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My Camp Fair Experience

December 19, 2019

CCUSA Camp Fairs

 

It can be hard to imagine what a Summer Camp might be like, especially if you are interviewing over skype and doing all of your research online. I mean, sure with the advance of social media and the internet you’re able to pop onto the camp Instagram, Facebook, Youtube and Website to find out the inside scoop - but you never truly know what the atmosphere or people are like until you are there and seeing it in person. 

 

A great quote to describe camp life would be:

“From the outside looking in, you will never be able to understand it. From the inside looking out, you’ll never be able to explain it”

 

CCUSA CAMP FAIRS:
By coming along to the CCUSA Camp fair, you can talk and interview with camp directors, speak to CCUSA staff who can guide you in the right direction and meet other people you could potentially be spending your summer with.

 

Save the Date

CCUSA have a bunch of Camp Fair dates for you to come along to:

 

Leeds

Sat 18th Jan 2020
11am - 3pm

Queens Hotel, City Square

 

Edinburgh

Sun 19th Jan 2020

12pm - 3pm

Radisson Blu Hotel, The Royal Mile

 

London

Sat 25th Jan 2020

11am - 3pm 

Connaught Rooms, London, WC2B 5DA

 

Dublin

Sun 26th Jan 2020

12pm - 3pm

Aviva Stadium, Dublin

 

Personal Camp Fair Experience:

I applied for camp way back in 2017, and I remember feeling nervous and clueless about what I was getting myself into, not just with the camp fair, but with Summer Camp in general… so to help you out, I’ve created a guide below on how to prepare and become a successful candidate at the Camp Fair!

 

Coming along to the camp fair was a nerve wracking and daunting experience, because at first I really didn’t know what to expect. However, as I joined the line for check in, looking around I could see so many other people that looked not only nervous, but clueless as well. All of us were in the same boat, and so it made me feel better knowing I wasn’t alone in my feelings.

 

I checked in with the CCUSA staff, who were super friendly and helpful. They had beaming smiles on their faces as they gave me a rundown of what I would be greeted with as I stepped through the doors, and into the fair. As I walked into the fair, I saw a bunch more of the green CCUSA t-shirts floating about, and I definitely found comfort in knowing that there were friendly faces around to help if I needed it. 

 

All of the camps had their own areas in the room, and beside their area they had a list of skills that they were looking for: e.g. lifeguards, general counsellors, arts and craft director etc. The Camp Directors brought along some of their counsellors from previous years, so as you were walking around the room you could speak to people from the camp, and get a general feel for the atmosphere!
 

After walking around for about 5 minutes, I joined the line to speak to the Camp Director of a camp I had read about online - there were a lot of people waiting in the line, and I knew that I was going to have to sell myself, smile and be generally enthusiastic when speaking to the camp director to stand out from the crowd, and to also be the best version of myself. 

 

I handed over my application form as I sat down and the camp director started to look over it - while she was doing this, another staff member began telling me about the camp, and I was able to get an insight into what I could potentially be getting myself into. 

 

The camp director then started to ask me some general questions about my skills, and why I think I would be a good fit for the camp etc. I answered all the questions as confidently as possible, and then the camp director gave me an opportunity to ask her any questions that were on my mind. After roughly 5 minutes of chatting, the camp director and I knew this wasn’t going to be the camp for me, after all they were looking for lifeguards, and this wasn’t a skill that I had unfortunately. I thanked the camp director for their time, and wished them luck in finding the people they needed, and with a smile on my face walked away. 

 

I took a few minutes to have a look around the camps that were at the fair, and saw one that intrigued me. I joined the line for the camp, and as I was standing there, one of the staff members came over and had a little chat with me about camp life at a Girl Scout Camp which instantly made me excited, as the way they were describing it made it sound amazing. I sat down with the camp director, and instantly I felt more confident, more excited and more passionate about getting myself to camp after hearing stories from one of their counsellors. The first thing the camp director asked me about was my Girl Guide Experiences from my skills section - we got to chatting about my time Girl Guiding, and other skills that were listed on my application. After a while the camp director told me that she would love to hire me to come work at the camp as a general counsellor, but she understood that it was an important decision, so if I wanted to go away and speak to other camps and come back later with my decision that she would understand. However, I was BEAMING with delight and accepted to work at the camp, I didn’t need to walk around and look at other camps - I knew that this was going to be the camp for me. The excitement I felt when I was signing my contract was UNREAL, I genuinely couldn’t believe I had officially been placed at camp, and that my summer adventure was really happening!

 

After I had been placed, I took my contract over to the CCUSA Check Out table, and the staff were all over the moon for me. They proceeded to give me my next steps, and then congratulated me as I was leaving. On my way out the door, I was stopped by another friendly CCUSA staff member, and they asked if I’d like to have my picture taken to document my placement - of course I accepted, I was beaming from ear to ear!

 

So my first tip is - keep an open mind

The first camp you interview with might not be the camp for you, but don’t give up, you will find a place that is right for you!

 

Complete the application:

The application is your ticket to the summer of a lifetime. The first thing I did when preparing for the fair was complete my application and then pay the application fee. 

 

Camp Directors will look at the skills that you have written in your application, so be sure to write about the skills you are passionate about, will be able to hold a conversation about, and can bring along with you to camp.

 

Even if you don’t think something is a skill, it is still worth popping it onto your application, and speaking about it in an interview - you never know, it could always be something you can bring along to camp yourself! 

