America #3 

I remember one of the earlier weeks at camp there was a boy in my cabin…let’s call him Trent. I think he must have been going through a rough patch at home but his dad and nana managed to get him to camp without too much fuss. But he was really homesick and struggled to settle into camp life. He was only booked in for one week so at least it would go quickly for him? 

Kids can be the cruelest people sometimes but this week showed me how amazing they can be as well. The entire cabin tried tirelessly to include Trent in all the activities and I think by then end of it he could call them very loyal friends. Trent still struggled though and most nights he’d be in bed crying. As one of his councillors I felt absolutely heartbroken that this child had been ‘abandoned’ at camp and wears hating it. Missing home every second. 

But a few weeks later Trent was back, what a surprise! And because I’d been his councillor the first time and apparently done such a good job they were putting me in his cabin again. I was so flattered. The fact that despite all his struggles he’d gone home and said he’d had an amazing time was so great to hear. And it was even nicer to hear that some of that joy came from me and that I could spend another week with him!

And that second week was like being with a completely different person. He didn’t get upset once, he made loads more friends and threw himself into the daily activities. And he told me all about his love of Minecraft. A passion we both shared!

After a few short, amazing weeks in the sun at camp I started to realise that this is what I wanted to be doing with my life. Living in the sun. Just kidding, I wanted to be helping people, making a small difference in a small way to peoples lives.

He who saves one life, saves the world entirely. 

America #2

After the training week there were nine weeks of camp. Generally ever week we’d get a new set of kids although some did stay for a few weeks or come back later in the summer. For members of the YMCA (who ran the camp) it costs around £620 for one week at camp. One kid was there for seven weeks! That’s one expensive summer.

Every week followed a similar routine, we’d wake the kids up nice and early to head to the canteen for breakfast and we always tried to be the first to arrive, which we did on several occasions! That meant we got the fresh hot food as we were at the front of the queue. Tuesday was the best day for breakfast and lunch, pancakes and pizza! Although for the entire lunch period on a Tuesday they would play a song called ‘All I Eat is Pizza’ which I loved…some people not so much.

Between breakfast and lunch the kids would be split down the middle, half doing land activities and half doing water activities. I ended up working at the rifle range most weeks, which was absolutely fine with me! Spending a day out in the sun shooting with some awesome kids. What could be better? Then after lunch we’d head back to the cabins for some down town then back out to switch to land or water.

We were assigned our cabins at the beginning of every week and there would usually be two or three councillors (the grown ups) in each cabin with about ten kids. That was our little family for the week. After dinner we’d get ready for the evening activity. On a Monday this was usually some camp wide activity but there would be multiple routes a cabin could take through the story. One week I had the pleasure of being a Chitauri (from The Avengers) and the kids went round camp doing Marvel related stuff…like a real life video game.

As for time off, we’d have lunch to ourselves one day and then on alternating weeks we’d have a long night or a short night. The short night we could leave once the kids were settled in for dinner but we had to be back by…I can’t remember what time but we had a few hours off. On a long night I think the curfew was 1am so we’d go out for dinner, take a trip to Walmart to stock up on sweets then head back to camp. At least that’s what I did.