On the 6th June 2013, I set off for my biggest adventure yet. With my suitcase in the boot of the car I headed off to Heathrow airport and wouldn't be returning home for three whole months.
After working continuously for 9 months, I managed to save up the £600 you need for Camp America. I can genuinely say I wouldn't go with any of the hundreds of other organisations there are out there. There is something really special about Camp America. They welcome you into the family with open arms and will do everything they possibly can to make sure you have the Summer of your life. Once you're in the family it's difficult to escape (not that you'd want to). For the next year they offer a "returners" package and if your first time round wasn't easy, your second time is even easier. 'Brand Manager' positions are also up for grabs once you've finished Camp America to help promote and expand their fantastic company, not only does this make your CV stand out even more but it also offers experience in promoting and marketing.
Not only is Camp America affordable but they make the process really easy for you. If I'm being honest, the application is probably the hardest part. The application form is lengthy and took me a couple of days to fill out but it is worth it in the end. You pay off the fee in reasonable deposits so your bank account doesn't break at once. Your visa is also extended so that you can have one month of travelling with no hassle about having to extend your visa yourself.
You're required to go to London around three times, once for the recruitment fair (which admittedly is an absolute free for all, but I wouldn't have got my place at my camp if I hadn't attended and I met some people that I am still friends with today), another time to attain your visa (Camp America staff are there to look after your stuff and guide you through the process) and a final time to attend the orientation, where you can meet people who are potentially going to be at your camp.
There are three position up for grabs; general counsellor, advanced counsellor and campower. I was an advanced counsellor and I would really recommend this position. Not only do you get to do something you love everyday but it also enhances and furthers your skill within this area. I was teaching horse riding and I came out a much better rider by the end of Summer.
It is becoming harder for young people to become employed and whilst academia is important, employers are looking for people who can prove why they stand out from the crowd. Being at camp teaches you patience, independence, how to work in a team, how to think creatively and quickly, trying out new things isn't that scary and trust me when I say children are the hardest people to impress. If you can impress them, you can impress anyone. Including your future employer.
Whilst I sit here and do my mundane daily routine, I long for the days of teaching in 60 degree heat, planning equine studies lessons and being bombarded by campers. I am not lying when I say I made friends for life during camp. We had our ups and downs but they are like family to me and I am looking forward to being reunited with all of them one day. If you are considering or have the opportunity to do Camp America, DO IT. Grier Summer School was my home for two months and I had an unforgettable experience.