I’m going to be posting about my summer camp experience this year to let you know about working in the USA on a J1 Cultural Exchange VISA. I worked at camp in the summers of 2014 and 2015 and this brought my total time in the USA (including holidays/vacations) to over a year! It’s amazing to think that I’m only 25 years old at the moment and I’ve spent that much time in the USA, covering 12 states throughout my travels.
I travelled from London Heathrow to Minnesota for my summer at camp. After a long flight it was great to see the staff from camp and begin the final leg of the journey! I caught the shot above on a journey from the airport one morning, the sunrise was too good to miss!
After arriving at camp I had a month with other staff to set everything up and get ready for the campers to arrive. As the camp was so far north, everything freezes during winter so we have to start from scratch each year. The docks need to be put in, ropes courses assembled, equipment distributed to activity areas and much more.
When I worked at summer camp I was the ropes director. I was in charge of the high ropes course, zip line, power pole / leap of faith, climbing wall and bouldering wall. I had a team of staff who I worked with on a daily basis to run the activities.
The climbing wall shed held the equipment needed for the activity and I created posters for climbing wall as well as commands we used and the wall rules for campers to see. We laminated them and popped them up on the shed for the season before the campers arrived.
The climbing wall consisted of a double-sided structure with an incline on one side and a vertical climb with overhangs on the other. The wall was 65ft in height and it consisted of a range of different coloured routes the campers could follow.
Getting the cabins ready was another task during our first month at camp. These are where campers and staff would sleep during their stay and we did a deep clean and moved the furniture and mattresses into place as well as bedding and finishing touches.
Something that we did for each arrival would be the posters inside the cabin. It was a fun way to introduce the campers to the cabin as they may not have been before or stayed in that particular cabin. Anything we could do to make the place more homely and comforting. The poster above was something I created (and was very proud of) in the Mohawk cabin.
The campers have a summer packed full of amazing events alongside their chosen activities. There is a huge range that they can complete during their stay and the campers love to see the schedule for their stay so we make this as clear as we can for them. The poster was something they visited every day to take a look at and to see what was coming up in the following days and weeks.
Once the staff had all been trained in relevant areas, the activities and cabins had all been set up we were ready to welcome the campers. There were so many amazing staff at the summer camp and we couldn’t wait to get to know the campers and make their experience as memorable as possible.
Arrival and departure days were always busy. This is a photo of us collecting campers from the airport. We had many flights to track and lots of luggage to collect as well and the staff would help the campers settle in and make new friends whilst doing so.
One of my favourite things to do in arts and crafts was tie-dye. I attempted many t-shirt designs throughout my two summers working at camp but many weren’t as good as expected. I finally created the best t-shirt I had ever done in my second summer at camp and this is how it turned out. You can see all of the campers’ t-shirts hanging up on the line above. I actually stayed behind to run my activities when my cabin went on a trip and I hung everybody’s t-shirts on the line so they could dry and the campers would see them as soon as they got back.
If you couldn’t tell, I was very happy with my creation above. I managed to get all of the colours in order and they didn’t run too much and all blend into a brown colour (which has happened before).
One thing that I did miss during my time in the USA was decent British chocolate, HP Sauce and PG Tips. Care packages are a welcomed arrival at camp and I was so happy to get these from my family throughout the summer. I also got sent a local newspaper when I was away.
Our camp was pretty far north and fairly close to the border of Canada. I was absolutely amazed one evening to return from an evening off-duty to see The Northern Lights. It was super tricky to catch on camera. I believe this shot was taken from the camp’s social media pages. It was so amazing that when I got back to my cabin I had to wake up the campers so they could see as I wasn’t sure if we’d get the chance to see it again (or for a very long time at least!)
It was a beautiful location to work and spend the summer and it is definitely my home away from home. I love spending time by the water and watching the sun rise and set over the lake.To find out more about the opportunity of working in America click to visit USA Summer Camp today. The team are super friendly and really helpful with the whole application process, placement, VISA and whilst working in the USA too.
I’m really pleased to be part of the National Support Team for USA Summer Camp, helping applicants through the process and set for the summer. This is my fourth season working with USA Summer Camp and as of this week I will have completed 500 profile reviews! I cannot believe the amount of amazing applicants I have spoken to so far and I look forward to helping more as the recruitment for summer 2019 continues.If you have any questions about working at summer camp please let me know and I’ll be happy to help. Thanks for reading and have a great day!