1) Make the most of sleep.
There’s a saying of burning the candle at both ends. Every night there’s likely to be something going on with other counsellors where you could stay up to the early hours. But remember, you’re also going to be getting up at around 7am every morning. A couple of nights of this is fine but if you do it every night you’ll suffer and burn out! I did lots of these nights during some weeks and absolutely suffered for it. I felt terrible and it probably came across in my day to day duties. Remember, there’s nothing better than waking up at camp after a great sleep ready for your day…… Sleep is so important!
2) Have a big breakfast.
And take food with you to your work. You’re going to need it! At my camp there was quite a big gap between breakfast and dinner (lunch) and towards the middle of the day I got pretty hungry. Absolutely stuffing my face at breakfast helped out loads with this. However, some mornings you just don’t want to eat breakfast! So a few boiled eggs in the pocket ready for later is a good idea and will keep you going through the morning!
3) If you’re international, make friends with Americans who have cars.
What would we internationals do without these Americans that are allowed to drive and have their own cars? Not much is the answer. Want to get some pizza? Go somewhere cool on your day off? Or just get away from camp for a bit? Lucky for you there’s always likely to be an American who wants to do the same! So make friends with these free people who have cars, and buy them food and beer.
4) Awkward dinner time.
This will happen, and I spoke about it in my ‘Should You Do Camp America?’ article. Every meal time you sit with a bunch of kids and the kids are rotated once a week. You’re going to get tables of kids that just don’t talk. Don’t get angry. Don’t get upset. You’re a big new adult and they’re probably a bit scared of you. Just persevere and keep asking questions. Silly things work like; what’s everyone favourite dinosaur? Or who is your favourite super hero? Another great thing to help is table games. There are countless ones that involve the whole table and other counsellors who have been there before will be more than happy to tell you how to play them
5) Take a good camera.
Some of the things you’re going to see just won’t be put to justice on an IPhone. A starry night for instance comes out 10 times better on a decent camera. There’s a lot of activity and nature at night so a good camera will come in handy.
6) And take photos!
Seriously, so much happens at camp that you’re going to need photos and videos to remember all of it. I took hundreds of photos at camp and looking back at them is great and makes me want to do it again! I’m also like; ‘oh crap I completely forgot about that!’.
7) Get some me time.
You’re going to be surrounded by other people almost 24/7. This may get a bit much for people. Remember there is nothing wrong with missing out on one trip to the shops or one night of board games in the main lodge. Don’t let the fear of missing out (FOMO) stop you from getting some much needed me time which will make you happier and chirpier when you see people next. Go for a walk, take a nap or just sit in a field and read a book.
8) Move out from your clique.
At camp you will form your group of best buds who you will hang around with most evenings when not on duty. Spend as much time as you want with these guys because they’re likely to become lifelong friends. However, don’t forget there are other people at camp! Branch out a bit and socialise with the others a bit more. I was lucky as my day off group was completely different from my main social group so I got to hang out with many different people. There are so many other great people at camp you will probably hardly ever see, but talk to them when you get the chance.
9) Pull your weight.
There’s nothing more annoying than on a group task one or two people not doing their fair share of the work or just standing by and watching. People remember this and you might get a rep as a lazy person. And at camp no one wants that rep. Pull your weight, you’re a team 🙂
10) The Little things matter.
Everybody needs a little pick me up now and then and these can be the smallest things. I got a couple of notes from campers saying ‘thanks’ and ‘you’re great’ which put me in a great mood for the rest of the day. Help out your campers or counsellors by doing little things; asking how they’re day was, giving a high 5 or a compliment. They matter and make a difference!