Home Work & Volunteering

Camp America

Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
Wasn't sure if this was better placed here on in travel...

I've been thinking about maybe doing Camp America. I've got really mixed views on it, whilst it sounds like an incredible experience, the thought of being away from familiar surroundings with no support system scares me a bit. Realistically, I don't think I could do it this summer, I'd want to ensure that I'm stable for a long period of time before jumping into a decision. I've looked at the website and have just been like "wow, I want to do this", everything about the job description sounds perfect, but the fear of something going wrong is so strong. I don't have any ties in England as such (besides uni, but they wouldn't clash), so being in America for weeks doesn't bother me, it's more the not knowing anyone and being in a vulnerable position if something did happen.

I think a lot of it is down to whether I have confidence in myself to do this and whether I believe in myself. But I'm almost 22, I have ambitions this really does sound like a incredible experience and something I'd learn so much from. I'd like a career working with children, however most of my experience so far is mainly working with SEN or disabled children, which has been great, but I think I need to widen my horizons.

Has anyone worked for Camp America? Did you enjoy it and what advice would you give, both practical and personal?

Thanks :)

Comments

  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I did camp America, it was one of the hardest but most amazing things iv ever done. when I look back on it now I just think wow. you get so many experiences that you just wouldn't get at home. it's definitely tough. in a lot of the camps you live with the kids you look after so you're basically with them 24/7 with not a lot of time off, although on my camp we had a cabin for the counsellors and the kids slept in their own around you. I made some amazing friends there, there will most likely be lots of other English counsellors working there so you'll all be in the same boat. I did get a tiny bit homesick but it soon passes.

    one thing i would reccommend if you decide to do it is go to one of the recruitment fairs that camp America holds. there are all different types of camps with a stall each there and you can wander around and see them for yourself, and get a job on the spot. I chose to go to a girl guide camp because it just seemed so lovely, the people there were dead welcoming and also weren't too focused on sports which a lot of camps are, and I'm not ha.

    if you have any other questions please ask, I feel like I'm going on a bit here, but yes I'd definitely recommend it :)
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Thank you :)

    Things like health care, is that covered by Camp America? I don't really mind what sort of camp I'd work at, but the recruitment fairs sound like a good idea. I was thinking an all round kind of thing...

    Homesickness isn't relevant for me, but like I said in my original post I am really worried about having no support system in the event of something going wrong. Camp America isn't something I'd be able to do it my mental and physical health wasn't stable, but I can't see into the future and predict what will happen and that does concern me quite a bit.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    you pay a fee to camp America for medical insurance that covers you while you're there but I'm pretty sure if you have a pre existing condition you have to get some extra. it was a good few years ago I did it, I only remember having to go to the doctors for an infected mosquito bite and then buying cream for it, that's about it. you have to foll in a doctors form too before you go too that the doctor has to sign. I'm not sure how detailed it is I know they ask when you've had your vaccinations etc.

    I'm not sure about a support network...basically you are there on your own! my friends I made at camp were a good help, if we were ever feeling a bit rubbish we all cheered each other up. your supervisors at camp will more than likely be lovely too. I know camp America has somebody you can contact 24 hours a day in case of emergency.

    I think camp is definitely something you have to be in a strong state of mind for. can you deal with (possibly) living in a tent for two months? no electricity, no proper toilets, being eaten to death by mosquitos and whatever other insects there are hanging around, not a lot of privacy, sharing with up to 10 people, long working hours, disrupted sleep if one of your kids decide they are homesick in the night and you have to sort it? I'm making it sound horrible here but that's what it can be like! but it's also amazing and I'd do it again in a heartbeat :)
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I don't know why there is a grumpy face at the top of my post I didn't do it :grump:
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    can you deal with (possibly) living in a tent for two months? no electricity, no proper toilets, being eaten to death by mosquitos and whatever other insects there are hanging around, not a lot of privacy, sharing with up to 10 people, long working hours, disrupted sleep if one of your kids decide they are homesick in the night and you have to sort it? I'm making it sound horrible here but that's what it can be like! but it's also amazing and I'd do it again in a heartbeat :)

    no electricity or proper toilets sounds pretty grim, but everyone is in the same position and it's something I could get used to. As for children being there 24/7, I'm going to be doing shift work in a children's home over Christmas and will be living, eating and sleeping with the children when I'm there. I guess that will give me an idea of how manageable I'd find it.

    Stupid question, but when you're there are you working constantly, or do you get time off?
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    you do get time off. It worked something like you get a couple of hours a day, so maybe you'll get one or two hours in a day then once a week you'll get a block of 5 or 6 hours. no full days. although once while I was there we got a full three day weekend off, so we drove to Canada :D that's how it worked at mine anyway, other camps could be different :)
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Have you considered companies that do something similar at home? To try that first, then make the leap? (Although Camp America sounds amazing, I always wanted to do it!)
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I've thought about Super Camps and PGL if I wanted to go for the full 24/7 working experience. Working in a children's home (although very different to Camp America/PGL) is going to give me an idea of how I'll find it. Depending on that, I could apply for super camps/PGL this summer.

    I really want to challenge myself, but it's a case of pushing myself and keeping the balance right without cracking. The thought of Camp America excites me so much though. Argh.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I think they have very strict rules however, my friend did it and got kicked off and sent back to England because she was caught drinking alcohol.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Ballerina wrote: »
    I think they have very strict rules however, my friend did it and got kicked off and sent back to England because she was caught drinking alcohol.

    just as well I'm cutting back on alcohol consumption ;)

    I've looked at PGL...I need to do more research into it and speak to relevant health care professionals, but it could be a possibility
  • **helen****helen** Mod malarkist Deactivated Posts: 9,235 Listening Ear
    Ballerina wrote: »
    I think they have very strict rules however, my friend did it and got kicked off and sent back to England because she was caught drinking alcohol.

