As part of our series on Gap Years, sabbaticals, big trips and everything in between, today’s blog comes from Sarah Richard who spent a summer in a camp in Pennsylvania.
“This is the hardest job you will ever love”. That’s what my camp director told us on the last day of camp after 11 non stop weeks of being a child. I mean being a camp counsellor. Honestly if he’d said that on the first day of camp I would have rolled my eyes (Americans are so cheesy). But, after approximately 73 days of being cried on, confided in and having shaving foam launched at me, I could have thrown my arms in the air and shouted ‘Hallelujah’ (now who’s the cheesy one).
So what is the fuss about working at a summer camp and why do tens of thousands of adults from all around the world sacrifice their summer to work across the US each year?
I asked myself the same question…
Let's be honest, s'mores are a big part of it
10 reasons you should work in a summer camp in the USA
1. Your daily schedule looks a little something like this:
Eat French toast and maple syrup, sing cheesy pop songs you could never admit you liked back home, make friendship bracelets, race kids down water slides, eat candy, zip line across a lake, sing more songs, get a tan at the pool, eat more candy and have a camp fire.
Beats wake up, work, sleep.
2. You meet some of the best friends you’ve ever had
Cliché hey, but it’s true. It doesn’t matter what you do at home, where you come from or what you wear, all that matters is that right now you are all currently watching the kids do impressions of you in absolute hysterical tears.
You spend all day, everyday, with people that were strangers just a few weeks before and laugh, cry and share with them as if you’ve known them your whole life. You wear matching t-shirts, make friendship bracelets and gossip over late night s’mores (and only then do you remember you are actually 24 and not 14) instead of sitting in your trackies watching Bridget Jones.
3. Your office looks a little something like this:
4. You come home with a lot of useless skills that will probably never be used again, but are so awesome
Making sculptures out of bread, French braiding, eating 20 Oreos at once, the ability to make a song out of a sentence, back flipping, impromptu game maker, child donkey.
5. You will sing ‘Call me Maybe’, and anything ‘One Direction’ related 12,435 times a day and LOVE IT
Kinda. You will most probably have a choreographed dance routine you do in unison with 500 other kids as well.
6. Your work uniform will be tie dyed camp t-shirt crocs and a backpack
And you would have honestly never felt so stylish.
7. Your perception of a ‘real job’ no longer includes an office and a big salary
If anyone tells you camp isn’t a ‘real job’ tell them to work 18 hours a day with only 3 days off a month sleeping in a tent with excitable teenagers. When you get home you will no longer crave money and recognition, working will be something you want to enjoy.
8. You get paid for it
OK nothing to shout home about, but you get free food and accommodation too so really you only spend your salary on unnecessary novelties in Wal-Mart and late night treats in Applebee’s. And save up some money for travelling around the US after camp to de-stress!
You might even be able to go meet this guy
9. The kids are pretty awesome too
This is one of the best things about camp. You get hundreds of new admirers within minutes of meeting them. They all want to borrow your clothes, take pictures with you, ask questions about your personal life and take you back to live with them and their parents. You get the chance to watch them learn and grow everyday and genuinely miss the things they come out with once their gone.
Some might even be this happy
10. Camp is the only place in the world you become the ‘best version of yourself’
You jump up and down, wearing the most ridiculous costumes, covered in paint with screaming kids pulling at each of your limbs all while your jaw hurts so much from smiling. You wear no make up, haven’t showered in days and have a sunburnt nose, yet you wouldn’t want to be anywhere else in the world. You are surrounded by people from all around the world, yet have never felt so at home and your ‘worries’ have dissolved into the cotton candy air of camp.
Yes it’s a tough job, you will get approximately 6 hours of sleep a night, clean up sick, be told something heartbreaking, and get a few scars along the way.
But you’ll never have felt so alive, so appreciated, so loved.