Words by Anya Lazarus
This post is another extension of my “why not?” philosophy in life – I think it’s a pretty good way to live.
Before IRL commitments happen, like career and family, why not go abroad? Why not spend one of your last real summers having the time of your life at a summer camp in America?
Forget Parent Trap, Beaver Falls, and Wet Hot American Summer. Think more like actually making an impact on a whole new community; think of having a whole new international family in a matter of days; think more like being a role model for the future generation who look up to you like rock stars.
The friendships you create are truly like no other. In a matter of weeks, you form a bond with people as if you’ve been best friends for years. You work together, you learn together, you play together, and you cry together. You go through a lifetime of emotions in just 2 months but these are the moments that concrete the best kinds of friendships. You know you’ve had a great summer together, and even though you suck at keeping in touch throughout the year – when general life just gets in the way – as soon as you see them again, its as if no time has passed at all.
Camp is for the kids (mostly)
In TV shows you watch summer camps where the campers are virtually nonexistent and/or running around unsupervised. Trust me, the kids are there! They’re the reason summer camps exist! Campers are one of the greatest joys of working at camp. Being a camp counselor is so much more than being a football coach or art instructor; you are there to be a positive role model who can really make an impact on the kids’ lives. For 2 months, you are responsible for other peoples children, and right away they feel like your own.
Most camps are based in rural America. This means nature; this means sky-appreciation moments; this means crap wifi signal which cultivates the opportunity to make real-life connections. My camp was set in the Berkshire Mountains of Massachusetts (it has taken me 3 years to finally learn how to spell it), where we were surrounded by untouched greenery. The perfect spot for hiking, outdoor activities or just cloud busting (that’s camp-slang for cloud gazing!)
It makes you want to look up and really appreciate the environment that you are in. Just sitting on top of a hill and looking over the whole camp while someone played acoustic guitar, and truly being in awe of the natural beauty surrounding us is still one of my fondest memories
There is no other place where it is SOCIALLY ACCEPTABLE to bang tables and scream songs during a meal. This is all part of the camp spirit. Songs, chants, colour war fight songs and bunk cheers. You’ll end up having these songs stuck in your head for the next 3 months and every meal you have thereafter will seem so lacking in comparison.
Of course, it’s not all fun and games, it is a job after all. There will be times when you have to work together with your co-counselors to overcome issues with some campers or figure out by yourself how to entertain a group of 12-year-olds for an hour… but guess what? These are the skills that employers are looking for! Before working at camp I had no real work experience – after my first summer, I had so many things to talk about when employers asked me questions in interviews. There were questions about situations where I had to solve problems, think independently, overcome difficult situations with co-workers. They thought they were going to catch me off guard, but nope!
There are so many agencies to go through that all relatively do the same job – get you placed at a summer camp in America – however, some are better (and a little more expensive) than others. It is worth doing your research but personally, I recommend Camp America. They have been doing this the longest and in my opinion, they are the best. They are constantly there to support you every step of the way. Be it flights or visas, managing your travel between the airport and camp or making sure you get acquainted with other counselors. They do it all!
There’s no rush as the deadline to apply is usually around March/April time but the sooner the better before all camps places fill up!
So, apply today – there’s really nothing to lose!
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Find out more about Camp America here.