Ok, so where did I leave off last month? Our spring staff had just arrived at the end of May, and then camp really started to feel like summer was starting. I spent a day training our staff on the high ropes elements and going through some team building games that they’d be running for the next week or so, and then all of a sudden our first Spring groups arrived. We had 2 elementary school groups come to camp for their end of year trips, and they stayed for 3 days, doing challenges, eco art and hikes around camp.
The rest of Spring camp was spent doing a lot of jobs to get camp ready for the summer, and we had a couple of other school groups who came just for a day. Spring is always one of my favourite parts of camp, as it’s a chance to get settled and into the swing of things, without the pressure of camp being filled with hundreds of people.
In my new role as Program Director, I had less to do with the groups directly, and more to do with the planning and running of things, which I actually really enjoyed. I was also working with our Camp Director too get everything ready for staff training. It’s been really interesting being on the other side of things, and seeing how it all works, and I’ve loved being one of the people who gets to make decisions about training and the general running of camp.
I also had the opportunity to take a Boating course to get my Connecticut license, so now I’m a fully approved boat driver – so far I’ve learnt how to drive our speed boat, which is a lot of fun, and I’m gonna get someone to teach me how to drive our pontoon boat this week too, so I’ll be on hand to help out with the boats anytime. It’s pretty cool to be in my 8th summer at camp and still be learning new things and acquiring new skills.
Right as our supervisors and skill position staff arrived for training, I had a BIG birthday. Yup, I turned the big 3-0. I was utterly spoiled by all my friends who were at camp – they surprised me with an office filled with balloons and a big ‘Happy Birthday’ sign. And my friends back in England made me themes AMAZING video, with birthday wishes from all my favourite people around the world. It was a pretty special day and I just feel so grateful to have so many amazing people in my life AND to spend by birthday in my favourite place in the world.
I can only describe the two weeks that followed as absolutely mental. Between scheduled training sessions with our supervisors and then all staff, as well as the multitude of questions I got on a minute by minute basis from our new supervisors, I was spending pretty much every evening in the office until midnight or later, just to try to get through my own to do lists. I didn’t really have a minute to myself for the full two weeks of training, so much so that one morning I found a spider web across my couch – that’s how long I hadn’t sat down on it!
But that’s not to say I didn’t enjoy it. As I said earlier, I’ve really loved this new role so far, and I’ve already learnt so much. There are definitely things I can improve on as the summer continues, but I feel like I’ve got the organisational side of it down. Now it’s just a matter of supporting the staff as best I can and providing the kids with the best programs possible.
And now the summer has really begun. The kids arrived for Session 1 on Sunday, and it finally all feels real and back to normal. We’ve had our first few days of activities, and I’ve loved being able to go around camp, checking in on how things are going, chatting to the kids and just enjoying the noise and atmosphere that comes with being at camp.
I hope everyone else is loving their camp experiences so far, I’ve checked in with our BUNAC first years and they’ve all really thrown themselves into camp life – keep your eyes peeled for a video with our BUNAC participants towards the end of the summer!
**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 website, Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, by phoning them on +44 333 999 7516 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.**
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.