I first found myself 'googling' the phrase 'jobs at American summer camps' shortly after talking to my boyfriend about our plans for the summer. Since he had secured himself a job working all summer long, I finally plucked up the courage to look into something I always had at the back of my mind...going to work at an American summer camp.
I would firstly like to draw your attention to the reasons below that demonstrate the reasons why I initially went to camp compared to those that I gained throughout the experience.
Reasons why I went...
1. To finally explore outside of England
2. The experience
3. Looks great on your CV for teaching
4. To educate the children on my life experiences e.g. not everyone in the world can do the things that some children at camp may take for granted
5. This would be my only opportunity to go, due to time constraints in the future
Further reasons I discovered after camp...
6. You make lifelong friends
7. You make a difference
8. Try things you never thought you would
9. Increases and develops your personal, emotional, physical and social skills
10. You have the ability to be several roles at once eg. you are a mum, sister, friend, nurse, teacher, doctor etc.
Things to consider...
Time When at university you have a lot of time given to the summer holidays than you have previously been given in secondary school so it gives you the perfect opportunity to take up something adventurous such as going abroad to work. You need to look into the future and start to think ahead as some years may be better to go than others. For example, check holiday plans, graduation times, prior commitments, make sure you are free and ready to go! You need a minimum of 8 weeks in order to work at camp in America.
Cost The cost I found was an initial turn off for me as on a student income I believed that it was impossible for me to go, however I found that I broke even. The cost for me to get out there including application costs, travel around America, flights, days out...accidental shopping trips in NYC, I found myself breaking even. This is something to consider, if you are on a money making mission this summer than you are looking at the wrong job.
Travel After camp there is plenty of opportunities to travel around America wherever your heart may take you. Although I did not choose to pursue this opportunity those who did thoroughly enjoyed themselves and only enhanced their experience further.
Application When applying for a position at summer camp, you need to remember that positions are very competitive. You need to make yourself stand out, what can you bring to the camp? You also do not necessarily need experience with children or a particular skill, just show your enthusiasm for making a difference to children's lives.
Finally... Now that I have been to camp I can safely say it was one of the most challenging experiences of my entire life, but also extremely rewarding in terms of what I can take away from working at camp. Camp stays with you, whether you wake up mouthing the words to your teams chant or you use an experience of camp to help you through life, I find myself constantly referring back to it.