So, you’ve heard all my stories about life at camp, but this is a little story about the confidence working at summer camp has given me.
Those that know me, would know that before my journey with Camp America, I lacked a huge amount of confidence…I never believed in myself, I’d constantly take a step back from situations, the thought of other people’s opinions on me would make me ridiculously anxious, and I’d often let other people do the talking. However, it was when I started studying Travel and Tourism at my local college when I started believing in myself and that’s where it all began (I guess my tutor and the college have something to do with this, but that’s another story). I decided that Camp America definitely was the best idea if I was looking to improve my confidence, learn new skills and of course, have a summer of a lifetime!
I’ve always been a ‘home girl’. Spending just one night away from home used to be a big deal for me – I enjoy the comfort of my own home and being with family (and the dog) so, getting on a plane, travelling across the Atlantic Ocean to spend 3 months in the USA was a big step to make, but it soon became clear that it was the right step to make.
So, how exactly did camp give me confidence, and how can I give you confidence?
Well, a journey with Camp America is an independent journey. Although you make friends really quickly with other applicants, it may be your first journey by yourself. The independence was the first thing that boosted my confidence. Everyone I met in the summer were completely new faces to me, some were completely new to the summer camp experience like myself, and some were returners, but learning off one another is a great way to gain confidence.
When you are at camp, (going back to the independence) you have the responsibility to not only look after yourself, but also for your campers. Yes, it’s important that you look after yourself, but your campers will always come first, and once you’ve got the mindset to challenge yourself and be the responsible role model, summer camp will be a breeze.Of course, you need to be responsible to ensure your unit is on time for activities/meal times, and the responsibility of providing the fun, but you also have the responsibility to deal with different situations. Fussy eater at meal times? You’ve got this. Woken up at 2am when homesickness kicks in? You’ve got this. A camper struggling to make friends and join in? You’ve got this. Believe you can do it and you’ll be surprised at just what you can do.
With each day being a new day, and a new challenge, confidence comes from being prepared and enjoying the excitement of each day. You won’t get confidence unless you challenge yourself and try new things; camp is the perfect opportunity for this. Summer camps are packed with activities so why not try something new this summer, who knows what you’ll find yourself doing, but pushing yourself to do it will definitely give you a boost in confidence.
So, it’s clear that camp is full of opportunities that can give both you as a staff member, or you as a camper a lot more confidence, but how exactly have I been able to show a boost in confidence?
Well, I’m now living independently at univeristy halls of accommodation. I wouldn’t have even thought of this over a year ago, but the confidence I developed from both college and camp, has lead me to experience university life, and although it’s weird being away from home, it’s an amazing experience to have, and you learn to get on with things because there’ll be an amazing outcome by the end.
I’m also a Brand Manager for Camp America now, and this has been the ideal position to allow me to demonstrate my growth in confidence. I’ve met loads of amazing people through Camp America, and we all work together to promote it as a programme, help applicants with their questions and queries, and share our love for camp (who wouldn’t want to do that!). But, part of my role has allowed me to host presentations to college and university groups and the general public. Presentations are something I’ve always avoided in the past and would be my worst nightmare, but since I’ve found confidence, I’ve not only been able to assist with presentations, but also host my own – and I love it!
I didn’t know it was possible to find a home thousands of miles away from my actual home…but with thanks for gaining so much confidence, skills, friendships and memories, I’m proud to call camp my second home – my home away from home.