Sam's Mid-Summer Camp dream So Far

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You might have seen her splashed all over BUNAC's Instagram stories, loving life on Summer Camp USA. But who is she? Enter BUNAC's very own Summer Camp Specialist Sam. She's half-way through (sob!) her third summer at Camp Danbee in Peru, Massachusetts. An all girl's camp surrounded by green forest, lakes and cute cabins, it's the idyllic setting for the ultimate epic summer to unfold. So get your camp spirit on and listen up as Sam spills the sloppy joe's on her experience so far... 

Remember: Applications for Summer Camp USA 2018 are OFFICIALLY OPEN, so if Sam has inspired you, you know what to do.

Sam's Mid-Summer Camp Dream So Far

1) So Sam, we miss you, but we're really excited to hear what you've been up to. First thing's first: what's your job role at camp and how have you found it? 

My job role at camp is a Camp Mom, which to anyone else would be a General Counsellor. We call it a Camp Mom because at our camp, only the youngest age group of campers have us to take them around to their activities. It's a great job to have as you get to try all the activities and join in with the kids but also can be tiring as you are with the kids all day! I'm also a Group Leader to the Honeybumbles age group (7 & 8 year olds) . 

2) What's your favourite camp song? 

500 Miles - the Proclaimers. We have so many dances to so many different songs but I love this one because everyone joins in! 

3) What popular music songs are going to remind you of this summer? 

Despacito - Justin Bieber and How Far Will I Go - Alessia Cara (the themetune from Moana). 

4) What's been your top moment of camp so far? 

Walking into one of my group's bunks and seeing the campers give out 'Counsellor Stars'. They did a speech beforehand about why they were rewarding the star to this counsellor saying things like "they always help me when I'm homesick" and "she's always friendly and smiling." It was so nice to see the smiles on both the camper's and counsellors faces. 

5) Is this summer how you'd thought it'd be?

This summer is definitely different from the past 2 that I've been here for as my role has slightly changed and now that I oversee an age group of campers and counsellors, there's been a lot more to think about and to organise around my main role as Camp Mom. As a Group Leader, I need to organise and run evening activities most nights as well as checking in with everyone and sorting any problems with homesickness or misbehaviour in the bunk. It's tough but I'm still loving it and get a real sense of achievement when the issues have been solved and the campers enjoy an activity I run. 

6) What do you miss most from home? 

I miss my cat Alfie, as well as my mum and her cooking! I'll be putting a request in for one of her roast dinners on the day I'm home. 

7) What's your favourite camp game? 

Mission Impossible - we take mats from the gym and stand them up to make places to hide. The aim of the game is to run around collecting cones and bring them back to your team. If the music stops while you are out searching, you have 3 seconds to either run back to safety with your team or hide behind (or in) the mats. If you can be seen then you are out. We also get counsellors to run around the area with cones on their heads... if the camper catches them then the cone is worth more points!

8) How did you celebrate 4th of July? 

We all dress up on 4th July in red, white and blue and are split into teams (blue, white, red, stars.) We do different competitions throughout the day such as sandcastle building and relays which scores points for the teams. We have a pool party in the afternoon and a BBQ for dinner. We have a Talent Show that evening and then once my kids were asleep, a few of us headed to a local lake to sit and watch fireworks. It was absolutely amazing.

10) What other funny camp traditions have you done? 

We just had Parent Visiting Day and the kids get so upset when they have to leave at the end of the day but we get them into their bathing suits and down to the lake as soon as possible and we have a huge shaving foam fight! Every camper and counsellor gets a bottle of shaving foam and we count down and before you know it, you can't stand it (or see) because there's foam EVERYWHERE! It definitely takes the campers minds off missing mom and dad!

11)   What’s been the most rewarding moment so far?

During the first week or so, some of my campers really struggled with homesickness especially as this is their first time at a sleepaway camp. Myself and their counsellors worked with them to help ease them into the routine of camp and encourage them to have fun by talking about the exciting things coming up and things they should look forward to. By the 8th day of camp, we didn't have any homesick children and we were really proud we'd worked together as a team to help the kids start loving camp. 

12)   What have you been doing on your days off?

We've had pretty rainy weather so far this summer so most of my days off we've had to do something inside. There's still things to do though! There's a really good outlet shopping mall that we can get to on the bus. There's also a cinema which is so comfy as it has the best reclining seats that push all the way back with a foot rest! On sunny days we head to a local lake and sunbathe. There's also a boat rental place where we hire a pontoon boat for a couple of hours and get a group of us out on it. I'm yet to climb up Mount Greylock which is a 3-4 hour hike and also I want to visit some locals waterfalls before the end of summer too! 

13)   What are your kids like who you look after?

The kids I look after are aged 7 or 8 and most come from the suburbs outside of New York City. They are from privileged backgrounds but they are quite oblivious to it which I love! They are great kids with BIG personalities. They make us smile everyday and we try to make sure they have smiles on their faces too! 

Thanks Sam! We'll catch up later, when you bid farewell to camp and head off on your travels. Enjoy the rest of your summer!

WANT TO LIVE, BREATHE, SUMMER CAMP USA NEXT YEAR LIKE SAM? Good decision. Start your 2018 Summer Camp USA application now and be there next year. It might just be the best thing you ever do. In the meantime, follow Sam's summer antics on BUNAC's Instagram. 

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