So I’ve now been at camp for exactly a month, which is totally mental. Some days it feels like I’ve been here forever, and other times it seems really bizarre that its only been 4 weeks, because SO MUCH has happened. I really don’t even know where to start.
Arriving on that Friday night, and seeing all my friends was incredible… I genuinely nearly cried when we drove through the gates and I saw the Camp Sloane sign. It was just such utter relief and happiness at finally being back after such a long and stressful time away. I jumped straight back into my usual role that night, filming and photographing the Session 1 Closing Campfire skits – it was so good to just be able to slot right in and feel so at home immediately.
We’ve now had 2 more sessions since then, with over 500 kids arriving and leaving, and our next session starts today… I can’t believe there’s only 3 weeks left of the summer, before we move into our Fall season programming. Usually at this point I’d have been here for 2 months already and be kind of ready for the summer to come to a close, but this year, I feel like it’s only just begun!
It’s all really just been business as usual though, in terms of my job at camp anyway. I’ve got a bunch of videos I’m going to be making – things like staff and camper interviews, asking what camp means to them, as well as some activity videos for our Waterski, Riding and Performing Arts programs, which is pretty fun as it means I get to go out on the boat (best thing ever!) and experience some aspects of the programming that I wouldn’t usually be a part of.
My main other role at camp is photographing all the goings on each day, capturing kids in their activities, as well as at all-camp events, and this year I don’t have anyone working for me (the last couple of years I’ve had a Junior Counselor helping me out), so it’s been pretty full on, trying to get out to every activity, making videos, uploading the photos each day AND keeping on top of the social media stuff too (I’ve got really into Instagram Stories this summer… check us out @campsloaneymca). But that’s not to say I’m not loving it. Because I really am. Any time I find myself getting a bit stressed out, I just remember how much I love this place and how awesome my job really is, and how I just don’t ever want to be anywhere else. I’ve also stepped up a little bit and am now part of the Admin team, meaning I just have a few extra responsibilities across camp in general, and I’m already learning so much about things I wasn’t really part of before.
It’s been so great getting to spend time with the kids too – some of them I’ve known since they were tiny Pioneers (our youngest age group), and now they’re in the LEAD program and will be on staff next summer, which is absolutely crazy, but also so amazing to have been able to see them grow up and be a part of their whole camp experience and an influencing factor in their lives. That’s probably one of my favourite things about camp – the impact you can have on the campers, whether they come for just one summer or return year after year. My job as Media Director sometime puts a bit of a wall between myself and the campers, as I have to capture their time at camp, so sometimes I find myself a little outside the action, but I’m really trying this year to get more involved, to meet new kids, hang out with them, and join in where I can.
We’ve also had some epic programming going on at camp with our Square Dances, Performing Arts Shows and Theme Days. Three weeks ago was Carnival Day, where the kids and staff took part in some great activities, like the dance tent, a haunted house, a petting zoo, and of course there was cotton candy too. Then last week was Color War, which was absolutely epic. I was overseeing this theme day, so it was really cool to have some input and help out with some of the ideas for it. We did little mini breaks for it throughout the week, first getting some chosen counselors to come down to Boating late at night and telling them they were the team Generals, giving them the super serious speech about how much of an honour it is and some instructions for the week. Then the kids found out their teams and the returners were all super excited to be back in the same teams they were in last summer.
And finally, the real break. What a night. We told all the kids and counselors that there was a huge storm coming so we were all going to watch a movie in the Performing Arts building – they all totally believed us and some even brought their sleeping bags, thinking we were going to be there all night! We put on the ‘movie’ and then, when the Disney opening theme cut to static, and a video of the Generals came on the screen, everyone went absolutely mental. We then got everyone outside to announce Color War had begun, as the Generals sped around all the kids on bikes and golf carts, with a huge bonfire in the middle. That opening video was probably the best one I’ve ever made for camp, and this night will stay up there as one of my highlight moments from the summer.
Anyway, enough about the job stuff, what else have I been doing?
Mainly just hanging out with my friends. This year, I’m living in a much bigger cabin (it’s basically a house) with two of my favourite people in the world and it’s been so awesome to be able to have my other friends round in the evenings, to just chill out, chat and laugh a lot. What other job allows you to be with your friends 24 hours a day?! I’ve also had some great days off, some just enjoying good food at local restaurants and chilling in the next town over, and others have been spent at a friends’ nearby lake house, which is just an absolute dream. Even though I live in a house and not with the kids at camp, it’s still nice to get off and spend some time outside the bubble (although obviously all we do is talk about camp).
So all in all, it’s been a pretty packed first month at camp, and I can’t really see the next month slowing down, if anything I think it’s probably about to get even more hectic as I attempt to finish off all the photo and video projects for the summer. But I wouldn’t have it any other way.
It’s good to be back.
**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.