Over the years I’ve been very fortunate to head off on a number of adventures (in fact I’m sitting here typing this from our new home in Abu Dhabi and I’ve been sky diving and bungy jumping more times than most people would ever want to) but nailing one in particular down is surprisingly easy.
Up until the age of 17 I was committed to becoming a vet; right through school I took the sciences in preparation for the many, many years that would be required at uni but a job at the local department store (working in the nursery & toy department) got me thinking that there may have been other options out there for me. I realised I enjoyed working with kids and decided to head off to work in a summer camp in the US instead of completing my final (and optional) year at high school.
I finished up my last few months at school and went full time at work (along with picking up a second job) before jetting off to America in July of 2003.
The process of getting prepared was a bit of a whirlwind – I remember attending an info evening with Mum, then I completed an application (which included to standard interview style questions and a photo collage) before being interviewed in person. Next thing you know, I was cramming everything into a bag and flying off to Los Angeles for a whistle-stop training day and onto New York on an overnight flight.
At 18, I found myself standing alone in NYC, entirely overwhelmed by the previous few days. Little did I know at the time, travelling by myself to the other side of the world would provide the most amazing experience and personal growth.
Over the next 14 weeks, I settled into life at camp and had an absolute ball. I don’t think I’ve ever been so tired or worked so hard, but without doubt, it was all worth it.
We were up early with the campers and after breakfast I went down to the stables to help get the horses ready for the days rides. After a little time to myself, I was back in with the kids for the rest of the day, before generally collapsing into bed later in the evening. With the campers arriving on Sunday and leaving the following Saturday morning, each week was a crazy mix of games, discos, competitions, horseriding, swimming and great fun, whilst weekends included a range of (optional) arranged activities for the counselors, including theme parks, rodeos, movies and ten-pin bowling.
My experience at camp introduced me to people from all walks of life and as a teenager, helped to develop my independence and confidence. Looking back, I almost don’t know how at 18 I had the courage to travel that far by myself (or how my mum must have felt supporting my crazy ideas) but I do know, doing so helped to further ignite my love of travel and started me on my career path.
If you’re interested in working as a camp counselor at a summer camp in the US, I’d recommend getting in touch with CCUSA.
This blog is a part of a travel linkup whereby lots of fabulous bloggers write on the same topic. If you’d like to be involved please leave a comment below, and be sure to check out the other bloggers’ pages too!