As soon as I got home from eight months spent in Thailand, Asia and Australia, I knew there was no way I could settle in England just yet. I have always wanted to do Camp America, so I thought summer 2013 would be the one to do it. I went through USA Summer Camp and Camp Leaders, which I totally recommend, it’s cheaper than Camp America and the staff are very friendly and helpful. I got placed in Texas, where better to teach horse riding than in America’s cowboy capital? I felt like a real life cowgirl for the two months I worked at Camp Texlake. I would definitely categorise my summer working at Camp Texlake as one of my favourites. It’s an experience you will not forget in a hurry, if I was not in Australia right now I would definitely be going back to do another summer.
Don’t be put off by age either, when I applied I was 23! Most of the other camp councillors were in there 20s. If anything I would suggest going post the age of 21 as this will allow you to go travelling around America and be free to drink and have fun.
After an absolutely amazing two months spent working at camp in Texas, me and eight friends (who I met at camp) went travelling the west coast of America. In a month we went to LA, Grand Canyon, Las Vegas, San Diego, San Francisco, Chicago and New York. That’s the thing about camp, you are given a three month working visa which you only use two of them working at camp, so you can use the final month to explore!
Before arriving to camp I was given a lot of information about Trek America. This is a tour company which do offer some amazing trips around USA but this comes with a price tag. Trek America is a great way to travel post camp, with like-minded individuals and if you have anxiety’s about traveling solo your reassured with the knowledge your be traveling in a group. However, through my own personal experience, I would suggest being brave and waiting until you’re at camp to book any travels up. Spontaneity is the way forward. We managed to do basically one of the Trek America tours for the third of the price and some of our travel experiences were just hilarious; we ended up on a Chinese tour bus to the Grand Canyon, stayed at some pretty whacky hostels, experienced the greyhound bus and even got a 52 hour scenic train journey from San Francisco to Chicago. You don’t get those kind of experiences with a pre-booked tour.
If you’re looking for a fun, action packed summer then I’d suggest applying to work at a summer-camp in America.
Cost and Requirements?
Application fees for Summer Camp vary depending on what company you go for. If you complete your profile sooner rather than later than you can receive some discounts with USA Summer Camp/ Camp Leaders.
Overall Cost? £500-600 This includes the program fee, visa process, medical fee and flights – that’s right, flights! Camp leaders are one of the companies which includes your flight cost. So you can rely on them to sort your flights and it means they book flights so you’re on the same flight as your fellow camp leaders. I met five of the girls who were working at the same camp as me at the airport so we flew all the way from London – Austin together. Happy Days! America is an expensive country for a traveller so make sure you save as much as you can if you want to go traveling after camp. You will get paid a weekly wage when you’re at camp, so at least you get some pocket money. Depending on what qualifications/ skills you have will alter how much you get paid but it’s usually $800 – $1,200 a month.
The application process for working at camp is a fairly long process. This is because you are working with children so they have to make sure you are up to the job. You need to complete an online profile, attend an interview and training day before you are set for camp.
For the online application process my advice to you would to be honest and write as much as you can about yourself and what skills you can offer to camp. For example, my key skill was Horse Riding, but I also put down that I used to be involved in Dancing, Rock Climbing, and Swimming etc. This shows that you can bring more to the table if necessary. Obviously having experience working with children is desired, so if you have any make sure you include them. Camp’s look at your profile and employ you based on it.