Although the prospect of a long summer vacation after months of gruelling revision and exams seems appealing, often the months can be wasted away with nothing to show for them, when the summer draws to a close. It was the thought of this that led me to begin researching once in a lifetime summer opportunities; it was then that I discovered BUNAC’s Summer Camp USA programme.
Having watched Parent Trap hundreds of times, the idea of spending my summer at an American camp seemed so exciting and after a very quick application process I had been placed at a camp in Upstate New York called Camp Loyaltown. The great thing about going through BUNAC is that everything was arranged for me. This included my first nights’ accommodation in New York and my flights. This meant that, whilst I was busy worrying about deadlines, the stress was taken away and I had an amazing summer awaiting me, once the deadlines were over.
During the application process, BUNAC had quizzed me on my talents and interests. This meant I was able to spend my summer teaching ceramics as well as doing sport with my campers. The camp I was placed at was a camp for individuals of all ages who had severe mental and physical disabilities. My cabin was largely women, aged 30-50, who suffered from conditions ranging from schizophrenia to severe learning difficulties. As you can imagine, the summer was indeed a challenge but an extremely rewarding one.
My typical day consisted of assisting my campers in day to day tasks from getting dressed to showering and activities such as swimming, athletics and horse riding. I also taught ceramics followed by an evening activity such as a disco. It was so much fun and every day posed new challenges and learning curves. The great thing about the summer was that not only was I spending it in America and making new friends, I was also doing something that gave me such amazing transferable skills. Although the summer was a challenge, it was a fantastic experience, which has since helped land me placements as well as a job!
Once my time at camp ended, my VISA allowed me time to travel the USA! Having made new friends at camp, we travelled all over America from New York to Miami and then decided, during a hurricane, that we would take a cruise to the Bahamas. All paid for with my summer earnings, meaning, that the summer paid for itself. I was back in time to have a while at home, in England, before returning to Loughborough for another year to commence, with the most amazing summer and lifetime experience behind me.
I would definitely recommend anyone to make the most of their summer and gain skills and memories that will stay with them for life. For more information, check out: