COMMENTS RECEIVED FROM PREVIOUS PARTICIPANTS -[most recent first]

 

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I got back from camp last week and had a fantastic time. I spent my days teaching rocketry in the mornings, followed by hiking and outdoor living skills in the afternoons and on Mondays I led an overnight backpacking trip up a mountain. I was also part of the high ropes and zip team! It was fantastic having little/no internet as I spent my time exploring the mountains and realising I didn't need to live off technology. Camp certainly made sure I was busy! I loved all my duties and really have grown as a person - it exceeded my expectations and has changed me more than I could have imagined. (For the good!) I will be returning to camp next year. Camp America itself was really supportive... as expected. I needed medical treatment week 5 due to dislocating 2 fingers whilst working on the zip line! I was unsure how all the insurance worked. Camp helped me out-but I also called the CA American Team and they also were very supportive on what I needed to do, insurance wise! Additionally the process of applying to camp, visas, insurance and flights was really simple and for my first time travelling for this length of time made everything a lot easier. Thanks for the help as well!

 

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I'd be happy to share my experience. For the most part, my time at Camp Hoffman has been fantastic. I have met so many wonderful people, staff and counselors alike, who have made this experience what it is. I have formed friends for life and I am so grateful to Camp America and you for all the help and support offered to me during this process. Regarding Camp America's service I have been completely satisfied. I feel that I have been offered support throughout the process and again, I am grateful to you and Camp America as a whole. If I were to have one suggestion, it would be that the price-point is not as competitive as some other companies. However, I feel the service offered justifies the fees.


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My Summer was the most amazing experience and I enjoyed every moment of camp. It was the most challenging and rewarding experience and I have also made so many life long friends. My position at camp was being the LID director (leadership in development). This involved hiking in Colorado, kayaking expedition and Camping. Doing these activities made me become very confident in myself as it was very new and exciting. Being at Camp for over 2 months I felt very welcomed and safe, as if it was my second home. I did things I never dreamed I would do and saw things i would never see back in England for example the wildlife. The process I went through was very organised and helpful. I felt that I could ask any questions involving this experience which made me feel at ease. The interview was stress free and relaxed which made it easier too talk to my interviewer about what type of camp would suit me. They covered all my doubts and worries. I would definitely apply for Camp America again and would advise anyone too sign up because it will give anyone the best life experience.
 

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Camp life is intense but one of the best decisions I made in terms of doing something different. As a camp counsellor its my job to make sure the kids have the best summer possible in a healthy and secure way. I teach wilderness survival where I teach the kids how to survive in the wilderness on their own such fire, water, land navigation and priority skills. It definitely was more intense than I anticipated it to be but met my expectations in work load.

 

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I am indeed still at camp and I have had an amazing summer! I got chosen as the horseback counsellor which has been such a fun job. We get lots of free time here as well to go off camp and just see Florida. The only downside was at this camp I wasn't actually told I was a horseback counsellor till I got here so I wasn't prepared at all. Also they didn't really give us any training (except food safety and CPR) so we have been kind of left to our own devices. Our boss was a cool guy. It's been brilliant and I hope to do a different camp again next year! Camp America has been an amazing company and I couldn't fault the support I've received from them! I have recommended them to loads of people already.

 

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Yes I'm having fun. Within the first training week I got promoted to being the Assistant Equestrian Manager instead of a general counsellor so my tasks on camp changed to what I was preparing myself for!! I plan and run sessions at the barn all day every day with the riding camp programme and fill promises for other programmes too, so I don't have my own unit of kids. Being at the barn is fun as riding is my specialty although I'm not being paid any more, as still getting paid for a general Counsellor role. Camp life is tiring and hard work but the positive things totally override the harder days that I have!

 

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All is well defiantly going to try and come back next year. My duties include OT which includes looking after children that do not go on bus's before camp starts and after camp, lifeguarding, I'm a pioneering specialist so my duties also include working on sessions for the groups that come to my section of the camp, husbandry of the camps animals and also Maintenance work on Sunday's.

 

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Camp is well, not what I expected but still enjoyable. The people are nice and easy to get along with. My duties include being one of 2 cooks for the camp along side other professional chefs. As I mainly work in the morning I prepare and cook breakfast which has been a struggle at times. At first my expectations were not met as I expected an easier job as oppose to one with such high responsibility. And also I expected to work with more British people instead there is only one, that said I have had any expectations met for example the high spirited and welcoming staff members. And also the activities I am included in. 

 

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This last two months have been the most tiring and challenging ever! But I've made so many new friends from all over the world (Australia, Scotland, America) I've learned so many new skills (Archery, Canoeing, Low Ropes) and I've had so much fun with all the brilliant campers. Of course there were many difficulties such as staff falling out etc. but it's all helped us to develop our communication and personal skills. I would advise anyone to experience this, one summer in their lives because it's an adventure I will never forget. 2.5 weeks left now and already made plans for after camp to go Disney World and Universal Studios!! :) Thank you so much for your support and giving me the opportunity from the beginning, this has changed my life!

 

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Hello, Yes I have had an amazing summer thank you. Thank you for helping me get here. Unfortunately I have only just picked this email up and I left this morning. I will mail them and ask if they can post one [a reference] to me. It's been really good, I have enjoyed everything about camp. Met some amazing friends, experienced many new experiences especially working with children. I wasn't sure if it was for me as a career but after this I'm almost certain I want to work with children. I cant think of any bad experiences to be honest. I thought I may get home sick at some point before I left but there's just too much fun to have so you don't even think about home! It's just been the best summer although very tiring. I still have a month left to travel so that's really exciting too."

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Sorry it took so long to reply- when I received this email I was in the midst of travelling the east coast and it completely slipped my mind until I filled out a review for my camp. I had a fantastic summer, the highlight of which being the travelling afterwards! If I returned to work as a counsellor I would return to Indian Head Camp, I had a fantastic time there and made many lovely friends. The advice that I would give to a new applicant is to consider under-privileged camps as a preferable option, they may not have some of the facilities of the independent camps but you do have a greater opportunity to make more of an impact on the campers summer.

 

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Sorry this is really late, I got back from America on the 13th and started Uni on the 15th so I really haven't had much free time! I don't really know where to start when telling people how great my summer was. I learnt some amazing stuff like trapeze and wake boarding! The friendships I have made will last a lifetime and I have already decided that I want to go back to the same camp again next year! As you would expect there were downs, but the way I saw it was for every down myself or my cabin had, there would be at least 10 ups to balance it. The travelling after with the friends I had made was amazing and life changing. It's very much a cliché to say that working at a camp has helped 'discover' yourself, but I really do think from what I've experienced this summer has changed me into something I much prefer. For example, after worrying about other people and putting them first for the summer, it has rubbed off into everyday life.
 

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I've had an absolutely fantastic summer, thank you so much. I moved up to boating director at my camp, and am the sailing specialist. I am also lifeguard trained, boating trained and first aid and CPR trained.  I have made friends for life, and cannot thank this experience enough, as it has given me great confidence and courage to try and achieve anything I want to in life. I have attached some pictures I would love for you to share with possible applicants if you would like. I am 100% sure I am returning in 2014, and have completed my application for next year already, as are a dozen other international staff who went through Camp America. We are just waiting on a heads up as to who our director will be next year. Please feel free to give out my email to applicants if they would like any further information. I also travelled to Boston, Washington DC and then New York. Luka

 

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I have recently returned from America and had a fantastic time! I was a bit overwhelmed at first by how hectic life at camp was but did get used to it. It definitely was a worthwhile and different experience so I am really glad I was able to participate in Camp America. Thank you very much for all your help with my application.
 

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Just wanted to thank you for helping me get started with an amazing summer! Camp was a great experience and it lived up to all my expectations, and I learned a lot during the process. Thank you for all your help and advice!

 

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"Hello! I have had the best summer ever! I'm still here at a friends house before heading to New York! Camp was so much fun it was 100% worth doing the IYLA scheme it helped me a lot! It's really been a great summer!"

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"I have been at Camp Westmont for just over a month now and I love it. I am placed in camp as a lacrosse specialist so I spend my days teaching the girls lacrosse and assisting the male coach with the boys lacrosse. Camp is a brilliant experience, and I've met so many amazing people, who, if I were travelling after camp, I would definitely accompany. I actually got lucky at camp, I sleep in a specialist bunk without kids which is nice because I get my own time! Camp is absolutely beautiful, especially the 100 acre lake! The food is fine, there is always a good selection so there is something for everyone. The food is quite unhealthy though, very greasy, so I've had to go to the gym a few times! Whilst the days off and the people I've met are incredible, it is a job and you do have to work hard. But one day off with all your colleagues makes up for it!

