February 17, 2020, by aeyaebr
A Camp America experience: what I’ve learned
By Annie Brown, MA Creative Writing student blogger
The ‘summer of a lifetime’ at Camp America can be incredibly fun. It is also a fantastic opportunity that can transform your career prospects. Alongside getting to travel and meet lifelong friends, it boosted my employability skills greatly. It helped me become more confident, positive and ambitious, and helped secure my current job.
Here’s how what I learned at Camp America has benefited me:
A recognisable achievement
I was lucky enough to complete Camp America during the 50th anniversary of the programme. Employers recognise the accomplishment and what it means to have participated. My boss appreciated the responsibility I had been given as a lifeguard and knew I would be a trustworthy member of staff. Camp America state it shows ‘independence, responsibility and ambition’ for candidates which are skills heavily valued by real world employers.
Real work experience
Camp America was the first time I’d experienced a full-time job. While I’d done work experience at school and volunteered, working daily at a camp was completely different. Not only are you living with your boss and all your co-workers, you are also living with the children entrusted into your care almost all-day, every day with little respite. The high-pressure environment occasionally tested me and the adjustment to the working schedule took a little time, but I realised I could do it. I learned a lot about my own tolerance and determination, and how to maintain professionalism even when you feel drained. It was an immensely rewarding experience that I realised I could excel at.
The majority of life as a camp counsellor involves being heavily independent. Versatility is an essential trait to have at camp. Not only will you be responsible for your designated activity, like my role as a lifeguard, but several others. I would also have to deliver the children to their classes, assist those leading them and once I even taught an arts and crafts class due to a mix-up in the scheduling. I realised I was resilient and resourceful enough to handle these responsibilities which has made me more confident in the working world.
Opening up career prospects
Working at Camp America was a free-trial for potential careers. I had always considered teaching as a career path and getting to test out my skills in an authentic environment was excellent practise. I learned a lot about interacting with children and how to keep them engaged during lessons, and it made me consider teaching a viable career option. Furthermore, camp offered valuable writing experience and inspiration to benefit my postgraduate degree, giving me lots of excellent ideas. It also taught me the importance of networking and making genuine connections with people all around the world.
Camp America is a great way to boost your employability and have fun while doing it. The lessons I learned at camp will benefit me in almost everything I do.