It was around April time in 2019 when I had started to think about the long summer ahead of me. It was nearing the end of my first year at university, and I knew I needed to get a summer job that’d keep me busy, but nothing was really taking my fancy. I began to think maybe my expectations were too high. That was until I stumbled across Camp Canada.
Don’t get me wrong, any work experience is brilliant, but I wanted to combine getting work, money and travel into my summer. I knew that employers see travelling and experience as positive things, so why not combine the two?
I’d heard of a few people doing camp America who were a few years older than me. I always thought those people looked like they were having the time of their lives. I also remember my mum explaining how she’d spent a summer in Canada at a similar age to me, and it felt almost like it was in my path. I decided at that time, Camp Canada appealed to me more than Camp America, as I was lucky enough to have already visited America previously. I had never been to Canada, never known anyone to live there, and never knew anyone who had done the program, but it didn’t phase me.
I texted my parents asking for their opinion on potentially going to work in Canada alone… I’m always worried they’ll think I’m crazy but I’ve always felt so lucky to have such supportive parents. For them, I’m so thankful. They encouraged me to go for it, and despite being just 18 at the time, they didn’t question it.
The application process is pretty straight forward. It’s your ultimate CV essentially. You are encouraged to share any experience you have working with kids, alongside your skills and why you’re a fun person to work with. It’s actually enjoyable to fill in, unlike most job applications! Some questions were like ‘what superpower would you have’ with 1000 words to explain yourself. I could tell there was a good team behind the application process.
I was then interviewed with a woman from the camp Canada team, who put me at ease. It was the most smiley and positive interview ever, more like a chat than anything else. She just wanted to make sure I was suitable to work in a camp environment.
Most people go for the camps like the movies, with kids and big cabins, but as I had applied slightly later in the year, I had ticked for all types of camps, from rustic, to those for adults with special needs – something I am eternally grateful for.
After matching with a few camps and some interviews later, I was employed by a camp for kids and adults with special needs. I was nervous to be honest, but I was so excited for the journey ahead.
Throughout it all, Camp Canada were always a phone call away. They were there when we needed them most and when we had the most pressing questions. They clearly wanted what was best for us, which made this program feel so personal and special. I think it also puts parents at ease somewhat, as none of us have all the answers, but the Camp Canada team made the process so simple.
Before leaving to go to camp, there was a fair bit of paperwork that had to be done. I’d say maybe this is the ‘boring part’ but with every tick you got on the account, you felt a little bit closer to that adventure. To name a few, work permits, passport scans and background checks were asked of us, but they’re all easy enough to obtain.
Upon arriving in Canada, the team were there to support us. I stayed in Toronto for a few days as my camp was in Southern Ontario and here the team helped with all kinds from the Canadian bank accounts to SIM cards for calling home. We also had to be first aid trained in Canada, as every country has slightly different requirements.
After spending a few days with the Camp Canada staff, we were sent on our way to our camps. They’d often keep in touch, with members of staff visiting us on one occasion to speak to us individually about our time at camp. Visiting just once in person may not sound like a big deal, but it did mean a lot considering the effort they put in, and how huge Canada is.
To anyone considering camp, I’d say go for it. The team who run Camp Canada are brilliant and I couldn’t recommend the experience enough. Best. Summer. Ever.