 

I don't think when I applied for camp I realised how much all the individual costs would come to, so it means I haven't made any money. If I were to return however, I would earn much more which is a big incentive to return. Another thing, I was very unaware of my role at camp, I was told I would be a general counsellor but ended up as a lacrosse specialist. This ended up in my favour as I much prefer this role. More information on my role and what would happen at camp would have allowed me to prepare and pack better. This is a big part of the camp experience, putting yourself out of your comfort zone and throwing yourself into different situations. I feel like I have learnt and taken from this experience and I'm grateful to have the opportunity here.

 

Working with children has been a learning experience, and whilst there are difficult children the majority are lovely and willing to learn. American children are quite different from English children which was a bit of a cultural shock but you get used to it quickly! Apart from the other counsellors I've met, the other rewarding thing is experiencing American traditions and emerging yourself in the culture. Trying new things is so much fun and seeing their different ways of life." [Counsellor]

 

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"Hi! I'm at a YMCA Day Camp in Virginia.  

 

Camp:

Negative: Hours are long (9-10 hours a day), pay seems less because of expenses and the American staff get privileges that we don't (we don't get breaks at all). But I'm not very bothered with any of  that... I enjoy camp a lot!! The staff at first were very un-organised and rude and there is huge segregation between internationals and American staff. (warning!!)

Positive: The camp is fun, resources are full and activities are exciting, I worked one week on Cheerleading Camp, was very fun. now I'm at a traditional camp (like day care).  The kids are mostly well behaved, we do swimming twice a week and have field trips. Management is supportive

 

Host Families: 

Negative: Nothing (however be warned, two girls had a party while their family was away and they have been thrown out of their host's house)

Positive: The families are lovely, generous, they get money for us from camp. they take us on weekend vacations, we are treated like one of the family and they are extremely caring and helpful. The houses are also very nice. I share a host family with another girl and she is great fun. 

 

Free Time:

We are here for 11 weeks, we had 2 days training and learned the ropes of everything. We get 3 days off vacation for the whole summer and evenings and weekends are free time. Every 2 weeks we have an organised activity with camp. They take us to museums and theme parks and its all paid for...bowling, movies, dinner etc...

 

It's been almost 4 weeks here and the camps been interesting and slowly getting more and more fun. Days are long and hard but I am loving it a lot. It's very different to what O expected but in a good way. I'll keep you updated if I can think of anything else. " [Counsellor]

 

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"I'm absolutely loving Camp Merry Heart and everything it has to offer. It's the most rewarding experience I have ever participated in. It's an incredible camp and ALL the staff regardless of whether the are internationals or US staff are all amazing, kind, friendly and approachable. They've made the tough times easier for me especially when I've had problems or concerns. The chef makes some awesome food, we've had Italian, Chinese, Mexican amongst a wide range of meals. It's exactly as I thought it would be in terms of hours worked, time off, camper abilities etc. And I believe that I'd love to continue doing this for years to come provided I don't get too old. Our days off have included trips to theme parks, and most recently a weekend in New York which was amazing, so we get a variety of things to do. I'd just like potential applicants to know that I'd be happy to give Info about Camp Merry Heart and the stuff I've done if they want it." [Counsellor]

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"I am indeed in the US, I arrived on the 27th of May so have been here for a while! I've just passed the shock period and I'm now really settled enjoying the whole experience that camp has to offer! I'm a SC and Area Head of Fishing which is a lot of responsibility but also a lot of fun! Camp is very different to what I expected, but in a good way! It offers so much and everyone from the campers to the staff are amazing! I had a few terrible cabins which I encountered several problems from bullying to just disrespect, but I have learnt so much from these experiences! I now have the most fantastic cabin who are so much fun and I couldn't be enjoying myself anymore! I've made a lot of new friends and have stayed with several in Chicago on layovers! I'm also looking forward to staying with them on my travels. As a whole I was given a lot more responsibility than first expected but I'm loving every minute of it! I'm sorry its such a short brief message but I have to get back to the campers!" [Counsellor]

 

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"I am currently at the International Riding Camp in upstate New York...up near the Catskill mountains! I've made some really good friends here and the kids are nice too - I like my job, although its pretty constant and I've been made Head Counsellor so that lots more responsibility on top! Its fun though! the counsellors and campers are lovely and camp is good!  Its really hot here as I've mentioned and we're getting eaten alive, but its good." [Counsellor]

