9. How did you get into Camp America?

I think I have filled in the application for camp America 5 times now but this was the first year I actually sent it off. For all of my summers in between school, uni and now I put my career first and went for design internships. Now that I have a year and a half of work under my belt and I’m taking a few months out to go traveling, it was finally the right time to give Camp America a proper try. The application process was simple and their website helped you through every step of the way but I thought I would just give a brief summary of what I had to do and how I ended up getting placed at a camp.

Online application

Of all the years that I have filled in the Camp America, this year was definitely the easiest. They split the form up into 7 clear categories…

  • Skills – Fill in 3 or more skills that you have that you would like to teach or be involved in at camp. I went for arts and drama based things but you can do anything from sports to cooking skills.
  • Availability – This is the date you can leave to go to camp and the day you have to be back for. The longer your availability is the higher chance you have of getting a place.
  • About Me – It is exactly what it says on the tin and covers other key experiences you need to go to camp like childcare experience, what languages you speak and if you have a driving license.
  • Camp Options – This is where you can pick the kind of camp you want to go to. Whether you are after the proper parent-trap wilderness experience or if a religious camp is up your street this is where you can decide what you want to get out of camp.
  • Education & Work History
  • Contact details

If you progress through this round then other sections open up such as Medical questions and passport details.

Pictures & Videos

If there is anything I can recommend it would be to make a video! I know it can be quite embarrassing to sit in front of a camera but this is the best way to get attention of camps. It doesn’t have to be long and it can be as creative as you like but just get across your bubbly personality and what key skills you can bring forward. If you don’t feel comfortable with that then add lots of action photos doing what you have said you can do, such as pictures of you playing sport or examples of art work you have done.

References

You need 2 references from anyone that can vouch for you but isn’t a relative. This can be a manager at work, a teacher from uni/school or a leader in a club you work at, for example. I asked my uni tutor and one of my managers at work to do it which all worked perfectly well!

Fees

You have to pay an application fee to begin with of around £180. As you progress more fees come though such as assessment and confirmation fees which all together add up to £214.

You get paid at camps but the amount varies from camp to camp and your food and accommodation will often be covered. This means the only other additional fees would be flights and any excursions you want to go on when you’re at the camp.

Interview

If your application is successful then you will have to go for a short interview with a member of the Camp America team local to you. I met my interviewer in a cafe in London and it lasted for around an hour. One thing I really want to stress is this is nothing to worry about, they are on your side and want to help you get to camp! We essentially built upon my application and she wanted to get a better grasp of my personality. I had a chance to ask her lots of questions about her own experience at camp and it ultimately felt like more of a chat with a friend than a serious interview.

Medical Form

After you interview you will need to print off and get your doctor to fill in a short medical form. GPs can be very busy so make sure you give yourself plenty of time for this!

The wait begins…

After all this it is time to wait for any requests from camps to come through. If you want the best chance of getting seen then make sure you

  • have skills down that you have plenty of strong experience in
  • get photos/videos up
  • change your preferences to all types of camps (but remember you have to go so make sure it is something you will still enjoy/feel comfortable at)

If it all works out you may get an email from a camp asking for a Skype interview!

Skype Interview

With the time difference between England and America, my interview was one evening after work. Be sure to do lots of research into the camp before you go so you can ask plenty of questions about them and see if it is the right fit for you. My interview lasted about an hour and they asked me about my skills, my personality, what I want out of a camp and why I wanted to go to their camp specifically. I think it is important to stay be relaxed and, as cliche as it sounds, just be yourself. I was offered the job of Photography Specialist from the camp at the end of my interview and of course I accepted. From here I was sent a conformation email where I had to formally accept the offer.

Next Steps

After you have been placed at a camp the last stages are getting your flights and Visa sorted. I haven’t actually got around to these steps yet so I can’t be of much assistance but I did receive a really helpful information pack from Camp America explaining all the stages of applying for a Visa. Once I have done it all I will be sure to update this post!

