My name is Emer and this past summer I had my first experience working as a camp counselor at Y Country Camp in Quebec, Canada!
Now you may be thinking – Canada? I thought summer camps were an American thing? While, yes, most people associate summer camp with America, but there’s a whole load of summer camps right across the great white north that are just as amazing, fun and memorable as they are down south. The added bonus of working in Canada is that the application process is much easier and it’s so unique!
When I started my application, I didn’t really know what I was getting myself in for. After watching every YouTube video and reading every blog post I could get my hands on, I started to get very excited about my summer overseas. With my application filled in all I had to do was wait for a placement. I eventually did get that email and after a skype interview with the camp director, I was well on my way to an amazing summer in Canada. CCUSA were kind enough to organise a two day orientation in Montreal where myself and the other staff going to YCC stayed in a hostel in the centre of the city, opened our bank accounts and got our SIN numbers. It was so great to get time to adjust and get over jet lag before we went to camp but the best thing about it was getting to meet the people I’d be spending my summer with. It really put me at ease knowing I wouldn’t be going into camp alone.
Y country camp is a traditional Jewish summer camp in the Laurentians, surrounded by mountains and lakes. I was apprehensive at first about working at a Jewish camp considering I’m not Jewish myself, but that was never an issue, everyone was very respectful of different people’s beliefs and it was so interesting learning about a whole other culture. At the end of the day, my camp experience wasn’t a whole lot different to anyone else’s just because I was at a Jewish camp, we still had colour wars, cookouts and campfires – only difference was that our marshmallows and hot dogs were kosher!
I was a general counselor in Rocky Point Girls, the youngest unit in camp, meaning I got to spend my days with the girls at all their activities, really getting to know them and bonding with them while being able to do all the amazing activities they get to do every day. It really was so rewarding being able to be these kids go-to person, whether they’ve had a nightmare or want to show of the new skill they’ve learnt. These campers really look up to you and it’s such an amazing feeling. The campers will learn so much from you, but you’ll learn just as much from them, you’ll be surprised at how intelligent and insightful some nine year olds can be.
The friends I had at camp really made the experience what it was. It’s incredible how quickly you bond with people when you’re all in the same situation, we became a tight knit family in no time. Whether it was someone to sing and dance with in the dining hall or someone to provide a shoulder to cry on when you’re missing home or having a bad day – these people will be there through thick and thin for you.
Essentially, camp is an experience like no other. It’s 2-3 months of your life that feel like a lifetime. It’s a beautiful, picturesque place that feels like a maze at first but soon becomes as familiar as the back of your hand. It’s inside jokes and camp lingo that’ll leave your family and friends thinking you’re speaking another language. And, yes, its hard work. It’s long hours and tireless kids who will work you harder than you’ve worked before but it’s also rewarding, memorable and worth it in every way possible.
If you’re thinking about going to camp, all I can say is it’s not something you’ll regret doing. Take your summer into your own hands and do something worthwhile and memorable. And if you are going, CCUSA really are the best company to go with. I felt so supported the whole way, the CCUSA team really do care about every participant and they work so hard to make sure you have the best summer possible.
So go and apply now for the best summer ever!