 

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"Been here for over three weeks now, feels like a lot longer. Finally started to settle in. The jobs going ok, nothing really exciting but I knew my actual job wouldn't be anyway before I came. Really enjoying myself and enjoying my days off and meeting new people. It's a good advantage not sharing a cabin with children as you can get a bit of peace compared to everyone else! I didn't really know what to expect, but it's a lovely camp, apparently some are no where near as nice as this one which is good." [Campower]

 

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"Its going really well - I love the camp I am at!! It suites me just right. I am in the eldest unit and find that I suit there best! It is hard work, but I'm enjoying it! The Camp America scheme is good,  easy to use and I'm glad that I enrolled!" [Counsellor]

 

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"I've been at Camp Namanu for 3 weeks now and Ranch gets our first lot of kids in the morning, it's been the most incredible, hard going, fun and brilliant couple of weeks tho. I'm the riding Okihi which means I do all the teaching and lesson plans, as well as take care of my 3 counsellors in Ranch and various other things. Also, being the only British person here has played out well as they think my accent is hilarious! I haven't heard anything from Camp America at all to be honest, Namanu has taken care of my every need so it's not problem. My flights were fine and the camp definitely knew I was coming so no complaints there. The staff here are all really passionate about their jobs and camp far surpasses anything I could have imagined in terms of the work we do and how much I've gotten into being here so quickly. I would recommend more international staff coming here as well as they really like having people with accents and a whole different perspective to riding, teaching, and how they run things." [Counsellor]

 

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"Thanks for all your support and help! I am currently in Florida, exactly halfway through my time here at Camp Illhaw! I am really enjoying it, cant wait to go travelling after camp too and I have made so many awesome friends. I love the staff, atmosphere and camp even though the location is very far away from anything so getting off the premises is very difficult. it is a lot harder work than I thought but I'm still enjoying the challenge. Thanks for everything." [Counsellor]

 

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"All is good in America thanks!....I am in Missouri and the weather is hot!! Camp life is good and the staff are nice and very helpful." [Counsellor]

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"I am at camp and have been her for a bit over 3 weeks now. Before coming to camp I tried to be open minded and as such did not have many expectations at all so everything that I got was a bonus. Before I left I got great support from Camp America and they supplied me with all the information I need and much more and were always very helpful both in England and at the hotel in New York. The Camp Director was less helpful. He hardly answered to any email and I hardly received any information at all. But from what I hear form the other people who have been going and working here at Camp for many years, that is just how he is. But that is really the only negative experience I had before I left and that really did put me off and as he ignored a few of my emails. I did even consider not going, but now that I'm here I am very happy that I did decided to go. 

 

Here at camp everyone is really friendly and welcoming. This is the first year they have English speaking people working in the kitchen so everyone is very excited to be able to talk to us. It is a lot of hard work and a lot of repetative work (such as washing 350 plates 3 times a day) and it can be quiet boring at times. However I see it as a great experience and overall it is a lot of fun. As I said before, the Camp Director might not be that best but the Head Chef really is and he stands up for us and make sure we are treated fairly and that we are kept up to date with everything at Camp. Every time we have had problems with our computer not working or our warm water not working they have always been fast and good at fixing it and taking care of us. During our day off we are also driven to a big town 45 minutes away and some evenings we are also driven to the local shops. From what I have heard, this is not very common for most Campower staff so I feel that we are treated very well which is adding to the overall great camp experience. We are also always welcomed to join in with games that the kids are playing during our time off which means that we are really involved in the camp and not just the people working in the kitchen. 

 

To summarize my experience so far has been very positive. I have to work hard but I am also rewarded for that by being treated very well. At times it might be boring and dead out here in the middle of nowhere but I am really excited to continue working for the rest of my weeks here at Camp and getting to know the people and the camp even better. " [Campower}

 

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"Its going great! I wasn't sure what to expect at first, but I'm really enjoying it! The first week I was helping out in the medical center and wasn't enjoying it that much, so I ended up back in the cabins. The staff and everyone are great! Its surprising because a there are a few people who don't live too far away from myself." [Counsellor]
 

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These pages are designed to assist potential and current Camp America applicants. These pages and the views expressed here are not endorsed by Camp America or AIFS. If you find something that is incorrect or feel that something should be added, please contact me. Tim Swale-Jarman