I know this seems like a lot of stages but I promise none of them take long to do and it is all worth it for that feeling you get when an offer from a camp comes through! If you have any other questions please feel free to ask them below.

Merry Christmas and happy travels!

Go and grab another cuppa on me, Em x

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1. Where are you going traveling?

A few weeks ago I announced on my Instagram that from January next year I am trading my Oyster card for my passport and going traveling for 9 months. It is something I have been planning for months and dreaming of for years so I can’t explain how excited I am to say it’s only a few weeks away now. I’ve received a lot of different reactions from people when I tell them I’m jetting off and a whole range of questions from “can I come with?” to “are you crazy?” which has sparked me to put this little travel blog to good use and answer some of those questions.

I know at this time of year the only thing on people’s minds is if a “ring for wine” bell is inappropriate for office secret Santa or where you can hide your box of salted caramel matchsticks so your nan doesn’t eat them all but I thought I would put my own spin on a christmas classic and do the 12 days of travel!

Everyday I will answer one a common question I get as a response to “I am going traveling” and hopefully it might help you if it’s something you’re interested in doing or just give you something to read as your partner tries on their 17th New Year’s Eve outfit possibility!

Today I thought we would begin with my story and the most common questioned asked: Where are you going travelling?

At the age of 22 I have been lucky enough to visit 3/7 of the continents this world has to offer so I thought for my first big journey out there alone I would try to tick off another 2 – Asia and Australia. I am going to be venturing on a group tour of South East Asia, stopping along the way in Thailand, Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia. I chose to go on a group tour instead of venturing it alone for the simple reason of I found it all quite intimidating. Not only are they new countries to me, they are totally new cultures, weathers, cuisines and it all felt a but too much to face solo. Being in a group will allow me to experience everything but with a safety net of having my journeys and accommodation already sorted. I know that I won’t have much time in each town but I am seeing this trip as my taster session to then return in future years and delve deeper into places that I don’t want to leave behind.

Now technically this is where the first section of my trip ends as I have nothing else booked in after my group trip ends. That however is all part of the grand plan. I have never been away from home on my own for longer than a couple of weeks so I might finish my month off and feel like it is time to go back or I might have come down with a strong case of the travel bug and never want to go home. I just don’t know! That is why I have left it open to see who I meet, how I feel and just giving myself the total freedom to do whatever feels right for me. If I do have the desire to continue then I have my heart set on catching a flight over to explore the beautiful lands of Australia and New Zealand. Even though I have never been to either of these countries I feel much more confident doing them on my own as they speak English and have a culture that, I might naively be assuming, echoes that of what we have here in England. These familiarities make the task of exploring somewhere new thousands of miles away from home on my own a lot less daunting and a lot more exciting! My vague plan is to grab a greyhound bus ticket, stay in hostels and hopefully make some new friends along the way to continue my adventure with.

When the time comes that I have either run out of energy, desire or money (most likely the latter) then I will catch a flight back home. As the last part of my trip is so vague I have no real idea of when this will be but I have predicted around April/May giving me just enough time to get my visa sorted for my second trip. Camp America!

I think it has been roughly 4 years now that I have said I am going to apply for a summer at Camp America but this is finally the year that I have made it happen. I will be uploading another post a bit later on about the whole application process, but I am thrilled that it all paid off and I will spending next summer in the state of New York singing camp fire songs, teaching photography and living my best parent-trap-esk camp counsellor life! If that wasn’t enough, the visa allows another month of travel in America so I will be sure to put that to good use and potentially do a trip down the East Coast. As with my earlier trip I am leaving it all up in the air now and waiting to see who I meet and what other plans just fall into place.

If all goes to plan, then in October next year I will be back in my own bed reminiscing over the endless memories I have made all over the world and no doubt planning my next trip away. But for now, that is day 1 of my 12 days of travel done!

Merry Christmas and happy travels!

Go and grab another cuppa on me, Em x

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