How is it possibly September already? I thought July went quickly but jeez… this summer has just blown right by and I feel like I barely even noticed. But what an incredible summer it’s been.
In my last post for CCUSA, I took you up to the end of July, where we’d just had our epic Color War theme day… so much has happened since then. There were still 3 weeks left of the summer and we had a lot planned for our campers and staff. In the final 2 week session there was another fantastic Square Dance (no, I still don’t know the dance to the Hoedown Throwdown), an awesome last Performing Arts Showcase where the kids and staff showed off their skills, and we had Olympics Day.
Just like Color War, Olympics involved different teams competing in games and activities throughout the day – it was my job to go around taking photos and videos, capturing the whole thing on Instagram stories too… not a bad day at ‘work’, haha!
At the end of week 7 our 2017 staff sweaters arrived, which is always super exciting, and I love when everyone then wears theirs to the Closing Campfire, it looks really cool with everyone in the same colour, and it’s very funny reading the quotes that people get on the back.
All of a sudden it was the last week of camp and I still had so much to do! I spent quite a manic 5 days getting all the last photos and footage I needed for my planned videos and marketing projects that I’ll be completing over the next few weeks. Most of all though I just tried to soak it all in – all the kids, the sunshine (even though it’s actually been weirdly cold this summer), spending every day with friends who I probably won’t now see for months… just enjoying it all as much as I could. I had a fantastic day off at a friend’s house nearby too – it’s always so nice to just get off camp and be a ‘real’ person for a little while, eating great food, drinking iced coffee and watching TV. That’s all I need for a good time to be honest.
In that last week I also ran a training for our Fall staff – the 15 or so people who stay for the extra 3 weeks after summer camp ends, doing jobs, working with groups, running programs and then closing camp down for the winter. It was fun to start bonding with this crew, seeing how everyone works together and begin setting some expectations for the type of stuff we do in the Fall.
Towards the end of the week we had an epic all-camp theme evening called ‘Goldrush’, where the teams had to run around playing games and collecting ‘gold’ which they then brought to the ‘bank’ to exchange it for ‘Ramoneys’ to spend in the Saloon. I was a banker, which was super fun, especially when the bandits robbed the bank and I had to go into the Saloon all tied up, and get the kids to help us capture the bandits. I love events and games like this, where everyone gets super pumped up and invested… it’s just what camp is all about.
And then just like that, the summer was over. We had our Closing Campfire and said our goodbyes to the campers, then it was all hands on deck to get camp looking in tip top shape, doing some heavy lifting and taking down tents, organising and cleaning in different areas. But then everyone got all dressed up for our staff banquet, where we ate great food, watched some funny videos and photos and there were even some speeches and awards. In some ways, this is one of my favourite evenings at camp, because it’s when people really start to reminisce about the summer, and the talk turns to who will be returning next year – I think our staff this year was amazing, and I hope a lot of them come back for many summers to come.
And now we’re into Fall. It’s been week and a half of working with groups, doing team building challenges and initiatives with High School Seniors and College Freshmen, running high ropes and other activities for them and doing random jobs around camp. I LOVE Fall camp. I love working with the groups and getting to know them all, pushing them to their limits and seeing their sense of achievement when they do something they didn’t think they could. I love job days where you just get given a list and you have to work through it, organising people and getting stuff done.
Again, I’ve also had some great days off too, again just hanging with friends and eating good food -just the other day I went on a little hike to a waterfall and then we decided to climb up to the top of the falls which was so much fun, if a little (a lot) terrifying when we looked down! We’ve also had the chance to take the boat out a couple of times – one of my absolute best things to do at camp – I’m learning to Wakesurf (if you don’t know what that is, check out a video here), which I think is my new favourite sport, and I also just love teaching other people to waterski and wakeboard… it’s so satisfying when they stand up for the first time! In fact, I think we’re taking the boat out again tonight.
We’re now in the throws of getting camp ready for our Family Camp Labor Day Weekend… I’ll fill you all in on how it goes in the next post, along with my travel plans for the next month or so, if I ever make up my mind about what I want to do and where I want to go!
NOTE: If you haven’t read my recent post about the executive order that is currently under consideration by the Trump Administration to stop the J1 visa program, please go and have a read, find out more and do what you can to put a stop to the madness!
**I returned 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.