Thinking of spending your summer at a camp in the USA? Ruairi McLarnon, BA Drama, participated in the Americamp Summer Scheme. Here are his top memories from an unforgettable summer.
THE FLIGHT AND BOSTON!
Flying to America and Arriving in Boston was one of the most unforgettable experiences! Having only met some of the people I’d be spending the summer with (who would soon be lifelong friends), there is always the fear that you are going to arrive and realise ‘oh no what have I done’ and believe me there were a few of those moments but the positives far outweigh the nerves. Arriving at our accommodation in Boston and meeting other people who would be attending the same camp and other camps was incredible. Meeting people from the rest of Ireland, Mexico, Spain, England, Greece meant you really didn’t have time to get overwhelmed!
ARRIVING AT CAMP!
After taking the bus from Boston to New Hampshire we arrived at camp! After a welcome talk in the dining Hall we were assigned our cabins. As we arrived in the evening it had gotten dark earlier than it does here, and one of my vivid memories was walking through the forest to our cabin in the pitch black, narrowly avoiding frogs and rocks. The cabin was brilliant but very rustic. No locked doors or glass in the windows just a screen to keep out the bugs, no bathroom. That night we got to know each other and meet more people who we would be working with. I distinctly remember sitting under the stars chatting with everyone!
Depending on your camp, you may have staff week which is the week before kids arrive, and you have time to settle into the camp. This was one of the best weeks of my life but also one of the hardest. You spend much of your time training in the necessary skills for camp such as first aid, and depending on your activity, lifeguarding or high ropes etc. One of the highlights of staff week is being with the most amazing people from all over the world, getting to experience Walmart for the first time, getting trips off camp to see New England and nights off where we got to visit the nearby lakes and towns! I can honestly say I have never laughed as much as in that first week!
Over your time at Camp you’ll meet so many different kids. Some of them I miss and some I don’t miss as much! My Camp had 4 sets of kids over the summer. One of my favourite experiences was with my last group of boys, the ‘Pawnee Boys’ as we were known after the name of our cabin! We would often have evening activities where we competed for ‘Monkeytown’ Money. Our cabin’s rivals were the Blackfoot cabin, who in a treasure hunt- stole our Monkeytown money and we had to devise a plan to get it back… the kids absolutely loved it especially when you really get into it.
As fun as camp was, we always looked forward to our days off each week. Our days off started from 6pm and ended at 6pm the next day so you had the whole night to have fun as well! We would often book hotel rooms that were split between us and that kept the cost down. It was always so nice being able to get dressed up before heading on your day off usually going somewhere nice for dinner. We would often go for food, shopping, the beach, drive in Movie theatres (my first experience of one was amazing) waterparks as well as taking the day to discover other states such as when I went to Maine for the day! We hadn’t anything booked we just went and hoped for the best… one of the highlights of the summer! One of my favourite places to go for days off was Weirs Beach, a lakeside beach about half an hour from camp with an Edwardian Promenade and Arcade and Ice cream!
DAY TO DAY LIFE AT CAMP!
Much of your time at camp will have a similar routine, 7:30 wakeup bell, breakfast at 8, cabin clean up until 9, activity teaching until 1, lunch, rest period, General swim, last activity, dinner, evening activity with the entire camp (treasure hunt, capture the flag, barn dance etc.) followed by Friendship Circle where the entire camp would stand in a circle and sing the Friendship circle song before ‘shower hour’ which I got a lot of stick for my Northern pronunciation of ‘shar arrr’; candle pass and then bedtime. Then we got our two glorious hours to ourselves as Counsellors.
AFTER CAMP TRAVEL!
After some very tearful goodbyes we travelled to Boston before flying to Miami, travelling up to Orlando, flying north to New York, and then heading back to Boston. These experiences are completely different to camp but equally as incredible. You will no doubt have a group of friends you have made over the camp experience that you will be travelling with so have a rough idea of each of the destinations you’ll be travelling to and your first two destinations settled. They will no doubt change as you work your way through America and meet others along the way but embrace every destination as you go along!
Interested in experiencing camp life in the States for yourself? Don’t miss our Summers Camps USA information session.