21st February 2018 15:08
*ping* 1 unread email
Subject: “Opportunity to Work at Camp Carysbrook.”
When I saw that notification on my phone, I had quite a few emotions running through me, from “I’ve been chosen” to “Why have they chosen me?”, “How do I reply?”, “Wait, can I teach girls how to Canoe?”, “I’M GOING TO AMERICA!”
To this day, I do not regret replying to that email…
The next couple of months were all hands on deck: I had to get my visa sorted, plan what lessons I should teach, refresh myself with Canoeing Courses and think, “what do I pack for Camp?” Which can be very stressful as I didn’t know what type of weather it would be and overall what to expect when I got there. Slowly but shortly, everything on my To-Do’s list was going down each day, and before I knew it, I finished my last day at work and my bag was all packed and ready to fly out on the 9th June 2018.
As I was saying goodbye to my family, it sunk in that I had finally thought about myself and took this challenge on. Of course, I had many questions running through my mind: “Will I fit in with everyone? Am I going to be socially awkward when I get there? What if I can’t teach the campers canoeing? Wait, what if the campers don’t like me? What if the staff doesn’t like me?” Many questions crossing my mind whilst I was waiting for my plane.
When actually arriving in America, it was so surreal. Not sure if it was the tiredness of the journey but everything seemed like a dream, and I couldn’t believe I was here. When we finally got to Camp it was what I expected, and the only way to describe it is the film Parent Trap: the wooden cabins, the lake with the dock and the woods surrounding the camp. At first, I was thinking, “What have I gotten myself into?” But as we all settled in and got to know each other at Staff Week, cliche as it is, I felt like I was home and I was excited to see what the next 7 weeks of camp were going to be like.
As the weeks went on, meeting all the girls who attended camp before or were trying it out to see if they liked it, I was very open minded and took the whole of camp in; especially the Campfire tradition we would have every Saturday, I was not prepared for that at first, I must admit. Even learning the songs in the Dining Hall after every meal—there was loads to learn (I will put it out there it was roughly a 50 page song book).
However, it was so rewarding teaching new campers how to Canoe and for them to be determined to come back to progress in their new skill, and so was getting to know the campers and learning about them and vice versa them learning about the different lingo we use compared to them.
Before I knew it, we were on our last week, and boy was I emotional. I think it was because I came to America with an open mind, making new friends and meeting extraordinary people, who after 8 weeks become your family, and it was hard to say goodbye to them all. Hard to say goodbye to campers who are with you for the whole summer, who impacted your summer and you impacted theirs.
I’ll never forget Camp Carysbrook, again cliche as it is, but it’ll be in my heart forever and made me the person I am today. If you are thinking of signing up or wanting to challenge yourself and have an adventure? Choose Camp Carysbrook: you’ll have a Summer To Remember.