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Drama Specialist
About the placement/internship

Why did you decide to do a placement/internship?

Last summer I ended up working at a job I hated just to save up some money, and it dawned on me that I have more freedom within my summers now than I ever will after University finishes. This provoked me to look into some abroad placements I could do.

How did you find your placement/internship?

Through family or friends

Application process

Most of the application is done online. You fill out information regarding your skills and experience in those skills so that Camp America can match your skills to a camp. Then you go for an interview with a CA representative and confirm your identity. After that it's a waiting game, either you wait for a camp to hire you, or you wait for the recruitment fair. I went to the recruitment fair as I'm impatient. I was walking around, looking at all the stalls and heading over to my first choice camp. As I waited in line to speak to the camp representatives, I glanced over at the stall next to me. They were looking for a drama specialist - which was what I intended to do. I started talking to Jen and ended up getting hired by her there and then.

Main responsibilities

Looking after kids, getting kids engaged with the activities, dealing with difficult issues regarding children, providing a fun and stimulating activity when the kids came to drama, putting on a show in two and a half weeks with the drama specialty kids, getting props, writing and editing scripts, auditioning and casting, attending all meals, reporting to a supervisor

Typical day

The day starts at 7.30am, if I'm not woken up by screaming children it's by a woodpecker knocking on my door or footsteps of an unidentified animal. I get ready for the day and head down to breakfast. I eat the semi-edible camp food, but remember I've packed snacks in my day bag for the mornings that I need extra fuel. After breakfast I head to the sunny gazebo where my drama lessons are held, I have a group of about 8-14 kids that I have to entertain for an hour. I start them off by playing a game they choose to play, usually one called 'mafia' or 'psychiatrist'. Once this has got them energised, we start the drama lesson. Whether I'm getting them to create advertisements for camp or act a scene from Romeo and Juliet - there are some smiles and some children refusing to participant. This becomes the norm, unfortunately not every child likes to perform. After the group finishes I head down to the gaga pit to round up the drama speciality children. These are the kids that have specifically chosen to do drama 8 extra hours a week. Drama speciality are in charge of putting on the all camp show which takes place in the last week of the session. We head over to the Eddie Cantor Theatre and rehearse. After this is lunch, followed by more groups, dinner, and then usually an evening activity. The evening activities vary: bingo, riff offs, campfires and smores - there's a lot of fun going on. The day ends at 9.30pm when the kids go to bed. Some counsellors choose to go out if they aren't on shmira (a post to watch the kids) but I was always a fan of the early night.

What did I enjoy about my placement/internship?

I met people from all over the world. Of course, not everyone you meet is going to be your new best friend, but I can honestly say that some of the people I met this summer are going to be a part of my life forever. Australia, Israel, Ireland - we all came together to work here and create amazing memories.

Challenging aspects

When you're spending 8 weeks straight with some people it can be tough. Throughout my placement I went through difficult times, not so much with myself, but other people's issues which affected me. About 6 weeks in, my best friend at camp had a seizure and had to go to hospital. It was a scary couple days, but it really taught me how to separate my personal life from my work life (something I've always struggled with). When I wasn't visiting her at the hospital, I had to go on with my job and act as if nothing had happened because I didn't want to worry or upset the kids. This was a challenge for me because I was worrying most of the time. My friend ended up having to go home early which was a shame. As well as this, one of my favourite campers (we aren't supposed to have favourites - but everyone does!) unfortunately lost his father three days before the end of camp. It was heartbreaking to see him leave early, and consoling him was very tough, but I was extremely proud of

Has your time on placement influenced your future career choice?

Possibly. This summer has taught me that kids, especially teenagers, respond very well to me.

Form completed: 20 Aug 2017

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