1) Get out of your comfort zone!
It’s easy to get stuck in a routine and rely on having the safety of friends and family around, so do something to challenge yourself. There’s nothing like flying miles across the world alone to a camp in the middle of nowhere to push you out of your comfort zone. I found myself doing things I never thought I would do throughout the summer. I stopped overthinking and just said yes. I pushed myself from wild camping to hiking mountains to taking charge of a dodgeball tournament. There’s a reason they say do the things that scare you. They really do make the best memories.
2) You can have a genuine impact on children’s lives
Okay, so this one is a little bit cheesy, but it should also probably be one of the reasons you want to do Camp America in the first place, right? Not just to travel, right…? But in all seriousness, you can genuinely have a positive impact on these children’s lives. Don’t get me wrong most of the time, they won’t listen to you, there will be times when you’re pulling your hair out, but sometimes there are those rare days when you can make a difference. A difference that could impact them for the rest of their lives, whether it’s standing up to be a bully, coping with a panic attack or emphasising that it’s okay to be yourself.
3) You will make amazing new friends from all over the world
One of the best things about camp is the community feel. Camps tend to employ like-minded people from all over the world who are equally looking for adventure. You’re then thrown together in the middle of nowhere, being pushed to your limits, working 24/7. This is the kind of environment that breeds lifelong friends. By the end of the first week, you will have been through so much together that you will feel like you’ve known each other forever. Camp friends go deep; no one else will ever understand your strange songs and inside jokes, and it helps if your planning any future adventures to know you won’t be short of places to stay all around the world.
4) You get the quintessential American summer camp experience
Summer camp is a massive part of growing up in the USA. Ask anyone, every American film or TV show summertime as a kid is all about camp. It’s a classic and defining childhood experience that we, unfortunately, don’t have in the same way in the UK. No problem, you can relive your childhood as an adult have all the classic American summer camp experience without any teenage angst. You can swim in waterfalls, camp in the wild, tell stories around the fire, learn archery, riflery and jump off zip lines.
It’s one thing having a holiday in the USA and another thing entirely to immerse yourself in another lifestyle and culture. It’s surprising the number of differences there are. Soon you will be well versed in camp tradition and making smores like a pro. There’s something about Americans’ self-confidence, positivity and drive that has an infectious way of rubbing off on you. You might find yourself wishing you could have had this every summer as a child.
5) You can get paid to travel and see more of the world
Let’s be honest; this is probably why most people sign up in the first place. Getting paid to work at a summer camp also means that while you’re at camp, everything is paid for, you get all your food, accommodation and any trips with camp included. I got to have a weekend in Savannah, go on a ghost tour, trips to national parks, and do white water rafting, all for free. Then after camp, once you’ve got your paycheck, you and your new friends can travel around the USA and continue the adventure until either your visa or your money runs out!