Bored of run of the mill summer jobs or internship pursuits? Instead, consider this extraordinary summer opportunity.
Camp America: What is it?
Contrary to its title, Camp America is not a summer camp itself.
You may associate its words with stories of whimsical lakeside summers; some parent-trap-esque log cabin with a bonfire and s’mores. Or perhaps it conjures exciting travel stories – explorations through whizzing US cities or small seaside towns.
On the contrary, Camp America is merely a recruitment programme. It is the biggest organization that connects and funnels international staff into American summer camps.
Applicants may register through the Camp America website, and if successful are subject to a series of interviews that help determine their fit. Albeit bureaucratic, this process helps smooth and support the visa application procedure, as Camp America is directly accountable for all participants that utilize the program.
Visas, to most of us, seem daunting. Yet Camp America, as a J-1 visa sponsor, makes this exponentially simpler. Whilst they must adhere to guidelines with the US Department of State, being slightly scrutinous in health, safety, and welfare examinations of prospective participants, this ultimately pays off.
However tedious it may sound, the application is only a sliver of annoyance amongst a sea of adventure and fun.
What does the Summer Camp experience entail?
Not About Money
One feature of Camp America to bear in mind is the pay (or relatively lack thereof). Camp America is not a money making experience; instead, its focus is on cultural exposure and horizon broadening.
The little pay is merely “pocket-money” to accompany you on your post-work travel. If money-making is your aim, it’s not for you!
What it Does Give You
The most enriching and rewarding part of camp life is the bonds you form with your fellow staff. It gives you the chance to connect with young people from a myriad of different countries and lifestyles. Sharing a summer unites participants and fosters tight-knit relationship.
Camp America participants will become role models for their campers, learn to be both leaders and team players, and gain resilience, confidence, and exposure to the world.
Further, the camp experience not only strengthens your personal growth and leadership abilities, but benefits your future. Camp America is well regarded by institutions and employers worldwide, and thus offers a great addition to any CV.
Day to Day
Day to day life at Camp centers around activity sessions, which campers are rotated to and fro throughout the day’s duration. As a counselor, you will either teach a specific activity, or be a general counselor that moves around with the campers during the activity rotations.
Each day, staff are likely to get an activity block off, left with free time to either join in on activities of their choice, or spend some alone time.
And, most importantly, it persistently offers an upbeat and intimate environment for all involved.
Obviously, downsides will vary from person to person. Some may find the early wake-up time difficult, or others may be unaccustomed to the heat.
Equally, some may struggle with the little time off, finding it difficult to be constantly alert and filtered.
Yet, ultimately the most difficult downside is being away from home.
The unfamiliarity of a new location and new experiences is certainly no easy feat. However, the challenge pays off, reaping your summer with a much more satisfactory reward.
Post Camp Travel
One of the most alluring parts of Camp America is the allocated 30 days of US travel time that follows camp placement.
This is perhaps what seals the deal for most Uni students: how often do you have the ability to spend a month traveling around the US?
The rarity of such an opportunity, and the ease at which you can do so on a budget, is arguably reason enough to partake in the program.
This period is entirely independent, and thus up to individual participants as to where they go, how long they stay, and whether or not they decide to travel with friends.
Although certainly not mandatory, it is encouraged to travel with the friends you make at camp, and to take recommendations from the US campers or counselors you grow close with.
Most important in facilitating this process is Camp America’s flexibility.
To help ensure that participants make the most of the post-work travel time, Camp America allows you to upgrade your return flight to a flexible one. Thus, one does not have to pick their return date, or returning flight destination, until camp placement has finished.
What participants have to say…
The most memorable & impactful part of camp life
“Being present and completely honest with yourself and others”
In the age of social media, camp life offers a more genuine and wholesome connection that exists beyond the screen:
“I think with social media it’s easy to fall in the trap of wanting to sugarcoat everything, but there’s something really freeing about just letting go”
“I would love to do it again, even though it was exhausting and I had little free time, it was an amazing experience.”
“As much as it’s not the most well-paid job, the friendships you make and wide variety of experiences make it more than worthwhile.”
If you’re seeking adventure, travel, and a change of pace, Camp America will be an excellent endeavour.
However, if camp life is not your seen, yet you’re stricken by wanderlust, check out these 7 student-friendly travel destinations.