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Soccer Specialist
About the placement/internship

Why did you decide to do a placement/internship?

My sister had participated in the Camp America program for the previous two Summers at a camp in Massachusetts; it was her positive experiences and encouragement that made me decide on doing this placement. I also have ambitions of being a teacher in the future and I realised that working at a camp would give me relevant work experience in this field of work.

How did you find your placement/internship?

Through family or friends

Application process

Applying for this placement was done through the Camp America organisation, via their online application process. This required me to input information about myself such as skills that were relevant to the position that I was applying for and also to answer a number of questions such as describing my motivation for applying for the placement.

Main responsibilities

Before and after the main camp day, myself and 7 other staff members were responsible for the supervision of a group of 20-30 children who would be dropped off early to camp and also remained later after camp. We had to occupy these children with games and activities during this time.
During the main camp day I was a Soccer Specialist, responsible for coaching approximately 120 kids of ages 4-16 years old in separate groups of 10-15 campers for sessions that would last 30-60 minutes. This required me to do lesson plans a week in advance of the sessions, and to provide fun and engaging soccer activities for the campers to participate in.
Occasionally our responsibilities also included being a 'Bus Counsellor' before and after the main camp day. This required us to board the bus that would collect and drop off the children and to entertain and supervise them on their trip to and from camp.

Typical day

7-8:45am - Myself and 7 other members of staff would occupy 20-30 campers before the main camp day started by playing typical American backyard games such as 'wall-ball', '9-square' and 'kickball'.
9am-3:30pm - During the main camp day I was one of 3 Soccer Specialists at camp. I would coach children mainly in the age range 4-8 years old, but would also referee competitive in-camp 'Sports League' matches between campers aged 10-16 years old.
3:45-6pm - Myself and 7 other members of staff would resume our roles supervising and playing with the children who remained after the normal camp day had finished.

What did I enjoy about my placement/internship?

I really enjoyed getting to make friends with all of the staff members at the camp. I made some really good friends during my time at Lakeview and I will cherish the time that I spent with them.
I also enjoyed the challenge of working with children from a different country and culture to that of my own. At times this was difficult and tested my resolve, but adapting my methods of coaching and the reward of seeing the campers enjoying themselves participating in my sessions made it worthwhile.

Challenging aspects

As said above, working with children from a different culture was somewhat difficult. Methods that worked well in England for coaching soccer didn't necessarily work as effectively in the USA, and I had to seek the help of an experienced staff member as well as adapting my methods to overcome this problem.
As the placement was abroad I also found it difficult to maintain in good contact with my friends and family back home. This was something that didn't improve as my time on placement progressed, and is something that I would try harder to change in hindsight.

Did you use any skills learned from your course?

Good time management helped me to balance time between tasks such as planning lessons and social activities throughout the week.
Teamwork skills learned from the labs and from group project work in Chemistry also helped me to be a sociable and effective member of the staff team.

Has your time on placement influenced your future career choice?

Yes, I wanted to use this placement to help me to decide whether a career in teaching could be for me in the future and after completing it I believe that this could be a real possibility.

Advice to students

My piece of advice to students

Commit to writing a short journal entry every day to help you to remember the activities that you have partaken in. This will help you with any reflective tasks after the placement has concluded and will also serve as helping to retain any good memories that you have of the placement.

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Form completed: 08 Sep 2017

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