    That would be very different to my experience - I came home with photos of the camp director drinking upside down from a big keg of beer! I think its fair to say rules vary dramatically from camp to camp depending on what kind of organisation they are and what US State they are in - there's no consistency on that front at all.

    Sent from my HTC Desire HD A9191 using Tapatalk 2
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    ella! wrote: »
    I've looked at PGL...I need to do more research into it and speak to relevant health care professionals, but it could be a possibility

    I've been to PGL past...5 years? now as a guest, and from what the staff have said to us (whether they're fully honest or not I don't know) is that it is good fun, although the money and hours aren't great. You do get free food which isn't all that bad and cheap accomodation though, which is always good I guess. I'm thinking about it for a gap year so definately gonna steal your experiences if you do end up there ;)

    Nina x
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    **helen** wrote: »
    That would be very different to my experience - I came home with photos of the camp director drinking upside down from a big keg of beer!

    :lol: don't think much of their choice of alcohol but that's funny.

    Nina- yeah I've heard the money for PGL and Super Camps isn't great, but equally from research Camp America isn't brilliant either, considering how much you have to pay to do it in the first place. Comes down to earning more than just money and putting experiences above finances. Being a grown up is boring sometimes.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    ninaballet wrote: »
    I've been to PGL past...5 years? now as a guest, and from what the staff have said to us (whether they're fully honest or not I don't know) is that it is good fun, although the money and hours aren't great. You do get free food which isn't all that bad and cheap accomodation though, which is always good I guess. I'm thinking about it for a gap year so definately gonna steal your experiences if you do end up there ;)
    Yeah I did PGL from the ages of about 9-15 and really enjoyed it; the staff just seemed to have fun.
  • **helen****helen** Mod malarkist Deactivated Posts: 9,235 Listening Ear
    I also worked at YMCA Day Camps which was amazing, but not sure how widely run it is regionally these days - think it's in Kent and Essex.

    There's also Barracudas and International Quest which was also really good fun - the last summer job I did before entering the 'real world' :crying: :razz:
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Ooo thanks Helen, I'll have a look at them. Maybe I'm just putting off entering the real world too :p

    Three days in of 12 hour shifts and I'm really enjoying it, although yesterday evening I ended up crying with exhaustion then crashing out. I've got two days off being starting a set of nights. The long hours are taking some getting used to, as is only having odd 15 minute breaks dotted through the day, but the positives completely outweigh the negatives :)
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    12 hour shifts take some getting used to - but most people seem to adjust to them reasonably ok.

    Some things that can really help are:

    Aim to have one end of them where you do very very little - either get up and throw some clothes on, or go to bed.
    Try to space your meals/snacks in what would be a normal manner for the 'day' you're working
    Pace yourself, and take advantage of the natural rest opportunities that come up through it to chill slightly, rather than using them to play catch up. So if it's meal time, sit down, or at least chill while people are eating and afterwards, rather than gulping yours down and rushing to get on with something else.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Thanks Scary Monster :) your tip about gulping food down is really valid, I found myself doing that over the Saturday and Sunday in particular. Having one end of my shift where I do very little is something I've done without realising, by the time I finish all I want to do is shower and go to bed.

    Looking forward to my set of night shift, feels good being back at work properly and doing something productive. I've got my ambition and drive back! :D
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I'm a bit confused, so you pay near £800, to spend 2 months, working in shocking conditions? ;s
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    It's about more than just money. You learn so much about yourself in an environment that ordinarily you wouldn't be in, you're helping others. Jobs aren't all about the money, experiences you gain are often worth much more than money.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    ella! wrote: »
    It's about more than just money. You learn so much about yourself in an environment that ordinarily you wouldn't be in, you're helping others. Jobs aren't all about the money, experiences you gain are often worth much more than money.

    Each to their own i suppose! If it were free considering you're donating 2 months of your time to help other people, i'd probably sign up. But i can't see me paying someone for me to work them, and true experiences are worth a lot more than money, just the right ones though.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    It just occurred to me that Over the Wall might appeal. One of my friends worked for them for years and loved it. Emotionally hard though.
  • **helen****helen** Mod malarkist Deactivated Posts: 9,235 Listening Ear
    Just to say, the dates for fairs for CCUSA are available here - there's two one in Leeds and one in London. I have a feeling they pay more when you're out there than CA - but wouldn't swear to it.
  • **helen****helen** Mod malarkist Deactivated Posts: 9,235 Listening Ear
    piccolo wrote: »
    It just occurred to me that Over the Wall might appeal. One of my friends worked for them for years and loved it. Emotionally hard though.

    Would love to back in time and do that one! :)
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    piccolo wrote: »
    It just occurred to me that Over the Wall might appeal. One of my friends worked for them for years and loved it. Emotionally hard though.

    Thanks piccolo :) This is very similar to the organisation I worked with over the summer, it was, as you said, emotionally very hard but so rewarding. As much as I've enjoyed working with SEN or seriously ill children, I want to branch out a bit and gain experience working with children who aren't ill or disabled because I think that's where I want to go with my career.

    Helen, I've had a look at CCUSA and I'm considering to the fair in Leeds. Toss up between that and Camp America.

    My plan in my mind is to do something based in England, but residential (e.g. PGL) this summer then next summer go aboard. That way I will hopefully have more money to be able to fund it and will have a better idea about my capabilities with my health. The AuPair in America scheme run by CA also looks really good, but that would be something to consider after I've graduated from uni.

    All so exciting :D
Sign In or Register to comment.