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Camp Counsellor
About the placement/internship

Why did you decide to do a placement/internship?

My summer was looking pretty bland and empty, with no real plans ahead of me. Going on holiday seemed fun, but it was both expensive and wasn't really what I was looking for. Camp offered a challenging, busy and rewarding summer for me, giving me the chance to not only travel and see another country but also to work and experience another culture.

How did you find your placement/internship?

Organisation website

Application process

Like a CV, I entered all past work, experiences and skills into an online database. I was interviewed, had to apply for a DBS check and even Skype called so that I could be placed at the right camp.

Main responsibilities

I was an outdoors specialist, meaning I ran daily activities such as survival skills, knot tying and also worked with the animals at camp, teaching kids how to look after and care for them. I was also a general counsellor when not doing these activities, which meant looking after 6-8 boys in a bunk. From 7am to 1am I was in charge of looking after them, keeping them safe and also ensuring they had an incredible summer.

Typical day

Wake up would be around 7:30am, followed by flagpole, breakfast and then a cleaning up period. After that the kids would have elective periods, where I would either go to run outdoor activities or I would be assigned to help other counsellors running their speciality areas. This could be anything from the adventure course, to the pool to even ceramics. At meal times I would sit with the bunk, chatting with them about their day and ensuring they were eating. In the evening we would run awesome activities, such as capture the flag, total wipeout on the lake, lip-sync and water balloon fights. Lights out was 9:45pm, but even then we had to stay up till 12:55am on duty to ensure the kids were looked after.

What did I enjoy about my placement/internship?

Meeting and experiencing so many different cultures. Not only was I welcomed at the Jewish camp, but I learnt a huge amount about the customs and practices, such as eating Kosher throughout my entire placement and going to Shabbat services. I also met people from Australia, New Zealand, Poland, Ireland, Scotland and even Israel, who all brought something unique to the camp.

Challenging aspects

Working such long days was very challenging, but most of all was having your freedoms limited. Most evenings you had to stay in camp and days off were limited. You had a lot of responsibilities and expectations and thus you couldn't just give up or lose concentration. Evenings off were looked forward to and enjoyed!

Did you use any skills learned from your course?

Politics gives you a good ability to discuss and work with people, without resorting to arguing or confrontation. This became very useful when dealing with young children, as arguing with them often got you nowhere. Instead, just like politics, you had to find consensus and compromise.

Has your time on placement influenced your future career choice?

Hugely. Before I had never really considered education or working with children, but after having such a rewarding and fun summer, to not work with children again seems bizarre. They offered a break from the boredom and maturity of adult life and allowed you to feel like a child all over again.

Advice to students

My piece of advice to students

If you want a rewarding and unforgettable summer, camp is the place for you. Its hard work and demanding, but the payoff of meeting so many incredible people and changing so many children's summer was definitely worth it

Other comments

Going to a Jewish camp (or any alternative religion to your own) may seem daunting to those who have never experienced Jewish life, but there was no better way to truly understand the religion and the people who practice it. They embraced all who wanted to take part and never alienated anyone, no matter their religion,

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Form completed: 05 Sep 2017

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