The American summer camp experience
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“Wow, £350 for a three month trip to America!! That’s amazing!” is a chime that seems to echo all over the country for thousands of British students as they plan to spend their summers in the beautiful warmths of the USA. Working at a summer camp to so many of us seems like the most amazing way to spend the three long months in between terms at uni. I suppose many people have heard stories about it or watched Beaver Falls and thought “I am definitely doing that next year!” If you are thinking about it then read on and take my advice. Undeniably the American camp experience is…well, an experience. Is it really the ultimate summer it is depicted to be? For some maybe, however for others a harsh reality waits alongside the rush of heat that meets them on the runway. Firstly my advice is to check out your sponsor company. Whilst they may seem reputable, they are in fact all out to take a huge cut of your highly deserved wage. They fail to tell you about all the extra little costs that pop up along the way - some may charge you up to £70 extra just for you to fly from your local airport. Trust me when I tell you to phone around the companies, ask them of all the charges and add them up because in reality, you will pay a far cry from the original £350 promised to you. You also need to find out how much of a percentage they take from your wage because when you get to camp, you quickly realise that although your contract may state not to discuss wages with other staff, it will come out and you may be left far shorter than others down to your sponsor company. Your next step is to check out your camp. Do not fall into the trap of “a camp finally wants me, so I’ll just accept it just in case I don’t get chosen elsewhere.” Many people do, including me. I was placed at a camp that was reputable, however it had extended and was doing various different camps in new places. It was slow starting and highly disorganised. Luckily we were all enthused enough to make it work, despite the fact that there were too many children and not enough staff (a ratio well worth finding out before accepting placement.)
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