10 Tips for Brits Working on US Summer Camps

So you’re going to work on a summer camp in America next summer? Well first of all, congratulations on securing your placement. Secondly, don’t panic – I’ve got you covered with a series of posts to help you out in the months before you leave for the US! Make sure you’ve also read my ‘5 Reasons Summer Camp Will Change Your Life‘. This post is going to be top tips for all your Brits venturing into your first summer of being a camp counsellor.

  1. Create an American Amazon account, because it’ll be your first American account, you’ll be eligible to a month free Prime! This comes in SO handy, especially when it’s halfway through summer end all of your plug adaptors have magically disappeared….
  2. Travel wash solution. This one is a lifesaver. Not really, but you’ll thank me later. If your camps were anything like mine, the washing machines leave a lot to be desired, and half the time your socks come out dirtier than they went in… but fear not because you’ll have your travel wash with you. It’s super easy to just run a little water into the sink, add a little bit of the solution and give the essentials a quick wash. It’s perfect for when you realise you’ve run out of underwear the night before and have none for the next morning.
  3. Take photos to decorate your bunk. A lot of staff will take little pieces of home to decorate their bunk with, just to make it a little more personal. I would highly recommend printing off 5-10 photos of your family, friends or anyone that you think you may miss. I always use the app Free Prints (you get up to 45 free prints every months, just pay for delivery!) It’s super nice before bed if you’re feeling a little down, you get to see your loved ones picture up in your bunk.
  4. Take an extra towel (or buy as soon as you get there). Your towel will get dirty and gross, I’m warning you now. Like I said, the washing machines aren’t the best and you won’t have a chance to wash your towel every day so I would definitely recommend having at least 2 towels – or if you’re on a camp near a beach, an extra one for the beach. A flannel is also a Godsend, dust from camp will get everywhere and it’s so difficult to get off.
  5. Get a sim card that will work in the US. I wouldn’t necessarily get an American sim card, as they can be quite expensive. Instead I’d recommend shopping around in the UK for deals that allow you to use your phone overseas. I use Three, their sim cards work overseas at no extra cost and I never experienced any issues with signal. If, like me, you’re on a contract on your phone in the UK, talk to your provider and see if they have any deals they can give you, or if all else fails, just get a cheaper sim for America! Being able to use your phone will come in really hand when you’re off camp or traveling afterwards.
  6. Everything is more expensive in the US. This one may sound rather vague, but what I’m trying to say is fit everything you can into your luggage to avoid paying more to buy things out there. Simple things such as paracetamol, or suncream – you’ll regret not taking the essentials that are cheap to buy over here!
  7. Talk to your family. For me, I didn’t get homesick and you may find you won’t either. From the point of view of a summer camp counsellor, you won’t have much down time to be sat there alone missing home. However, they will have a lot more time to be missing you, so just make sure you find some time at least twice a week to schedule a Facetime/Skype call just to let them know how you’re doing and let them talk to your for a little bit.
  8. Make sure you’re drinking plenty of water. It is so easy to get dehydrated on camp and the irony is you’ll spend so much of your time making sure your kids are drinking that you’ll forget to drink water yourself. But your health is just as important as their’s so make sure you’re drinking loads of water. Your camp may provide you with a water bottle but I would recommend taking one with you just incase.
  9. You will have down days. Summer camp is amazing, but it’s not a fantasy… in fact it’s a very real environment. Some days will be challenging, some kids will be tough, you will probably have days when you just feel down and fed up, much like you do at home. Everything is intensified in a situation like camp. It’s rewarding don’t get me wrong, but do be prepared to have a few down days. It’s totally normal. No one is going to be happy 24/7, and that’s ok!
  10. HAVE FUN. Honestly, this is the most important tip. Say yes to everything (as long as it’s safe and legal…) Go out with your new friends, try new things, eat weird foods, take risks, just enjoy yourself. You’ll find it weird at first and you’ll probabky think the other counsellors that have done it before are mad, and honestly they probably are but give it a week or two and you’ll be eactly the same. Your time on summer camp is going to be the best summer of your life, so just enjoy it!

I hope you found this post helpful, if you have any questions, or have some suggestions of your own, don’t forget to leave me a comment! I may do another post on essential things you have to take with you to camp, so keep your eyes peeled for that.

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