Thursday, 11 August 2016

Camp America

Heyyyy everyone! So for the past 9 weeks, you may have noticed that I've been neglecting my blog (sorrrrrry). This is because i'm actually in the USA working and travelling, yaaaaaaay. I'm having the best time. Admittedly i've been letting the blog slip (ooooooh), because I've been so busy in the USA and i'm still here working. But i've finally got a moment to tell you abit about the first part of my summer. 

Working on a USA summer camp has been such an interesting experience. The main shock for me at camp has been the living conditions. I'm definitely a five star kinda girl and i've never been much of a camper, and living in a cabin on a bunk bed in the forest has been challenging to say the least. But i've learnt that I can survive with such a small amount of clothes and toiletries. My daily essentials soon became redundant and straightening my hair is definitely a luxury. And ive had the experience of living with a group of girls, something I missed out on as I never went away to uni! I share a bunk with sixteen campers and two other staff; my co-counselors. 

The most rewarding part of working at a USA summer camp is the bonds you form with your campers. In fact my campers even call me 'Mom' because I look after them, i'm their counselor and their friend. Oh and finding the balance between being a counselor and a friend is a really hard thing to do. You have to find the happy medium, because your campers need to still respect you and you job role at camp. But seriously they are adorable and they have really been the key element to my camp experience. Ive even been lucky enough to have two sets of campers. My first bunk was 33, and now my bunk is 36. Bunking living is a little better than camping, but its still nothing like what i'm used to. I've embraced it and i've learnt so much. 

On a personal note, Camp America has allowed me to develop my independence. This is the longest time i've been away from home and I feel i've gained a lot of life experience in such a short time. Ok i've missed various people from home, but its not that long until i'm reunited. 

Below is some more info about the specifics of my camp (yaaaay)

Which Camp did you go to?

NJY Camps, TAC, Milford, Pennsylvania
(New Jersey Youth Camps) Teenage Camp.
NJY Camps is a group of camps, mine was one of many located on one site in Milford. NJY is also the largest employer of staff from camp america.

What is Camp like?
Its a whole new experience. You're constantly with children, for me it was teenagers. Its stressful, and yet rewarding. Its exhausting but its a laugh. Camp is about having fun, with your friends, whilst doing a job and mainly ensuring every child has the best summer of their life. The main thing I struggled with at camp was not getting enough sleep. You learn to sleep anywhere which is hilarious. Any given opportunity I was asleep (shhhh)! Camp is demanding, but if you can keep the pace and really get your head into the way it works it is so much fun. 

Which agency did you use?
Camp America 
For me Camp America offered the most supportive way of working on an America Summer Camp which is something I needed. They guide you through the whole process and this was perfect for me. Camp America are not the cheapest agency to work with, however their flights are included and their airline is Virgin!! I would recommended applying through camp america if this is your first summer. 
I applied through Camp America in december 2015, I went to a recruitment fair in january 2016 and got hired on the spot.
I would recommend doing this as you get to meet staff from your camp. 

What type of camp did you go to?
A Jewish sleep-away camp for Teenagers. 
(no i'm not Jewish, and you don't have to be Jewish to go)
The Jewish culture has been such a lovely part of my summer experience, I have loved learning songs and Shabbat services.

Why did you want to work on an American Summer Camp?
I really love working with children and the added benefits of travelling the USA was just too tempting!
Also if you've ever watched parent trap, that's what I wanted to experience, haha!
Another reason I chose to do camp america is to gain international work experience, it looks great on your CV.
Being at camp offers a once in a lifetime experience for me, the opportunity to live life without makeup and just eu natural.
Camp allows you to disconnect from the outside world, with wifi being a luxury. I've enjoyed being in the middle of nowhere.

When did you go to Camp?
19th of June 2016 and I finish 18th of August, just a few days left!!

What are you plans for after Camp?
Travelling the east coast of the US! 18th of August - 12th September, wahooo! 
Miami, Key West, Naples, Orlando, New York.
I'll do various posts as I move around the USA.

What was the best part of Camp?

Because my camp was for teenagers, part of the program includes travelling. 
We took 200 campers to San Fransisco and Montreal in Canada, we must be brave!
It was the most amazing experience to travel with a group of girls and various other campers and to see some amazing places as a team. Plus my camp pays for all the travelling, flights, accommodation, food, all included. 
(please note this is not a normal thing to happen at a camp and with my camp I just got lucky).

There are a few posts going live in the next few days featuring my recent trips to San Francisco and Montreal in Canada. 

Follow me on instagram!! @annaluefook,

Any questions about Camp America, please tweet me @annaluefook or email me



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