It has now been two years since I jetted off to the United States to spend an entire summer working as a lifeguard on a Girl Scout Camp. Thanks to Camp America I was able to have the summer of a lifetime and meet many incredible and brilliant people. Although it was two years ago, I still remember exactly how nervous I was boarding that plane wondering if I was making the right decision. Well, I did make the right decision, and so I thought I would share 5 of my fondest memories from my summer spent doing Camp America!
1) The Paint War
One of my favourite memories about working on a summer camp in the United States was how random and bizarre some days would get. The activities for the kids are enjoyable not only for the campers but for the counsellors too.
For two weeks over the summer, the theme was, ‘colour wars’. These two weeks meant that the campers and counsellors were separated into four teams, into their ‘colours’. The rest of the week was spent in competition with each other in many different games and activities.
One activity during ‘Colour Wars’ that stood out for me involved a lot of paint. The aim of the game was for the white sheets of giant paper on the floor to be covered with the colour of your team and the majority colour at the end would win on the challenge. However, to get paint smeared on the canvas, it had to be done with your bare feet alone. The game, although it was hilarious, wasn’t logistically planned well and so… a lot more paint was spilt.
Within 30 seconds of the game starting I was suddenly covered in head to toe with paint. All the paint the arts and crafts had in stock for the entire week was spilt and suddenly we were all up till the early hours of the morning getting the children and ourselves showered. I loved how no one had a care in the world. It’s hard to explain just how fun camp really is and I think only people who have experienced it will know what it is really like.
2) Organised Mass Chaos
Similar to the Paint War, Organised Mass Chaos was an activity which intentionally created a lot of mess. Four counsellors were chosen to become the best ‘Ice Cream’. This meant that the children had to use shaving foam, silly string and whatever else to transform their counsellor into an Ice Cream. Yes, you guessed it. This activity also broke out into a messy fight.
Fortunately for me however, I was crowned the best counsellor Ice Cream and that will forever be one of my life’s greatest achievements!
3) Paddlesport training
During the first week or two at camp (before the campers arrive), everyone is just getting to know everyone. It is training week and so you will be trained in the important stuff such as, safeguarding and emergency drills. However, the best training is when you’re being trained in what you will specialise in as a counsellor. For me and perhaps 8 other counsellors, we were chosen to be trained in teaching Paddlesport activities such as Canoeing and Kayaking.
I was hired by the Girl Scouts of the Chesapeake Bay in Maryland and this meant that I could be stationed at three different camps (depending on where I was needed). The only camp that had a lake (as opposed to a river) was Camp Todd and this is where we were trained in water-sports.
For four days we had the most amazing time laughing at each other tipping over the canoes and watching camp-related films such as Camp Rock in the evening. I think because it was right at the beginning of camp, that time away from all the other counsellors greatly influenced who we would spend more time with and form the closest bonds with whilst at camp.
One memory that particularly stands out for me during this time was seeing my first snake. It appeared out of no where and the first thing I knew of the situation was the Australian jumping straight onto the picnic table. It was completely harmless, it was just my first time seeing a snake in the wild.
4) Camp Sing Songs
At camp, you get taught the most random songs you will ever hear in your life, and I knew that this a part of camp life before I arrived. However, what I didn’t know was just how often everybody would just break out into song at any opportunity. Walking out after dinner is the perfect time to break into a High School Musical duet and when cleaning camp at the end of a long week, it is essential to relearn the Hoedown Throwdown dance from Hannah Montana all over again!
Did you know that randomly bursting out into song and dance is a great way to bond and meet new people? Only at camp is it just everyday behaviour.
5) Goodbye Week
The hardest part about spending a whole summer working at a summer camp in the United States is saying goodbye. At my camp, there were a couple of big goodbye events that were tearjerkers. However, for me the tears started the first day of the last week. It’s hard to put into words what camp did for me. I know it’s a big cliché but camp did change my life for the better. It taught me not to take life so seriously and so when it was coming to an end it was very emotional.
There was a goodbye bonfire in which we sang camp songs and shared our best memories and it was the perfect way to end an amazing summer!
If I was to write about all the amazing memories I have from being at camp, I think I would be writing forever (or, well… 3 months). Two years has gone by since I left for camp and I still remember most of the camp songs and the smell of Taco Tuesday waiting in the dining hall. Have you ever been to camp? If so comment below your favourite memories of camp! If you would like to read more about my time at camp then you can do so here!