campfire session.
10. What is your favourite camp saying/word/expression?
“The days are long but the weeks are short.” — this describes how every day is hard work at camp and you are awake from really early in the morning to midnight and beyond some nights… However the weeks fly by and before you know it the summer is over. Treasure every moment! CFAB is also a great one… Camp friends are best!
11. Where did you travel to after camp (if you travelled)?
I travelled a lot after camp in 2014… I started in Minnesota before making my way to Iowa… Colorado… Florida… New York… Connecticut… Virginia and Washington D.C. I used buses, trains, planes and cars to get about and had the best month of travel ever! In 2015 I travelled for a shorter period of time from Minnesota to Missouri and then Illinois!
12. How has camp influenced you/who you are/what you do?
It has provided me with lifelong friends from all over the world who I will always keep in touch with! It has helped me develop as a person and showed me that I am well suited to a leadership role in the workplace. It has also made me want to travel a lot more… Not that I needed much encouragement!
13. What is the BEST thing about being a summer camp counselor?
The friendships you make and the influence you have on the campers! It is so rewarding to see the children develop socially and in their activities whilst at summer camp.
14. What’s the WORST thing?
The long hours… However looking back it is so worth it!
15. What the most important thing that camp has taught you?
It has taught me to take a break from technology more often… Write letters and connect with people on a more personal level in order to keep friendships going. It really means a lot receiving a hand-written letter in the post opposed to liking a status update on Facebook!
16. Anything else you want to say to people thinking about working at summer camp?
I would definitely recommend USA Summer Camp as they made everything so easy to apply and were there to support me right the way through my application. Make that step, go online and create `your profile! It’ll be the best summer ever!