Coffee in hand, we sit down to chat with Marie about her epic summers at Summer Camp USA with BUNAC. Marie’s camp experience was one in a million, but don’t just take our word for it.
Tell us about your camp – where was it and what did you do?
My camp was called Circus of the Kids and my job was a circus specialist. It was a travelling camp, so I went everywhere all over the East Coast and Mid-West, New York, Delaware, North and South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Texas… even some places whose names I didn’t know or couldn’t pronounce.
That sounds absolutely wild. So how did it work?
We’d spend a week in each camp. We’d arrive and have a few days to teach skills and techniques to the campers, and pretty much dedicate all of our days to training and rehearsing. These included anything you can imagine in the circus, like juggling, trapeze and flying trapeze, double-trap, silk, hanging ropes, trampolining and roller-skating. We also did fire-eating, which for obvious reasons was pretty dangerous, so sometimes I’d have to hold a kid’s face which was strange, but funny…At the end of the week the campers would put a show on. We’d set up a stage with lights and costume, and everyone would come and see it. After we were done we’d pack up everything in a truck and go on to the next place!
That sounds intense, but so fun. When did you get time-off?
After a week at a camp, our boss would say ‘well done guys, that was a really great show. Now we’re going to spend five days in Disneyland’ – other times it was New Orleans, New York and Key-West. It was amazing because I went to special needs camps, camps for underprivileged children, Jewish and Christian camps, traditional camps, private camps and day camps.So nearly every camp-type in the whole of the USA…Yep! (Laughs) I got 24 different camp t-shirts because I went to so many places! It’s exhausting because you work for 7 days straight, but then watching the kids in the final show was so rewarding. It was the happiest place to be, which is why I did it for 2 and half years.
How many places did you tick off your bucket list when camp ended?
My first summer at camp I did a road trip around California. It was exactly how you would imagine a Californian road trip to be, and the highlights were cruising around Los Angeles, San Francisco, Death Valley and the Grand Canyon. The second time I went to Washington and a blur of other places. To be honest though, my camp was 12 weeks long and we travelled in-between, so I’ve been ticked a lot of places off my list!
Would you recommend camp?
I’d be mad not to. For most of the time I was in the sunshine in the middle of nowhere – which I loved. I was actually living the American dream. And I made lifelong friends at camp that I’m still in touch with. I’ve been to a few of their weddings and baby showers!
You heard Marie. What are you waiting for? Check out the BUNAC website to book onto the Summer Camp USA programme, or call us on 033 3999 7516. We love a chat.