I think I have filled in the application for camp America 5 times now but this was the first year I actually sent it off. For all of my summers in between school, uni and now I put my career first and went for design internships. Now that I have a year and a half of work under my belt and I’m taking a few months out to go traveling, it was finally the right time to give Camp America a proper try. The application process was simple and their website helped you through every step of the way but I thought I would just give a brief summary of what I had to do and how I ended up getting placed at a camp.
Of all the years that I have filled in the Camp America, this year was definitely the easiest. They split the form up into 7 clear categories…
- Skills – Fill in 3 or more skills that you have that you would like to teach or be involved in at camp. I went for arts and drama based things but you can do anything from sports to cooking skills.
- Availability – This is the date you can leave to go to camp and the day you have to be back for. The longer your availability is the higher chance you have of getting a place.
- About Me – It is exactly what it says on the tin and covers other key experiences you need to go to camp like childcare experience, what languages you speak and if you have a driving license.
- Camp Options – This is where you can pick the kind of camp you want to go to. Whether you are after the proper parent-trap wilderness experience or if a religious camp is up your street this is where you can decide what you want to get out of camp.
- Education & Work History
- Contact details
If you progress through this round then other sections open up such as Medical questions and passport details.
Pictures & Videos
If there is anything I can recommend it would be to make a video! I know it can be quite embarrassing to sit in front of a camera but this is the best way to get attention of camps. It doesn’t have to be long and it can be as creative as you like but just get across your bubbly personality and what key skills you can bring forward. If you don’t feel comfortable with that then add lots of action photos doing what you have said you can do, such as pictures of you playing sport or examples of art work you have done.
You need 2 references from anyone that can vouch for you but isn’t a relative. This can be a manager at work, a teacher from uni/school or a leader in a club you work at, for example. I asked my uni tutor and one of my managers at work to do it which all worked perfectly well!
You have to pay an application fee to begin with of around £180. As you progress more fees come though such as assessment and confirmation fees which all together add up to £214.
You get paid at camps but the amount varies from camp to camp and your food and accommodation will often be covered. This means the only other additional fees would be flights and any excursions you want to go on when you’re at the camp.
If your application is successful then you will have to go for a short interview with a member of the Camp America team local to you. I met my interviewer in a cafe in London and it lasted for around an hour. One thing I really want to stress is this is nothing to worry about, they are on your side and want to help you get to camp! We essentially built upon my application and she wanted to get a better grasp of my personality. I had a chance to ask her lots of questions about her own experience at camp and it ultimately felt like more of a chat with a friend than a serious interview.
After you interview you will need to print off and get your doctor to fill in a short medical form. GPs can be very busy so make sure you give yourself plenty of time for this!
The wait begins…
After all this it is time to wait for any requests from camps to come through. If you want the best chance of getting seen then make sure you
- have skills down that you have plenty of strong experience in
- get photos/videos up
- change your preferences to all types of camps (but remember you have to go so make sure it is something you will still enjoy/feel comfortable at)
If it all works out you may get an email from a camp asking for a Skype interview!
With the time difference between England and America, my interview was one evening after work. Be sure to do lots of research into the camp before you go so you can ask plenty of questions about them and see if it is the right fit for you. My interview lasted about an hour and they asked me about my skills, my personality, what I want out of a camp and why I wanted to go to their camp specifically. I think it is important to stay be relaxed and, as cliche as it sounds, just be yourself. I was offered the job of Photography Specialist from the camp at the end of my interview and of course I accepted. From here I was sent a conformation email where I had to formally accept the offer.
After you have been placed at a camp the last stages are getting your flights and Visa sorted. I haven’t actually got around to these steps yet so I can’t be of much assistance but I did receive a really helpful information pack from Camp America explaining all the stages of applying for a Visa. Once I have done it all I will be sure to update this post!
I know this seems like a lot of stages but I promise none of them take long to do and it is all worth it for that feeling you get when an offer from a camp comes through! If you have any other questions please feel free to ask them below.
Go and grab another cuppa on me, Em x
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