Mario worked as a general counsellor at a summer camp in New York during summer 2019. Read on for trips to NYC, BBQs and dancing like a cowboy!
I decided to work at camp because it has been something that I have dreamed of doing for years but I never had the courage to do so until this year. I always felt that having an opportunity like this would be incredible and I knew that it would be an experience that I would remember for the rest of my life.
My role at camp was a cabin councillor. This role entailed me living with a group of boys who I would be responsible for, I would take them round their activities, make sure they are having the best time and make sure that they are looking after themselves. In my opinion Cabin councillors have the best job at camp you get involved with everything and you get the opportunity to build a great relationship with your campers. The kids see you as a big brother and that’s what it feels like the relationship you build with them is amazing and it makes the job so much better.
My favourite food at camp is easily BBQ Wednesdays, this was one of my highlights of every week. Every Wednesday we had a BBQ there was hotdogs, burgers, corn on the cob and so much more it was easily my favourite meal which is saying something because we had such a great variety to chose from every day.
My favourite camp song is the Echo Song. The whole camp would sing this after campership every Sunday night and it was a great way to round off the week. It brought everyone together and it just made us feel like one big family.
My favourite bunk activity is a hard one to choose from I learned at least about 20 new card games that I never knew existed until camp. However, my favourite of all time would be Zimmy Zimmy we would play this for hours and it always got competitive not only between the kids but the staff too, but it brought us closer together and we got a few laughs from playing it.
My favourite evening activity was 100% the hypnotist show, my campers were so excited about this and they were telling me that I need to be a volunteer on the show which I was totally against at first. However, after hours of my kids telling me that I had to get hypnotised I finally gave into the pressure and volunteered for the show not knowing what to expect as I have never been hypnotised before. The hypnotist brought me and other staff members on stage and before you know it, I was dancing on stage like a cow boy, I licked my own shoe and performed on Americas Got Talent Final or so I thought. When the hypnotist snapped his finger and I was back to normal my kids couldn’t stop laughing at me and I had no idea why until they informed me of all the embarrassing things, I did that night.
My favourite special event was Olympics this was a great way to spend the last week the whole camp split into two teams competing against each other in a competitive but friendly environment. This event made my summer as it brought me closer to so many staff members and many more campers who I had the privilege to work with. I always remember watching videos of the camp Olympics before I arrived at my camp and I knew that it would be an amazing event to participate in. it also made it better that my co councillor and close friend of mine was the captain of our team and we won.
I learned so many new skills at camp I think the main one was being organised when your working at camp organisation is key when you have places to be and certain times that you need to be there for you need to be on the ball and it’s something that I got better at as time went on.
The one thing that I couldn’t live without at camp was a water bottle, I know that sounds crazy, but I honestly mean it. Working in hot conditions for long periods especially when your running about and being active all the time hydration is key. The amount of times I lost my water bottle was ridiculous and it always sent me into panic mode, but It always found its way back to me.
The main things that I packed a lot of were socks and underwear, these are things that you end up using a lot of so its always important to pack a lot. As for everything else I would try not to pack excessive amounts always try and be realistic remember that you have a camp uniform and there is usually a laundry system depending what camp you go to.
Things I wouldn’t pack would be anything that you would consider heavy so I wouldn’t pack a lot of jeans 1 or 2 pairs will be enough same goes with hoodies and sweatshirts. I would always try and think about the quantity of clothes I would bring I would avoid packing too much of the same stuff with exception of socks and underwear.
My advice for the Wild Packs process would be when you have stuff to complete it is easier to do so when they give you it instead of leaving it for a while. Always remember that the staff at Wild Packs are there to give you support and guidance when you need it. Don’t be scared to ask for help they are a very supportive group who are patient and are willing to help and give any advice. Overall, I would say to try and complete anything they give you straight away as it gives you more time to be placed at camp and it also means that you won’t be stressing about the longer you leave it.
I had so may great days off, some days we spent going to lakes and beaches other days we spent going to see different places. My advice for days off is to keep in mind that you need to be able to come back to camp the next day refreshed and ready to go so I wouldn’t plan any spontaneous adventures even though I did it my self its not worth it when you come back to camp even more exhausted than you originally were. Always have it in the back of your mind that when camp is over you can plan all the trips you want and go see the amazing places.
There are so many places to travel in America the one place that I would say is a must is New York City. Such an amazing place that never gets boring there is so much to do one thing that I would highly recommend to anyone going to new York city would be doing the top of the rocks at night time, you get to see the whole of New York lit up and it was definitely one of the most breath taking views I have ever and will probably ever see in my life.
My top travel tip would be to make sure you are travelling with someone. The reason for this is that it’s safer for a start and you will find it easier and cheaper to find places to stay if you are travelling in a group then that’s even better. Always remember to try and budget as you don’t want to be in a position where you are running low on money so spend responsibly.
One thing I would say to myself that I know now that I didn’t before at camp would be, to be patient sometimes at camp you have bad days were you get stressed out and you start to get down but the thing that I learned is that they are very rare and you have so many great people around you who will pick you up in seconds and change your whole day.
The hardest challenge at camp for me was being away from home. The reason why I found this difficult was because it was my first time away from everyone back home and it felt different at first but you begin to notice that when you settle in and get into a routine it becomes normal and as I said if you ever have days where you miss home there are so many great people who will go out of their way to cheer you up and make you happy.
The thing that surprised me most about camp was the togetherness. Everyone at camp new everyone no matter what job you had were you were from or what gender you were anytime you walked by someone you would always stop and say hi and ask how their day was it was something that I really loved and it made us feel like one huge family. Another thing that really surprised me about camp was how amazing it was to not be on my phone 24/7 it allowed me to focus so much more on all that I had going on and I got so much done it was incredible, it was also just a great feeling to enjoy every moment I had there without the use of my phone.
My main highlight from camp was the friendships I made the people at camp are the most amazing people and I now have formed friendships with people from different parts of the world which is incredible, and I keep in touch on a regular basis. The overall experience and friendships I made as well as the relationship I built with my campers just made it so much better and it was the summer of my life and I will be forever grateful I had the opportunity.