Camp Counsellor of the week: Katie

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Katie Bell

Aged 31

YMCA Camp Mohawk, Connecticut

Cabin counsellor/riding instructor, Stable Manager, Riding Director (6 year returner!)

1. What were your first impressions of camp when you arrived? 

I don't think I was prepared for how 'in the woods' it would really be! Walking through the pine trees to get to our cabins or to the stables or to the waterfront felt very surreal at first, but actually only made it all the more fun. I was also pleasantly surprised at how quickly all of the staff bonded during our first week of staff training - some of the friends I made in my first week at camp are still some of my best friends now!

2. What is your role at camp/what are you teaching?

Over the 6 summers that I spent at Mohawk, I actually had 3 different roles - my first year was spent as a cabin counsellor (looking after a group of girls aged 9-11) and as a horse-riding instructor, my next two summers were spent as Stable Manager (looking after the horses full time and teaching a lesson of Stable Management each day) and I then went on to spend three summers as the Riding Director, overseeing the whole camp horse-riding programme.

3. What has been your favourite moment so far?

My favourite part of my whole camp experience was getting to see the kids who I worked with in my very first summer grow up and become counsellors themselves by the time I was in my last summer. It's such a nice feeling to be part of a place that draws people back year after year and to see so many familiar and friendly faces with each visit!

4. What has been your biggest challenge since arriving at camp?

I think the hardest part for me, particularly in my first summer, was the fact that it really is '24/7' - sometimes it's hard to find your own space or find time for a 5 minute time-out in a camp full of children! You really do need to be prepared for this in advance (and you really do need to enjoy working with children!), but my camp directors were also always on hand to help me if I ever needed it.

5. Has camp met your expectations?

To be honest, I wasn't sure what to expect when I first went! It was really unlike anything I'd ever experienced before and it was also the first time I'd travelled abroad by myself, but it turned out to be better than I could've ever expected. I absolutely loved it and just wanted to keep going back again and again after my first year.

6. Do you plan to do any travelling after camp? If so, where?

I did do some travelling after camp, but I really wish I had made the most of the time allowed and done more. Sadly, lack of funds wouldn't allow it! I went to New York several times, Boston, Cape Cod and Myrtle Beach in South Carolina. Whale-watching in Cape Cod was a particular highlight for me :)

7. What is the best thing about being a camp counsellor?

The best thing about being a counsellor is having an excuse to act like a big kid for the whole summer! Although you are doing a job, it really is so much fun being able to join in with the campers and they'll just love you even more for that as well. The sillier the better - there's definitely no judgement at camp!!

8. What advice would you give to anyone thinking of applying for Summer Camp 2016?

As cheesy at it may sound, going to camp really did change my life.....I would stay there forever if I could! I can't think of a better way to make lifelong friends, try tons of new activities, give some kids the most fun summer they'll ever have and to have the chance to travel all over America, all in the space of a few months! I wouldn't hesitate to advise anyone who's thinking of applying to 100% go for it!

If you want an epic summer in the USA like Katie, give us a call on 033 3999 7516 to start your Summer Camp USA application. Regional interviews are taking place now!