So after a 3+ month blogging hiatus, I’m back!
As you may have noticed from my instagram or read in my last post, I spent the last three months working in America at a summer camp! And I am finally home and ready to share my thoughts on it… (I’ll do another post on the logistical side of working at a camp as well, this is just my rundown of what the experience was like for me)
-disclaimer: everyone has a different experience working at a summer camp. All camps are different, all people are different etc etc.
I can honestly say that this was the best summer of my life. My camp personally lived up to all of my daydreams about working at a camp; it was the living embodiment of The Parent Trap, Camp Rock and every promotional video by every camp agency. My colleagues were some of the coolest people I have ever been lucky enough to meet (and get to spend 10 weeks with), the location of the camp was absolutely beautiful and this nature gal loved spending her summer living outside. Camp honestly is one of the happiest places on earth; everyday is a party with ~100 of your closest friends, with amazing weather and the cheesiest music playing (that you know all the dances to). I have made definite friends for life and now have a family who live all across the world. Camp was also somewhere I felt I could be 100% authentically ‘me’, and in doing so it made me a better version of myself. I have come home softer, kinder, braver and more open to new experiences.
For me, the highlight of my summer though was the children I had the privilege to work with. I worked at a special needs camp which was admittedly not my first choice (or my second, or third…) but it definitely felt like some sort of serendipity. The children were the reason for 90% of my smiles and laughs and almost all of the crazy stories I now have. They made each day at camp pure magic and it was the greatest honor to be a part of their summer.
Some moments I will never forget:
- Seeing a dad’s face light up when telling him his daughter could now ride a bike (and the whole experience of teaching the daughter to ride a bike).
- The victory high fives after a kid complete their swim test after being too scared to get into the lake.
- Singing along to a song in the bunk and a camper turns around and goes ‘wow you were right, you really can’t sing.’
- Impromptu Moana singalongs with my girls and all the counsellors harmonising and doing every part (whilst on a nature walk in the middle of the woods).
- Being screamed at in the middle of a lake by two campers for accidentally putting them in their canoe backwards: sounds like a bad memory, honestly one of the funniest experiences I’ve ever had.
- The moment one of my non-verbal campers spoke to me for the first time.
- Hearing how much camp meant to some of our campers.
- Every moment just hanging out with our kids. It was honestly a privilege just spending time with them as they are some of the coolest, funniest and most interesting people I have ever met.
However, camp is a job and at times it was a really bloody hard one. We worked 12+ hour days, 6 days a week. Sometimes it would rain for 3 days straight and you would be cold and all your clothes would be soaked through. It was hard being away from home for that amount of time, especially when limited signal and a lack of free time and wifi made staying in touch hard. The kids could be hard work and sometimes it was a struggle to be positive and upbeat 24/7. As beautiful as the Poconos are, they are also home to a lot of snakes, really big ass spiders and a whole lot of other crazy wildlife that we had to coexist with. As they say, camp is the hardest job you will ever love.
I have no idea what the future has in store for me and whether Camp 2020 will be a possibility, but if it is then I cannot wait to do it all again next year. If not, then I know I will always remember this summer as ‘the best summer ever’.
If the opportunity comes up for you to spend a summer working at a camp then I would recommend you accept it without a second thought, it honestly is a life changing experience!