5 Common Mistakes Made Before Going To Summer Camp
Talking to many of you that are first-time camp goers, there is a common theme: "I want to make a good first impression." This blog post is to iron out those common mistakes made before even stepping foot on camp property and help relieve those concerns so you can enter your adventure calmly and be ready for a summer of fun.
For me, this one is very very common and I feel everyone procrastinates from time to time. Putting off booking flights, or gathering paperwork, but putting this off will only add stress! There are times when it can feel overwhelming but try your best to stay on tips of things. Be organised by having documentation all in one place. Follow through on agency emails - if they are emailing you to get something done. Do it. There is ALWAYS a reason. Finally, give yourself enough time to ensure that you have everything you need. Don’t be the procrastinator that could put your summer adventure in jeopardy because there wasn’t enough time.
Not making the effort before camp:
This one is tricky, but I still think it’s valuable. With the power of technology, there are many ways to connect with people just like you going to the same camp as you for the first time! There are Facebook groups, WhatsApp groups, email chains, and zoom meetups; you name it there’s a lot. Make the effort and join in. I would suggest introducing yourself within these groups, chains. If there’s a zoom meetup; join with your camera on so people can see your face. These first impressions matter and there is that relief that people are going through the same thing as you and that exhale that you can start making connections before getting to camp. On the flip side, don’t get inside your head about not being active 24/7 in these groups. These groups are designed for you to get comfortable, not to plan your whole summer out without meeting anyone face-to-face.
I get it, trying to guesstimate how much you have to pack for the summer is hard! I am a chronic overpacker. Every camp has a packing list and I would say use it to guide you. You can always ask returning staff members too. They are a great resource. I also made my packing list [CLICK HERE] that you can refer to as well. Generally, my rule of thumb is to pack around 2 weeks' worth of clothing; because as much as I hate doing it, laundry does exist. Remember you do not need to buy everything before flying; there are stores in your arrival city/near camp too! I would suggest breaking down your packing list into things I will pack and things I can buy from the dollar store/Walmart when I arrive. This will help you not make the mistake of buying supersized toiletries and other random items, putting them in your luggage and making it heavy.
Not doing your research:
Make sure you know exactly which camp you are going to, where it is geographically and what the camp is all about. There are many camps out there with the same name and many towns in the world with the same name. There’s the infamous story about the international camp counsellor who was placed at camp in Cleveland. They thought they were going to Cleveland, Ohio and started planning their trip, booking flights, the works. When really their camp was in Cleveland, Georgia! Don’t make the same mistake.
Social media is part and parcel of our daily lives. Many camp agencies somewhat scare you into deleting everything risque that is on all your profiles, but this doesn’t need to be the case. I would suggest being professional, at the end of the day, working at summer camp is still a job. Make sure your profile picture isn’t something you would be embarrassed about showing your grandmother. By the end of the summer, you will be adding friends of all ages, so stay sensible and maybe change your privacy to private?
Don’t worry if you make these mistakes, because it’s very easy to bounce back from. All I would say is, there is only one chance to make a good impression.