Summer camp is something that is very foreign to us Aussies, it is only something you see in the movies. I wanted to experience it for myself so I worked one summer as a swimming instructor at an all girls camp. There are so many summer camps in America and they are all very different but here is an idea of what it was like for me.
I arrived at camp early for pre-camp which I am really glad I did as it gave me time to settle in and get to know all the staff before the children arrived. We spent weeks getting the activities ready for the children and after all the snow from the winter there were lots of repairs that needed to be done. I became quite handy with a hammer and power tools, I did everything from mending the roof to erecting a new building.
The accommodation was very rustic, there are several cabins set in the woods with just the basics. There is no electricity or running water just a fire place to keep you warm, the beds are a sheet of canvas stretched over two pieces of wood. Just add a few eggshell mattress and it makes it very cosy!!
The dinning room is a hype of activity, there is always singing or a skit being performed, there is never a dull moment. To start with I found it a bit over the top that they would break into song at any moment but I soon got into the swing of things!
Each day the children have four activities they attend and there are so many options for them to do, swim, work on the farm, ride horses, craft, sailing, canoeing and the list goes on. I spent most of my time down by the pond teaching swimming or life guarding while the children had free time. In America they call it a pond but it looked more like a lake to me!
The children love the camp and you can really see the girls grow in confidence during the short time they are there. It is a very rewarding experience to know that you may have contributed to their independence and sense of self worth.
Next door is the boys camp and they often had joint functions and dances. The waterfront was also a shared facility.
Staff had certain days and weekends allocated as time off and we would use this opportunity to explore the sites close by. Wonderful friendships were made with people from all over the world and ten years on I am still in touch with some of the friends I made.
If you are thinking about working in a summer camp I would have no hesitation in recommending it. As long as you are not in it for the money (cause lets face it you are not going to make a while lot of cash) and you love kids I think it is is an amazing experience. Also you may have the opportunity to travel with new friends afterwards, I went with a few friends to Mexico and then onto Canada.
So what are you waiting for, if you want to do it enquire today!