Summer is Over

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Summer is officially over. As I’ve been gone for some time, I wrote this small blog post for Camp Leaders, so potential applicants could see a ‘true’ story about summer camp in America.

I was hired at a girl scout camp in Virginia as a lifeguard. Both girl lifeguarding and being a girl scout were completely new to me, so I had no idea what I was letting myself in for. Before I left for the USA I trained as a lifeguard on the camp leaders ARC course. This was a brilliant week of meeting like minded people, and it also answered many of questions that I had about camp. 

I left for the states on the 10th June, not knowing too much about what camp life would really be like. When I arrived I stayed with a host family so I could get over my jetlag and ease into American culture. They were some of the best people I met during my time there. They picked me up from the airport, took us out sightseeing and for dinner, picked us up on our weekends off so we could have a little break from camp life, and looked after us before we flew home. They were so welcoming, and as they were a family that had attended the camp themselves before, they definitely settled any nerves! 

The camp itself was very basic. We had no electricity, no flushing toilets and lived in platform tents. The experience itself was a challenge, especially when it came to removing spiders or seeing a snake every now and then. But having everything so basic, made me more appreciative of everything that I have at home! 

Our day to day routine was very similar to other camps. We would get up around 7, attend flag, go to breakfast and then the activities would start. Being waterfront staff, meant that I got to spend my entire day at the waterfront, taking part in the activities. These included swimming, kayaking, sailing and windsurfing. The campers go to experience a lot of the waterfront, as well as arts and crafts, but we always had some crazy all camp games to end the day. We also had fantastic themed weeks, such as pirates, the hunger games and harry potter, which was obviously very popular!  

After an amazing 9 weeks, saying goodbye to 24 of the best people I could have ever met was so difficult. Camp friendships are a little different as you are not only friends, but you’re also your own little family. I can now say that I have friends all over the world thanks to camp in America. 

I was lucky enough to travel after camp for 3 weeks. in this time I went too Florida, San Diego, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Las Vegas, Washington DC and New York. I got to visit some beautiful places, and experience things I never thought I would.  

If anyone is in two minds about whether they should apply or not, my advice would be to go for it! You will not regret a single minute when you are at camp and it will be the best experience of your life. 

The Countdown is On!


Recently I’ve become a bit lazy (again) when it comes to updating this blog. I’ve been so busy, I’ve even ticked two things off my bucket list!!

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In August of last year, I had a telephone interview for this coming summer when I was asked the question, “how well can you swim?”. Now, I’m a pretty good person, but I may have told a sneaky white lie and said, “really well/I love it/ Its my favourite sport”. Which then backfired on me when they immediately signed me up for a life guarding course for this year.

I somehow managed to convince myself, that I would swim every single day for 30 minutes, gradually building up my time, speed and distance for the next 6 months. Then somehow, I may pass all my prerequisites. How hard could it be right?!?!

Well. Lets just say when I saw the list of prerequisites, I could have just cried. Sad tears of course, not happy ones. But it was something I had thought about gaining previously, and having been hired on the basis of actually being a life guard already, I didn’t have a lot of choice.

Let me just say, that if you ever seriously want to do this qualification, you are crazy. But in a good way. Because it will wreck your body and social life, like no other.

I gave up nights out, afternoon lunch dates with my best friends and ended up being so tired that I was in bed by 8pm every night. For 5 months. In the beginning, it was genuinly a nightmare, and I considered giving up before I had even begun thousands of times. Luckily, I have several amazingly supportive friends, who understood and actually forced me to train/listened to me cry down the phone about how I was about to fail. One of them can’t even swim, and physically got in the pool with me. That’s how much I love them with all my heart.

But you know what time does. It literally creeps up on you and out of no where my course date had arrived. That first day, felt like I was starting school all over again. I had met 3 girls , one in my hotel, one the night before, and one in the pool waiting room, so we all crapped ourselves together. You know when you get that ultimate fear of, ‘ i wish i had actually practiced that more’ going round and round? Well, that was going round in my brain at 60mph.

But somehow I swam my distance in the quickest time I’ve ever swam, picked up a stupidly heavy brick off the floor with no problem & tread water like it was the most natural thing in the world. The one thing that completely threw me, was an underwater swim. The biggest thing for me, was confidence and knowing it was mind over matter. Which luckily, it was. And even though it took me 3 attempts, I did it. The best bit about that whole part? Having the amazing group literally behind me the whole time. Also slightly embarrassing now though. No one wants to be cheered, or clapped at when you look like a dying whale.

