Instagram Questions - What Made You Choose Summer Camp?
‘What made you choose to do a summer camp program?' This is a question I get asked a lot via Instagram. So this post is my story of how and why I chose to go to summer camp.
Let's go back; it’s summer 2012 and I have just finished my first year at university. I have moved back home and am constantly applying for a summer job. I didn’t care what it was in, be it: retail, waitressing, cashier, you name it I applied for it. But, I wasn’t getting a look in. Why? Because I had no previous experience.
Being 19 I had never had any paid employment before. I had been a volunteer in a primary school and an assistant teacher in a dance school environment. And yet, these were all unpaid roles. The constant feedback from my interviews was; we need someone with experience and you are not it. I felt like my back was against the wall - like a lot of young people out there.
That summer was weird. My friends were working and not around as much, I hadn’t planned any holidays/vacations for the summer as I believed I would be earning money. I was basically sat twiddling my thumbs.
I have always had a passion for travelling, I have watched my older sisters plan and experience their own trips and I loved the rush of going somewhere new. I don’t know if it was the boredom or the fact I had felt independence whilst at university, but my urge to travel grew that summer.
Fast forward to Christmas break and I was back at home and - you guessed it - I was bored again. I knew then and there I did not want to feel like this next summer. So I googled ‘working abroad.’ I clicked on a few websites, and with some programs, I felt like I didn’t have enough money to do them - being a university student with little savings. After a few clicks, I came across CCUSA, a camp counselor program. Now I was thinking, I have work experience with children and it is abroad so I could travel. This could be a great fit for me. It was like a penny dropped and everything just clicked.
That night I took the plunge. I didn’t tell anyone what I was doing, just started the application and paid the applicant fee. There was no looking back. I felt accomplished, excited almost, I felt like I had taken my independence back. I calmly walked down stairs and told my parents what I had done. They were initially shocked, as for them it was out of the blue. Once I explained my reasoning, they quickly jumped on board.
That one decision changed my whole life. If I didn’t take that plunge, who knows what my life would be like now. With hindsight, I am grateful for my (slightly) reckless behaviour and thankful for the start of my journey.