Returning to Camp with BUNAC: One Month In

So I’ve been at camp for a whole month now, and I’ve got to say, it’s been a pretty incredible month! I kicked off the summer with a couple of days in NYC with one of my best friends. We chatted, got iced coffee, wandered around, did some shopping and even went to the Natural History Museum, one of my favourite places in the city.

summer camp usa bunac
The journey to camp

Then it was on to camp, and to be honest, it just felt totally surreal. To be back on that train, making my way to my second home once again was a really bizarre feeling. It felt like a split second since I’d left the summer before. My camp director picked me up at the station and when we drove through the camp gates, I got that familiar excited buzz… I was home.

summer camp usa bunac
Nothing like a camp sunset

I had that afternoon to get myself situated, unpack, organise my house and set myself up in to my little camp bubble. And after that it was straight into work mode. There was a lot to do. And it was just a matter of making a list and getting started. I’m a huge fan of the to do list… it seems to just make everything seem more achievable.

In my new role as Program Director this summer, I’m responsible for a lot of the general organisation and planning for camp events, staff training and our Pre- and Post-camp seasons, so my first week or so were mostly filled with making schedules, chasing staff for paperwork and getting read for our first pre-camp group.

summer camp usa bunac
Pure happiness by the lake

But before they arrived, two of my friends came up to camp for the weekend. It was so nice to just hang out, catch up and enjoy camp together, without anyone else on the property. I always try to make the most of camp and everything it has to offer before everything gets too busy.

The following weekend our first group of the season arrived. Manhattan College come every year with their students to complete some final courses – they do tennis, golf, sailing, canoeing and adventure over a 12-day period. It’s the adventure course that we run for them, so this year it was my job! I was a little nervous as I’d never worked with them before, but I really needn’t have been. I had such a great time working with them as we made our way through team building games and our high ropes activities – I taught them all how to belay and gave them pointers on how to facilitate a group of their own in the future. We also had a tornado warning while they were here so we all had to bunker down in the basement of our dining hall to wait it out. Luckily it didn’t quite hit us and we had no damage, but it was pretty crazy for a while!

summer camp usa tornado warning
Crazy rain during Tornado watch!

After the Tornado warning, it went back to business as usual, and our programming continued. I love doing group work like this as it really gives you an insight into everyone’s individual personalities and strengths, and by the end of the 2 weeks, I felt like I knew all the students really well, and was actually pretty sad to see them leave. Hopefully I taught them something they’ll take with them into their future lives.

summer camp usa bunac
I LOVED working with Manhattan College

So that brings us to this last week. And it’s really flown by… it’s been filled with a lot of sitting at my computer, writing up staff training sessions, and following up on emails from staff and the groups we have coming to camp over the next 2 weeks. I’m a perfectionist and so I want everything to be as set and organised as it possibly can in advance – I feel pretty ready for our first group of staff to arrive this evening. We’re going to be spending a day training and then the groups come… these groups are some of my favourites of the season, and I didn’t get to work with them last year as I was completing my teaching degree, so I’m excited to see them again next week!

summer camp usa bunac campfire
First campfire of the summer!

This weekend is my last time off before everything gets hectic and we enter the summer camp madness, so I’m taking advantage of having camp to myself for one last time… I even took a kayak out on the lake yesterday! Heaven.

Summer camp usa kayak on the lake
Out on the lake

 

**I’m returning to camp this summer with BUNAC who have been sending people just like you to camp for many years. Get in touch with them via their websiteFacebookTwitter or Instagram, by phoning them on +44 333 999 7516 or by email at enquiries@bunac.org.uk.**

Disclaimer: BUNAC are waiving my camp fees in return for this blog series, but please rest assured that all opinions are honest and my own.

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