Ahhh little blog, it appears I’ve left my music roots again and return to you with another post for my AmeriCamp series!
Today I bring you the orientation- what is it, what happened, what to expect, my annecdote of the day etc. I bring this to you a lot later than it actually happened (soz) cos u know, life. I’ve being working, the weather has been ace, just been busy u know, gal about town.
So I attended the second Manchester date because the first one was in January when the UK had that snow situation happening. Fully had the weekend booked off work but just could not get up the M6 so a little rescheduling and tweaking had us back on track for April. I got the train up on my jack jones and saw over Twitter that some people were going to meet in Piccadilly beforehand then head over to AmeriCamp’s HQ, which was where the orientation was being held. Originally, I was just gonna head straight there cos if you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you’ll know I lived in Manchester for a while so I’ve got it’s transport down, this gal can get from A through Z with her eyes closed (tried n tested/story for a rainy day). But hey I figured I was going into Piccadilly anyway so I might as well meet up with people and meet a few folk beforehand.
So eventually we had a little group situ going on and made the way to the tram. A few machines were down and cba with the app so our group ended up split anyway with me in the second lot helping everyone use the one working machine. If you find yourself going to this orientation, Exchange Quay is the stop you want and that’s the tram going to Media City and/or Eccles. Easy. Also side note, I have literally never ever had a tram ticket checked ever so chance it if you want but the money does go towards upkeep n stuff but literally never had a ticket checked ever.
We got to the HQ and it was pretty full like there were loooaads of people! On entry, we gave our names and were asked who our visa sponsor was (fun fact, I actually didn’t know that AmeriCamp had two sponsors but in a nutshell, that basically means that they get to work with more camps), we were handed a pocket guide for our visa, an American sim card, a wristband and got to pick out our free t-shirt. Then around the corner, the finding a seat game began! The grassy steps were full as was the balcony bit and there were chairs dotted about but myself and another girl managed to find a spot in the corner. There was a projector set up for all the info about to head our way.
[I took this during the break but can we appreciate my conscious effort of finally attempting photos, cos we all know I suck on that front]
Firstly, we were introduced to those who work for AmeriCamp and then the microphone was passed round for us all to introduce ourselves- where we were from, which camp we were going to and a fun fact, if you so wished. The idea was put forth that if you heard your camp or your home town, you were to scream (woooo) so you can bet your odd socks that everyone had a different one! That was a bit dramatic, there was one or two camps that came up a few times but for the most part, we were all going to different camps. I guess when you think about it, it makes sense cos America is huge and there’s thousands of camps and maybe a couple hundred of us in that room. The problem with being back in Manchester though is you have to say you’re from ‘sort of near Birmingham’ and those who are in the same boat are like where and then you have to say your awful lil deadzone town. Don’t forget where ya came from ey!
ANYWAY. So after introductions, we got onto the orientation. We went through a slideshow that was split into three parts- before camp, during camp and after camp. I’m not going to give you the ins and outs because that’s what the orientation is for. The before camp part was kind of irrelevant to me because I had done pretty much all of that however, I found it a pretty useful mental tick list just confirming what I need at customs and other stuff to take with me. The money/bank/social security stuff sounded pretty overwhelming but tbh, I can’t imagine it being much different from an NI number and setting up a bank account over this side of the pond, plus I’m fairly certain my camp will have a day during our orientation to go over all of this there and then with us internationals. So although I now do have a pretty decent overview of what’s what, I know it’ll be sorted in America so I’m not too worried about that.
I feel like after this first section, this was when we had our break (it’s been a while, I’m sorry I can’t properly remember oops) and during the break there was a little competition of who could get the best photo within the HQ. Obviously if you’ve been here, you’ll know that AmeriCamp’s HQ is FULL of characters and props (I’m so sorry I suck at photos cos I bring you nowt) but there’s Mike and Sully, Yoda, a storm trooper etc, like SO many. So people were taking photos with the day’s hashtag and posting them to Twitter, and the best one won a prize! We were dying for the loo and food so a small sacrifice had to be made for a bit of Mrs Gren (rip year 3 science) u know. Speaking of prizes, after each section, questions were asked based on the information we’d just been given and correct answers won you a bit of merch! It was a pretty fun way of taking onboard alllll this important info in a relatively short space of time.
[No characters but your friendly local guide has this palm tree to show you]
I actually really enjoyed the ‘during camp’ part of the presentation! I loved hearing the stories of what to expect and the experiences the guys over at AmeriCamp had! I’ve wanted to go to camp for so long so whenever anyone talks about it, I’m all ears! Plus I’m super nosey when it comes to stuff like this, so when people start talking I’m like TELL ME MORE!! But also (to contradict myself as per), I haven’t truly thought about what’s going to happen at camp in that respect. Like I’m the sort of person who just goes with the flow/rolls with the punches and I like to approach things with a fresh set of eyes and an open mind so I’m pretty stoked to just sort of get there with no expectations and just go with it, u know!
The after camp section of the presentation told us about competitions, the campus manager position and the New York after party for which you can find more information here. Also there was a bit about TopDeck and the tours that they offer. They also reached out to me (and I assume many others) a couple of months ago to ask me what I planned on doing after camp and they sent me some info on tours they offered that correlated with my interests. Tbh, I don’t really have any plans, I don’t want to make any in case I meet people at camp and change my mind/head off with them. I do know I want to head out west at some point, and my flight leaves out of San Francisco (£130 direct can you believe!!) so as long as I end up there, I’m not that bothered. Also we were informed of other camp options around the world so if summer camp in America is not quite your thing, or you already have plans for summer, check out camp.co.uk for other dates and locations including Canada, Costa Rica, the Philippines, Thailand and South Africa to name a few!
[This little sign was one of my favourite things that I scouted in AmeriCamp’s HQ, I love it]
[Taken by Mel @ AmeriCamp. There’s yer friendly local guide sporting a shaka on the left. Top tip: start your day with a mad loose XL top that’s far too big and long for you but great in the heat and upon it, wear a size M t-shirt for that insulating and effective marshmallow look]
[A goody bag]
I hope you enjoyed this little insight of what to expect at an AmeriCamp orientation! Sorry for the lack of photos, but hey at least I finally remembered to take some! Also, this is likely the last of my pre-camp blog posts so hopefully me documenting the AmeriCamp process has been useful for those of you looking into going to camp! If you are interested in my other posts, here is some shameless self promo: AmeriCamp Recruitment Fair Experience, I even wrote up some tips for the recruitment fair and what to expect on visa day. Feel free to message me with any questions about how I’ve found the process so far and I’ll probably do a round up of my experience come September!
Enjoy the BST and live your best life!