So the first set of counselors head to America in just 49 days…but in the office it made us think….what goes through your head when you’ve never been to camp before. What happens the moment you drive onto camp for the first time? What happens when you meet your fellow counselors for the first time? What should you do? How should you act? What should you say?
Well….there really is no wrong or right answer. Camp really is a place where you can let your hair down, take a deep breath and truly be yourself. Camp is the perfect place to be silly and let your inner kid out.
You won’t ever forget the first time you see camp for the first time. The first glisten of the lake, the smell of your welcome meal, the hellos and hugs, seeing the bunkbeds and cabins. There is so much to take in yet you still manage to savour every moment and memory. That feeling will never go away.
Of course, every single camp is different, and all camps have their own traditions and songs that you learn very quickly. But one thing all camps have is orientation week. Camps don’t expect you to just know everything – they make sure you are prepared in the best possible way for the next 9 weeks of your life. From home sickness to celebrations to grazed knees – they teach you everything.
Before I got to camp I meet about 15 other girls at Boston airport and this was my first experience of camp. For many of you it will be exactly the same. You will be given a meeting place, like the New York Hostel or a local airport and your camp will come and collect you and take you to camp. Those first few hours are always the most nerve-racking because you want to make such a good impression to all the people you’ve just met – you are spending your whole summer with them after all. You also start thinking ‘I wonder if we are going to be friends’ or ‘maybe me and you will have our days off together’. And then….YOU ARRIVE AT YOUR NEW HOME!
Everything then turns into a blur. All the hellos and saying your name 100 times. The paper work to get your social security card and getting paid. Being taken to a cabin to see where you will sleeping for the next 9 weeks and unpacking your stuff. One thing is for sure – camps don’t waste any time. The first night you arrive at camp you will be taking part in some icebreaker activity and having a themed fancy dress night with the rest of your camp counselors. This will then carry on for the next week! You will have so many opportunities to get to know everyone, go on lots of camp socials to bowling alleys and brother/sister camps. You will also have lots of guest speakers who will come to your camp and do mini presentation about different aspects of camp life. Camps go through a lot of effort to design these schedules for you so make sure you take part in everything.
Before you know it, it will be time for the campers to arrive and this will one of the most surreal experiences of your life. So make sure you take part in everything and don’t be afraid to make a bit of a fool of yourself…because this will happen a lot throughout the summer.
And most importantly, HAVE FUN! Yes, you are here to do a job and make sure the kids stay safe, but every camp has hired every one of you for a reason and they saw something special that you could bring to their camp. So make sure you bring that can-do passionate attitude to camp. Because, the majority of time you will return to camp the next summer and there is nothing better that feeling of finally returning to your summer home!