Fancy spending your entire summer in the USA? Camp America could be for you.
Applications for Camp America 2013 are now open, but is it worth doing?
This summer I spent a glorious 10 weeks in the USA. 8 weeks of that were spent in Maine teaching dance at Camp Tapawingo via a placement through Camp America (CA.)
What was camp like?
From the idyllic landscape to the kids playing pranks, camp felt like stepping into The Parent Trap.
That said, it was hard work. You’re working from 7.30am when the kids wake up to 9.30pm when they go to bed.
On average I taught 4 hours of dance a day on top of other general activities like camper vs. counsellor softball. After 8 weeks I was physically exhausted (but my abs were cracking!)
Most CA placements will mean living in close proximity to children. I was in a bunk with another counsellor and 10 girls. You may be a football extraordinaire, but camp is only suitable for you if you like children too.
Through CA, you pay about £700 before you go, on admin, CRB checks, medical checks and Visa. This includes return flights.
Earnings at camp vary on your particular placement and your qualifications. The CA website states:
Counsellor – Standard USD $600-$850
Advanced Skills Counsellor USD $700 – $950
You will not come back with a profit if you get placed through CA as they take a large percentage of your wages themselves. Do not do it for the dollar. Camp is not for you if you need to earn money over the summer.
I spent all of my wages whilst away, plus nearly £1000 of my savings. I’d say not bad for 10 weeks abroad, but I know that’s not an option for everyone. That said, I probably spent so much because I said yes to everything…You could definitely be a bit more sensible.
It is average to get one day off and one night off a week. Days off made the hard work worth it. Staff were amazing. Baseball games, beach days, mini golf, shopping in the city- a summer at home is a very boring affair in comparison.
In my hour’s break each day I usually joined in the other activities. Horse riding, tubing, ropes, sailing…the list of things to do at camp goes on!
Definitely the best part of my summer. After camp I spent 10 days travelling around the East Coast. Boston, Washington DC and New York were so much fun with the friends I made at camp. And travelling hardly cost me a thing!
Top tip: make friends with the American staff. Free accommodation is the way to do it.
How to apply
You can apply online via CA website www.campamerica.co.uk. Then they interview you. A lot. It’s a pretty long and tedious process but I think it is definitely worth it.
Would I go again?
Yes! I had one of the best summers of my life. I worked hard but it was doing something I love. And returning staff earn so much more!