Obviously, it was by far the hardest 5 days of my life. I’ve never eaten so many Subways before, or ready made porridge. I came home with a cracked rib from backboarding, covered head to toe in bruises and a massive scar in the middle of my hand. But the one thing I realised that they never actually told me before I went, was that I would meet some amazing people. The best part, is that we’re all still in touch, there are summer plans in the states & we have a massive night out coming up.

So the countdown is on!! 59 days and I’ll be 100% life guarding in the states.

 

Everyone Needs A Bucket List

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Over the last few weeks I’ve been so focused on planning my trips to Paris, America and Thailand that got me thinking, I haven’t physically written down my bucket list. And I guess I should do that before I leave the country, so I know what I’m partly going to work towards.

So here it is. So far anyway. I’ll keep updating it the more I think about it, and post about it when I’ve completed one.

‘The’ Bucket List

  1. Visit at least one country per continent.
  2. Skydive.
  3. Get my diving license.
  4. Dive in the Seychelles
  5. Island hop Fiji
  6. Get my lifeguard qualification!!!
  7. Go on safari
  8. Ride an elephant.
  9. Teach English as a foreign language (haven’t set my heart on a destination quite yet)
  10. Ride in a hot air balloon
  11. Swim with dolphins
  12. Drive on route 66
  13. Gamble in Vegas (and party harrrrrd)
  14. Learn to surf
  15. Then teach surfing
  16. Road trip the USA (in planning)
  17. Just get on a plane and go
  18. Go tubing
  19. Drink tequila in Mexico
  20. Work a season in Canada
  21. Learn to ski/go skiing
  22. White water raft
  23. Lay on Koh Samui beach
  24. Go to a full moon party
  25. Go tubing
  26. Ride an overnight train
  27. Bungee jump
  28. Camp out at the Grand Canyon
  29. Inter-rail Europe
  30. Walk the Inca Trail
  31. Visit the Rio carnival
  32. New York for New Year
  33. Get over my horrific fear of snakes. (never going to happen)
  34. Husky ride for charity challenge
  35. Keep a travel blog
  36. Go to the top of the Eiffle Tower
  37. See the Northern Lights

Ok, so this is all I have for now, but its enough to keep me busy and get planning. Whats on your bucket list?

How to make a Camp Leaders video

I’ve been meaning to post this for a loooooong time, so here it is!

After being fortunate enough to be placed at a camp at the beginning of November, I still find myself checking the Camp Leaders facebook page at least 10 times a day. I’m not 100% sure as to why yet! But I read all the comments in hope that I can write something here that will help future applicants out. One thing that has really stood out to me, is people asking about the compulsory video.

So after filling in what feels like the longest application form in the world, and got to the next stage – Woohoo! –  you then receive the email about making ‘that’ video. Yup. And let me guess, you have absolutely no idea where to even begin? Exactly. So lets start with the basics.

The only scary thing about making a video, is how you’re going to be perceived by others. And yes, I understand that you can look like an absolute nutter and it is cemented on the internet for everyone to see, but just think of the end result. You’ll be doing something you love and getting paid for it.

Start with a solid intro. Tell everyone who you are and your reason behind what they’re about to witness.

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The key to the video is to have fun. It only needs to be a minute and a half long, so look at your list of top skills and get brainstorming. Think about how you can show these off as quickly as possible, whilst looking so energetic at the same time. Try and make it as unique as possible. Don’t just chuck a load of old photos of you in different places, with a group of children, you at a bake sale etc and turn it into a slideshow. Get ultra creative. Show that you’re willing to put all the work in because after all, you’re about to put a hell of a lot more work in when you get to camp.

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And don’t forget to film a closing line! Thank everyone for watching and tell them how much you can’t wait for the summer working with them. And don’t forget to reallllly think about that all important song for your video!

Remember, you’ll be working with children and your future employer is potentially about to see absolutely everything you put into it. Not only that, check your YouTube channel. Clear that up! Set your videos to private if they’re a little inappropriate. You wouldn’t want your boss to see you or your mates getting wild in a club on a Saturday night now would they? Nahhhh.

After watching my video back a stupid number of times, there are hundreds of changes I would make, but if I looked at it and thought it was perfect, it wouldn’t have reflected my personality and style. I’m just glad my best friend was there holding that camera  because she’s probably the only other person in the world that understands how crazy it can be.

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Thanks Clo 🙂