First Timer Worries
Updated: May 23, 2021
So, you have accepted a job at a summer camp. Congratulations! You are going to have a fantastic summer. Then unanswered questions run through your mind. Do not worry, because in this post I am going to help answer some of these questions. These are questions that I definitely asked myself before coming to summer camp. Hopefully, I can put your mind at ease.
1. I will starve at camp! This is definitely not the case! There is so much food on offer at camp it is crazy. At Walden (where I go) they have breakfast, lunch, mid-afternoon snack, dinner and evening snack. Plus they offer a staff hangout time after the campers go to bed, with - you guessed it - a snack too!
My experience with mealtimes is that there are multiple options per meal. So if you are not keen on the hot meal; there is a salad bar, a soup option, breads, and even cereal. You can always mix it up. I am the fussiest eater possible and if I can eat well at summer camp, you will have no problem whatsoever.
Also, if you have any dietary requirements, do not sweat. Before you arrive at camp, just let the kitchen know any requirements you have. Traditionally you will complete a health form before arriving on the property, but keep your eyes out for emails from your camp about food. It is your responsibility to speak up and make sure you are accounted for. Once the kitchen knows, they will prepare something for you if the main meal conflicts with your requirements. It is that simple!
2. I won’t know anyone at camp! I’m travelling alone.
This is one worry that I thought about constantly. I was travelling alone for the first time, to a new country, without knowing anyone. Again, I was silly to think that way.
I was placed at my american summer camp via a company called CCUSA. They help connect international staff to summer camps across North America. They helped me as a first time traveller by connecting me to other individuals that were 1.) Placed at the same camp as me and 2.) On the same flight as me! So even before takeoff, I would be travelling with others in the exact same situation as me. It was fantastic! This whole process helped me feel more comfortable and definitely set me up for success.
On the flip side, when I was a first timer for my Canadian summer camp, I was added into a few different Facebook groups. One being a large group of people of the Camp Canada program, past and present. The other, being a new to Walden staff group. This was a whole new experience for me, but again was great. You chat to people in a similar situation as yourself and it is an open forum; ask questions, share information and connect. It is exciting to find out if you have the same job at the camp as someone else, and learning about the people you are going to be spending the summer with. This made me super excited for the summer ahead!
3. Am I working 24/7?
On paper it looks like this, but take a deep breath, it is not like that at all. Yes you are responsible for campers and at times it will just be you, but not all the time and there is always support if you need it. You will get days off [you can read about my experience with those here] so no need to get overwhelmed by that thought. The blanket statement is: when you are in camp, you are working. However, there is alot of grey in that statement.
At camp there are times in the schedule that are actually dedicated for downtime - like a Rest Hour or Siesta. Even the camp directors know camp is a busy place, and you (not even to mention the campers) need moments in the day to recharge your batteries (metaphorically speaking).
As well, there are times when you personally can take some R&R (rest and relaxation). You can have time to enjoy camp’s property and do what you like to do to let off some steam. This looks different from person to person. Whilst I am at camp I enjoy swimming in the lake, working out and relaxing with friends.
4. What happens if I get into an accident at camp?
This is why you have insurance. No, but in all seriously, this is a worry that does not need to be one at all. At camp there is a medical team, be it a doctor on site, healthcare professionals, students getting experience or all of the above. Whoever they are, they are not just there for the campers, they are there for you too.
If you get hurt, sick or in an accident whilst at camp, there are so many protocols in place that the healthcare team on site will know what to do and will help you in every which way that they can. As long as you have insurance, there is no need to worry.
I hope I have helped fizzle those worries away. Your summer will be amazing! You will eat until you are content. You will make so many friends that they will become family. You will get time to decompress and take a breath. And knock on wood you won’t get into any accidents.