Hey ya’ll! I’m Jonny and i’m the CCUSA southern Marketing Rep and overall summer camp enthusiast! Apologies for the Ya’ll. No, i’m not American and it’s probably unacceptable for an English person to say that but hey ho let’s crack on ya’ll!
I go to a summer camp in Wisconsin called Beber Camp. Yes, it’s called Beber Camp and no it’s nothing to do with Justin Bieber! (notice the spelling difference there). Despite having to explain this almost everyday, it is my favourite place on earth and I guess i’ll tell you for why…
My journey to camp began in January 2013 where I was hired at the CCUSA Leeds fair as a tennis coach. I was the tennis coach for the summer of 2013 and 2014 and for the past two years have loved my role as the Athletics Director. I go back for summer number five as the Outdoor Adventure Director where i’ll be pretending to be Bear Grylls for the summer. Watching Born survivor is good preparation for this right?
Back to January 2013……The months sped along and before I knew it I was on a plane heading towards Chicago, the Windy City! Greeted at the airport by some of the Beber staff, it was hugs all round with these then strangers. Almost immediately however, your worries are gone as you chat away to what are to become your new best friends. Here comes the best bit so far! Walking outside of the airport, I was guided to a yellow school bus. Yes, this is a thing and not just something you see in movies. They’re real life! I remember that journey up to camp so well.
It is such a big thing to commit to such an awesome adventure that is summer camp. The biggest step is deciding to do it and having that confidence and sense of adventure. If this is your first year going to camp, enjoy the feeling of nervousness and excitement that comes with any new adventure. This one is pretty special!
The first week of camp will be staff week or orientation. Now this is possibly the most crazy week you will ever encounter. So far at the airport you may have met a handful of people you’re struggling to remember the names of. Increase this by a lot and this is why the name tag was invented. If you thought name tags weren’t enough, it’s worth while doing a week of numerous name games. Mix this in with team bonding games galore, crazy bowling, camp outs, songs and skits and vualla, you have yourself 70 new best friends! My biggest advice for staff week would be to get involved and have fun! It really is such a great week and the more you get involved and put yourself out there, the more you’ll get from it. Don’t worry, it’s not just fun and games…you will learn a bit about how to do your job as well.
Ok, so far you’ve just spent a week there and you’re pretty sure you’ve met the best people you’ve ever met. Then the kids come……Yes, this is slightly annoying as it was awesome with just your new best friends but I guess it is a children's summer camp and I suppose they’ll have to arrive at some point.
This day is actually fantastic and from the first bus full of campers, the place comes alive and you begin your ‘work’ that doesn't at all feel like work. Now all the name games and team bonding games come in handy as you and your co-counsellors bond with your cabin.
The next 8 weeks will fly by I can promise you that. The amount you do at camp, achieve at camp and learn at camp is so, so much! Embrace all these experiences and have fun! From colour war days where you’ll probably lose your voice, to camping trips where you go out birding for 3 days or canoe down the Mississippi. Day trips to water parks, baseball games or the State fair to sunset paddle boarding. Random songs and dances that happen at any moment to teaching a camper to ride a bike for the first time. Pretending you’re Dave Grohl in the talent show to watching your kids perform the muffin man to the whole camp. Camp is full of these incredibly special moments that I have treasured for the past four summers and is why I am currently sat on the plane on my way for summer number 5. The excitement never fades and it won’t be long before you’ll be calling camp your second home.