Are you contemplating working at a summer camp this year? Or maybe you’ve already been to camp and are sitting at home with ‘Camp Blues’. Maybe you’re even considering returning to the same camp this summer? Well my advice to you all would be; run while you can.
Doing ‘Camp America’ was something I decided to do when I was 16 and working part-time at the local leisure centre. I knew I couldn’t participate until I was 18 years of age, but I could at least entertain the idea of it and maybe even save some money within the next two years. (Spoiler: I saved no money)
When my 18th birthday came, I quickly made an account with Camp America and uploaded a cringey yet quirky video to my profile to lure in the Employers. The way it works is that from the thousands of summer camps placed across the vast US of A, many of them use websites such as Camp America to find international employees who will work for cheap *sigh*.
When I was placed at Camp Lakota, a sunny, fun camp in Upstate NY, I had no idea what to imagine, but I definitely couldn’t have expected the experience to be what it was.
That is why peoples, I have made a sexy little list here telling you why you should get your booty on down to summer camp.
#1 – Fwends
Ok cringe. I know you’ve probably seen this on the other articles you’ve stalked in the decision-making process, but for a reason.
Yes you might go to camp and meet other counsellors just like you and then go back to England and never speak to them again. Or like me and thousands of other travellers, you may meet people at camp that are exactly like you. Think about it. These
peasants people had the same thoughts and made the same decisions you did, in order to get them where they are right now – with you at camp. Furthermore, as camp is such an intense place at times, with homesickness etc., a bond is formed strong and fast with co-workers. If you’re not a total monster, these people could even end up being the best friends you’ll ever have.
#2 – Opportunities to travel
Because what else is an overdraft for?
After working in a summer camp for three months, some downtime is well needed and what is better than to blow the paycheck you just received and go travelling (with new friends or alone) across the states listening to Miley Cyrus -Party in the USA?
Before going to camp, I was doubtful I would make the kind of friends that I did, so I had planned to fly home straight after camp finished. My second summer, however, the same friends and I travelled all across the USA. We stopped at NYC, DC, Miami, Denver, Vegas and San Francisco to name a few.
I’ll never forget being kicked off Miami beach at 4:00am by the police after one-too-many cocktails and an a Capella version of ‘Let it go’ in Russian.
P.S. Going to camp also means meeting more people from outside the USA, travelling there to work like you. I speak to my friends in New York, New Zealand, England and Mexico all the time #TheJetsetterLifeChoseMe
#3 – It’s all about the Money
Okay so I won’t lie. The money you earn your first summer at camp is probably enough to buy one item of clothing from urban outfitters. However, almost every person who does the camp America program, is able to earn the money back which they spent on the program (break-even), usually with some extra left as a reward for hard work.
If you were to return to camp a second year, the pay is a LOT better and that’s why the majority of ‘returners’ travel after round two!
#4 – Yo’ Instagram
What is better on this earth than putting a photo on Instagram with a cheeky Valencia filter and having someone comment on it saying it ‘Looks lush’ or even better; they’re ‘Totes Jel’?
So go to camp and go to an American party, go to the waterfalls nearby and go to NYC and make everyone on your social media cry with envy. You know you want to.
#5 – The
As if I’m saying this. Okay so you want to kill them about 80% of the time, but you do spend a lot of time with them throughout the summer and eventually you’ll care about them.
The kids drive you crazy at times and you question what horrendous human beings created these monsters. Pretty soon, however, things such as whether Luke wins the football competition (because you know he’s been practising so much) or if Tyler receives a letter from home (because he’s so homesick) become just as important to you as it does to them.
Every counsellor has that one moment in the summer when they realise they have bonded with their kids and that although you came to America to get drunk and receive dinero, you know it will be hard to say goodbye to your campers.
#6 – The Tan
Lifeguards are always the luckiest in this department, but nevertheless, you will go 50 shades of brown throughout the summer, guaranteed.
Don’t forget the sun-block and more importantly (as my friend Sam found out the hard way..) AFTER SUN.
#7 – The Confidence
Since going on my American adventure alone after just turning 18,I am always able to remember everything I did that summer and regain my confidence in times when I am nervous or self-doubt appears. From getting a plane on my own, to independently building relationships and making the best friends I could have hoped for, the experience helps you grow as a person.
If I ever get butterflies before a speech or exam, I just slap myself and remind myself I’m a strong independent woman and I don’t need no man. Wait that’s not right…
#8 – Swedish Fish and Four Loko
Going to America will have you experience food not available in your own country (Americans like sugar). However, Swedish fish are the best candy in the world and nothing will ever change that. If there is a reason to do Camp America or work at a summer camp, it is simply Swedish fish. They’re delish.
Four Loko is also a must-try. The fruity and terrifyingly strong alcoholic drink was taken off shelves a couple of years ago, but it’s back by popular demand and although it was probably taken down due to the nasty chemicals inside, you need to take one to every party and thank me after.
#9 – Immediate Bonds
‘You’ll only understand camp if you’ve been to camp’ – Every person who has worked at camp and lived to tell the tale.
The truest words you’ll read. No matter how much you tell your best friend or mom about your totally rad experience, you wont be able to help yourself from feeling like they just don’t ‘get it’. Because they don’t. That’s why, two months later when you’re at a university party rocking out to some T.Swift, an instinct-like bond will be formed with someone you’ve just been introduced to when you find out they have also been to camp. The amount of stories and reminiscing that takes place lasts for hours and you both still feel like you haven’t talked about camp enough.
Finding a stranger who understands what you’ve been through as they’ve been through it themselves, is an incredible feeling (and a great way to chat someone up if they’re fit).
#10 – It Opens Your Eyes
There are 100 reasons to go and work at a summer camp, but as I am limited to 10, this is the last on my list. (Lucky you, you don’t have to read much longer).
Therefore, my last reason you should go to camp is because Camp allows you to open your eyes. Everything you know just revolves around your town or city you’ve grown up in. The people who live there and the small amount of responsibilities you have. When you go to camp, you get an incredible understanding of what a whole other culture feels like. You realise how tiny your world has been all these years and you realise how much of the world you want to see.
To conclude, I can’t make you go to camp, but what I can say is that my three summers working at Camp Lakota holds some of the best memories of my life and I would do it all again if I could.
Current Location; Tokyo, Japan