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We caught up with George who has just finished working as a kayak instructor at summer camp on BUNAC's Summer Camp Exchange USA programme. He gives us the low-down on what he got up to and what he learnt from doing the programme.
Why did you want to go to camp?
I wanted to go to camp so I could combine three of the things I love in one experience, children, sport, and America. From the movies to the sports they play out there, I got hooked as a kid. It’s always been a dream of mine to live in the US and this is one way to keep that dream alive. This is an experience I would never be able to gain while in England and I think it’s the greatest thing that’s ever happened to me. It’s why I keep going back!
What experience did you have teaching kayaking before you went to camp?
My experience before camp with kayaking had been from some adventurous family holidays. I had gone to France a couple of times where we regularly went down white water rapids. When I was younger this gave me extreme confidence in myself to handle almost any situation. As I grew up me and friends would often hire out kayaks on local rivers for leisure. This would almost act as training where my strength on the water and ability to rescue other kayakers was formed. The fact that I had been a lifeguard before attending camp boded well with attaining this position as it highlighted my abilities as a strong swimmer.
What was your highlight at camp?
Camp is full of a million different highlights that it is almost too hard to choose. Every day I felt so lucky to be where I was. But if I had to pick something then it would have to be the people I met and the friends I made. They are the most influential people in my life and I know I have them as friends forever. The motto of my camp is “Favourite people, Favourite place,” and there is nothing truer when it comes to my camp. The people make our camp, and I’m sure most other camps too. It is the most welcoming place I know and I know I will always be welcomed back there.
What did you learn from your time at camp?
What I learnt from camp I could never repay them for. They helped me shape the person I am today. I have become patient and understanding of everyone. My time there and experiences I have gone through have taught me to be a man, that’s what I’m most grateful for. The people there helped me realise I can do anything I set my mind to. I learnt I am much more confident than I ever thought: my people skills have skyrocketed and have never been so sociable. The ups and downs you go through bring out every kind of feeling and emotion in you and when you look back you feel so thankful for the people you had around you to help you through it all; you soon realise how strong you actually are.
Did you go travelling after camp before returning to the UK?
YES YES YES. I advise to anyone to spend as much time as possible travelling. From my three years going to camp I have visited places such as Montreal, Vermont, Las Vegas, Laguna Beach and Huntingdon Beach in California, Florida, and New York. Some of these times will be your most memorable and you don’t want to look back and say what if? It almost acts as a way to stay around some of your best friends for that little bit longer. The things I have done with my time out in America I could never have imagined. Even after my first year I could not have guessed how it was going to happen second time round.
Do you have experience teaching watersports to children or any other of our in-demand activities? If so, you'll be perfect for summer camp! Call us on 033 3999 7516 to discuss your options with a member of the team.