Camp Counsellor of the week: Lizzie

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Each week we'll be showcasing our awesome camp counsellors who headed over to the USA on BUNAC's Summer Camp USA programme. We'll get the lowdown on their experience, find out what life is like at camp and why you should definitely take the plunge and apply to the programme and experience life across the pond as a counsellor next summer!

Lizzie Stewart

Aged 19

SJ Riding Camp, Connecticut

Cabin counsellor & land sports instructor (1st year)

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

Honestly, it was like walking onto the movie set of ‘The Parent Trap’. The pine trees, our wooden cabins…..it was perfect!

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

I am the coach for Tennis and Archery, but I teach any and all sports from Lacrosse to Volleyball as an alternative to horse-riding, which is our primary focus here at SJ. I am also a cabin counsellor to the wonderful 'Cardinal' girls. 

3. What has been your favourite moment so far?

We run our camp in sessions and so, every three weeks, we bid a teary farewell to our 40+ girls. The final night is really special. We line up along the pier under the stars and sit with our legs dangling in the lake. From there, we light our 'wishboats' (driftwood with a small candle on it) and release them into the water. As they drift off, we make our camp wishes and wait there until the wind blows the last candle out. Watching the lights disappear for the first time and sharing that moment with our girls is something I will remember forever. 

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

It’s inevitable that there will be a time (or two!) when you will have had enough. Everything that could go wrong goes wrong, you need space and probably sleep and, when this day hit me, the challenge was not the day itself, but accepting that it is ok to have a bad day sometimes. It will end and another will begin and we are only human!

5. Has camp met your expectations?

This camp has surpassed any and all expectations I had. No one can predict just how hard the work is and how long the days are, but SJ is so unique. Because we are small, we function more like an extended family than a riding camp. What I didn't expect, was to find myself this happy. I quickly realised how special this place really is and how grateful I am to be a part of it. 

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

Sadly I don't have much time to travel as I have to get home for university, but I will at least get to spend four days in Boston before I fly home early September. 

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

Being a camp counsellor is extremely demanding. However, when my girls ask me for my advice or ask me to support them in their riding lesson or even when they ask if we can just hang out, that's when you know that they really value you. No feeling is more rewarding than that. 

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

Scrap your expectations. Get stuck in. Be open. Learn to sleep in the day. Be prepared to go above and beyond. Regret nothing. 100% GO FOR IT!


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