When I was at college I had found a postcard for a company called ‘Camp America.’ As soon as I saw it I knew it is something I wanted to do. It involved working at an US summer camp and as I was studying childcare and had always wanted to travel, I knew it was for me, the only problem…I was 16 and you had to be 18. Plenty of time to save up I thought.
Did I go when I was 18? No. I had just started a job which I loved and I wanted more experience there before I did anything else. A few years went by and I thought it was now or never and that’s what I did. I waited for the registration to open in August 2008, when I was 20 years old and I hit apply.
Everything was done online. All of the application process was quick and simple. If you had any problems you could phone or email the Camp America team, luckily for me everything went smoothly. I had an interview a month or so later, although this was really me only being asked why I wanted to do it and what to expect. It was an informal interview in a Starbucks. Nothing to be worried about even though that’s exactly what I had done before I got there.
I then waited to see if a camp would like me to work with them. Then in December I received an email directly from a camp in Massachusetts. I had a look at their website and it seemed like the perfect camp for me, It didn’t seem too big. I think I would have felt lost if I had gone to a large camp. After a couple of emails back and forth it was then time to finalise the contract and start the visa process. I also found this straight forward, I had to go to the US embassy in London and I made a weekend out of it with some of my family. We were told we could be waiting a few hours in the embassy, I think I was in and out in 30 minutes. Bonus! More time to sight see. I can’t remember too much of what happened between this and actually going to camp.
My work place were kind enough to offer me a leave of absence which allowed me to go back and work there after I had been to camp. I was fortunate enough to love my job and so with guidance from my manager I asked for the leave of absence which was granted.
I then flew to America. By myself. For the first time. Little me. I can be a shy and quiet person, especially back then. I don’t think I am too bad now apart from when I first meet someone. I can be open and loud with some and then quiet with others. I went to America on my own. This is a place I had always wanted to go. For as long as I can remember and I made it happen.
Again, everything went smoothly. I was met at the airport by a Camp America worker and there were other people on my flight going to different USA camps. We then went to a hotel and were told about our onward travel. I had to leave at 4.30am the next morning. I woke up and then went on a coach to the Port Authority Bus Terminal in New York. We got there not long after 5am and there were so many people walking about that it was true to its name ‘The City That Never Sleeps.’ I waited with a few others for my bus to Massachusetts. A few hours later and I was there. Great Barrington, MA.