We get it. Waking up to your own alarm sleepily shuffling to morning classes…you’re missing camp life already. Don’t worry, you’re not alone. Almost every conversation you’re having with your friends eventually circle to “at camp there was a huge cereal bar, but the campers attacked it like hyena’s” and “you wouldn’t believe it, but Sam woke up the whole bunk with his snoring”. You keep talking about camp moments and eventually say “you just…you had to be there I guess”. Like many people, you fell in love with your home away from home and can’t wait to go back next summer. Here’s a few things you could do to get ahead of the game:
- Speak with a Past Returner
Odds are, it wasn’t your camps first summer. Reach out to past returners and get their feedback on what the protocol is for returning. Questions you could ask them:
How did you reapply? Do we wait for an email stating to reapply?
When does that email make its way to me? Should I just reapply to show my interest in returning?
Also, ask them what the interview process for returning looks like. Some camps make it easier for returners to apply, others like to see progression in your professional skills and might require a more formal interview process.
- Share Your Thanks
Whether it’s the staffing director who hired you or the camp director that inspired you, thank them. I’m not talking about a Facebook message or post on your wall. Take time to write out how much camp impacted you in so many positive ways and you’re looking forward to future opportunities. Be as detailed as possible! It’s always great too hear “Camp was great because all the friendships I’ve made feel like a second family.” However, what impacted you the most? What made your summer truly memorable? Was it that time on the climbing wall where that one camper that usually doesn’t want to participate conquers the obstacle because of your encouragement? And as they stand towering over camp they take a breath proudly smiling at you saying, “I didn’t think I could do it, thank you for helping me”.
- Look for Growth
Whether it’s with your camp or another, there’s always room for growth. Felt a bit unchallenged during the summer and think you’re able to handle more responsibility? Ask your supervisors or leaders if there’s room for advancement and explain why you believe you’re qualified. It’s important to respect whatever answer they give you. It’s natural to sometimes disagree with feedback, respectively ask what you could do to improve next summer and what they’re looking for in a supervisor or leader.
- Prepare Physically, Mentally, and Financially
I’m sure you noticed camp can be the most rewarding place, but it’s also an exhausting environment. Now that you know what’s expected of you and the heavy cardio demand, take time to get out during the year. Staying active can ease your return to camp even if it’s short walks after meals or competing in an intramural ultimate frisbee league.
Camp can be a stressful environment and your mental health is at the utmost important during your time at camp. Create a sleep schedule that allows you the sleep you need to have a productive next day. Set an alarm and stick with it, don’t just wake up, get up. If you’re like many of us, your alarm is set on your phone and when you wake up you find a half hour has gone by as you scroll through your favorite social media platform. Even something as simple as waking up to make coffee before you hop in the shower is still moving. Your phone will be there once you’re awake for the day.
Camp travel is nothing close to cheap and if you’re anything like us, you know camp isn’t about the paycheck. Do research on flights once you receive your camp contract. It may be cheaper the earlier you purchase a ticket. About two months before departure usually offers the best deal.
We hope your year is filled with fun adventures with friends in between those seemingly endless days at work or school. Let us know what you’d like to hear about on the next Bunk Discussion!
Your unofficial co-counselor,