 

For me, I wrote a little about Ceilidh dancing. Ceilidh dancing was something I had only ever done through PE at school - however, I did know how to teach the basic dances, all I'd have to do is channel my inner PE teacher and shout “HEEL, TOE, HEEL, TOE, FORWARD, 2, 3, 4”. After speaking about this to my camp director, we organised ceilidh dancing at our camp as one of the optional night time activities, and our campers LOVED IT! So, fill out that application and heel, toe, heel, toe your way into that camp fair!

 

Bring a copy of the application:

Camp Directors will want to look at your application as they speak to you, it lets them tailor their questions to your skills and personality. Bring along either a printed copy or download it as a PDF to your mobile phone so they can have a little scroll. 

 

Dress to IMPRESS:

Camp directors are going to hire you based on your personality and the type of impression that you make - so dress accordingly. A summer camp fair is no place for a suit and tie, because at the end of the day, when you’re at camp you’ll be getting down and dirty in the mud. Dress in something that is going to make you feel comfortable, and confident, but remember what you wear can say a lot about you to potential employers. So your Pj’s might not be the best look!!

 

Arrive on time:

I have worked at a good number of camp fairs now, and my best advice would be to come along 25/30 minutes early - in this time, you can go and grab yourself a coffee, look over your application again and begin queuing up for check-in. Arriving that little bit early will help to relax your nerves ever so slightly, and give you that little bit of time you need to get into the zone. 

 

Another reason to get there on time is because camps fairs can be busy events, and sometimes there can be queues - so arriving on time will help ensure you beat the crowd, and can get into the event fairly quickly. However, if there is a queue by the time you get there, don’t be put off! Speak to other people and begin making friends - after all, everyone in the room that day wants to go to camp and have an amazing summer adventure just like you. 

 

Research, research, research!

There are so many different camps that CCUSA bring along to the fair, doing a little bit of research before heading to the camp fair allows you to see which camps you think are best suited to you and what you want to gain from the summer! Not to mention, camp directors secretly LOVE it when you’ve done your research and know a little about their camps.

 

Ask yourself the following questions:

 

  • What type of camp do I want to work at?

    • Traditional, Underprivileged, Speciality, Religious, Girl Scout, Special Needs, Specific Requirements, or Day Camps 

  • What type of role do you want at camp?

    • General Counsellor or Specialist Counsellor

    • General Counsellor - will live with the campers, take them to and from their activities, participate in activities with campers and keep them entertained throughout the day.
      I did this role during my first summer of camp, and honestly it was one of the best experiences of my life! You get to know the campers on such a great level, and you can just have a blast with them all day long, not to mention I got to try so many new activities I hadn’t done before. 

    • Specialist Counsellor - if you have a specific skill that you’re able to teach, and your camp offers it to campers, you could get hired as a specialist counsellor. An example to describe this role is - if you work with horses, and are able to teach basic horse riding skills, you might be hired in the barn at camp. A group of campers might come to you for a few hours (between 2-3) and get their horse riding lessons from you. Once their time is up, another group may rotate in, and come and get horse riding lessons from you and the other barn staff. This role is equally as fun as the general counsellor role, as you do still get to bond with the campers and spend a lot of time with them, but you are also getting the opportunity to hone in on your skill, and something you are passionate about.

  • Where is the camp?

    • CCUSA work with a ton of camps all over America and Canada, so it is nice to be able to look into the State or places that you can visit while working at your camp. 

    • Until I went to camp, I had never been to or really heard of Ohio before, and now its a little slice of me - a piece of my heart will always be found in those woods in Southern Ohio. 

Think clearly:

After doing research, it can be easy to find one camp or job that you have your heart set on. However, when you come along to the camp fair you might find that your preferred camp aren’t hiring for the job that you’re looking for:

 

Lewis (Leeds office):

“I went to the fair with the intention of coaching rugby at camp, but ended up being hired as Outdoor Adventure staff. Now that I’ve done this for the last 3 years, I wouldn’t do anything differently at camp. So my advice is, be open minded about the opportunities that the camp directors have”

 

and so our advice is to think clearly, there are heaps of other camps at the fair, and they will most likely be looking for someone like you to come along, and add to their little camp family. 

 

So allow yourself to speak to other camps and be open to other jobs, because you could end up loving the atmosphere and finding yourself a summer home. 

 

SMILE:

Smiling is contagious, and it's also a way to look enthusiastic and approachable as you go about your business at the camp fair! Most of the camp directors will bring along some of their camp counsellors to assist them, and they’ll come and speak to you about camp if you look keen to learn about what camp life is like. So… paint on your best smile, and be approachable.

 

Leave your parents at home:

The most important tip - a camp fair is basically still a job interview, when you sit down with those camps you’re trying to sell yourself. So do yourself a favour and leave the parents at home, or in the local coffee shop at least - the camp directors want to know that you have what it takes to come out to camp by yourself and be independently, unapologetically yourself while there. 

 

We understand that your parents are just excited, and they want to see and hear all about where you could potentially be spending your summer! CCUSA have a section on their website for parent assurance: https://www.ccusa.co.uk/MORE-INFORMATION/Assurance-for-Parents so send your parents along this link to put their minds at ease, and to occupy them as you sneak out that door to get to the camp fair alone! 

 

Once you get home from your day at the camp fair, then you can show them your camp social media accounts and their fun promo videos to get them just as excited as you are.

 

 

 

We hope this blog post has helped subside your nerves. The camp fair is meant to be fun, so come along and lets get you on your Summer Camp Adventure!


If you're interested in becoming a Camp Counsellor with CCUSA then come along to our camp fairs and speak to camp directors face-to-face. https://www.ccusa.co.uk/MORE-INFORMATION/Camp-Fairs and apply now for the Summer of a Lifetime: https://footprints.ccusa.com/

 

 

 

 

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