Helllllloooo little blog! Long time, no post! Sorry about that, but this gal here was off living the absolute LIFE across the pond. Camp was, unbelievable. As simple as that. The people you meet, the camp bubble, the KIDS, omg it was amazing and I loved it! I had the summer of a lifetime (and hopefully not the last) and the company who catalysed it for me, the company I have to thank for all the new friends and experiences, is AmeriCamp.
I’ve been documenting my AmeriCamp experience as it has been going along, including: AmeriCamp Recruitment Fair Experience, Summer Camp Recruitment Fair Tips, Visa day! and finally the AmeriCamp Orientation. Somewhere in one of those posts, I said that I would do a write up after camp. So here I am, somewhat recovered from jet lag, with said post. Now I’m going to structure this along the lines of answering why I went with AmeriCamp, what I thought about them, the costs and a quick summary of the camp I went to. Hopefully this will be useful to you if you’re starting this process, and it’s just a nice nose into the play hey. It’s probably gonna be a long one as well so grab yourself a drink and a buckle up!
It won’t escape anyone’s notice that there are tonnes of recruitment agencies for summer camps! The ones I looked at were Camp America, AmeriCamp, CCUSA, Camp Leaders and BUNAC. These are the most popular ones but there’s no doubt a lot more out there.
I was always going to work at a camp but the summers and my schedule until I was 21 were always preoccupied with other things. So in my final year of uni, I started giving camp some serious thought because I didn’t actually have anything lined up for 2018 because it was well over a year in advance and I could deliberately make myself free. ‘After uni, I’ll be 22 and if not now, when?’ became my logic into applying, so I applied last August (2017) after I graduated.
So, originally when 16 year old me realised you could work at camp, I was going to go with Camp America- there was no other option. They were the most popular, the first one that appeared on Google and I’d had a profile with them for the six years prior to me actually applying. However, as I was giving camp some serious thought, I got to Google again and now more companies appeared in the search. Funnily enough, I actually found AmeriCamp through Twitter when I jokingly-not-joking tweeted about wanting to go to Canada (I still do) and another branch of the company- CampCanada replied to my tweet saying to give them a look in. I did and I actually enquired about going the autumn after my graduation but my skillset wasn’t a match. But anyway, that’s how I was led onto AmeriCamp.
Throughout all my research, it actually came down to two companies- AmeriCamp and CCUSA. Effectively, both companies offered more bang for your buck- the fees were pretty low and you got paid more. Now I know camp isn’t about the money like it’s the expereince and it 100% is. But I also wasn’t in uni anymore, like I should have been looking at grad schemes and the real world so money was a bit of a factor. Plus later down the line at camp when you all start talking about who you’re with and what you’re getting paid, it was actually upsetting knowing I was getting x3 the amount of some of my friends and yet they paid over double for their agencies as well, it just didn’t add up. Anyway, it really was a toss up for both of these companies and the deciding factor was that AmeriCamp was based in Salford. Lol yeah that’s not a real life way of deciding but I’d just moved out of Manchester and I was doing absolutely anything to hold onto that place.
My experience with AmeriCamp:
On the whole, very good. Obviously, I have nothing to compare them to however, every time I had a question or an issue, Twitter response time was second to none. I rang up for a few things here and there and they were sorted. AmeriCamp actually rang me a week after the recruitment fair to inform me about another girl who was placed at my camp doing the same activity (who’s now actually one of my closest friends) and whether I wanted to be put in touch. The only quarm I had with AmeriCamp was a miscommunication on my visa day (you can read about that on that blog post) but it wasn’t a big deal- I’m too laid back to be stressed by stuff and I still got my visa so.
AmeriCamp actually came to camp and visitied us (there were three of us at my camp who went through AC, two of us horseback) to see how we were getting on. That was really nice! Although poor Molly HBR ended up running one period by herself because we were touring and chatting, sorry Mol! That was just a really nice touch having two representatives touring a few camps to see how participants were getting on! I actually don’t know whether other agencies do that btw, like I said I have no comparison. On the whole, AmeriCamp were amazing and I would recommend them!
[photo: AmeriCamp // Myself and Mic with Mystique. PS, layering t-shirts is not a go when it’s 30+ degrees]
The money bit!
Ahhh yes, the bit everyone wants to know and of course, it’ll be different for everyone! I won’t list AmeriCamp’s breakdown of costs because you can find that information here but in total, I paid AmeriCamp circa £279 (I was going through my emails and I can’t find confirmation for a payment so I’m guessing this is what I paid).
Third party costs rounded up:
Visa- $160 + £34
(Getting to London/luckily a friend put me up for the night)- £22
Flights (MAN>JFK and SFO>MAN both direct)- £360
Insurance (annual cover plus gadget)- £69
Third party total- £560 + $160
TOTAL: £839 + $160
In terms of getting paid, AmeriCamp advertise that you can get upto $1750. This is what I signed my contract for as a 22y/o activity counsellor. However, during my time at camp, one of our HBR staff left during first session so there was only two of us doing a three man job so we got extra and I received a total of $2000. My camp also offered a list of extra jobs that you could apply to do and would be compensated for. As a first year, I didn’t apply for any (and with the work load of second session, I probably wouldn’t have been able to complete them anyway) and I didn’t really know what some of them were but hopefully if I get to go back next year, there’s some jobs on that list that I might sign up for. Basically, your camp might offer something similar, and the ability to work during work week (if you have one of those) can help that paycheck.
What camp did I go to?
Well obviously I went to the best camp in the world aka Camp Schodack. OMG actual post camp blues, I loved it so much! It was a traditional camp for kids 6-14 and LTs who are 15/16. Camp was split into first session and second session but most campers did the full summer. It really was just the best place! A lot of the staff were/are ex campers and there was such a big family vibe there! I literally loved everyone, it was amazing! There will be other posts about camp and my post camp travels so stay tuned for those!
[First ride on Superman]
I hope this post was informative for some of you, or at least an insight into AmeriCamp and camp in general! If you’re thinking about going, seriously just go! Take the leap and don’t look back because it’ll be the best thing you’ll ever do! It’s currently all I think about and I want to go back so much!
If you have any question, please ask away!
Peace and love