International Counselors in America
France, Spain, Germany, Mexico and the United Kingdom — the list goes on and on. Every summer, young adults from all over the world are drawn to the United States to be camp counselors. It is a great opportunity for them to have a summer job while they soak up the American culture. Ninon, Cristina, Iñaki and Alice describe their experiences as international summer camp counselors.
Camp: Camp Kahdalea, NC
Ninon chose to work in America so she could improve her English. She thinks working at a summer camp is nice because you work with friends, and you do things that you like at the same time. In terms of new skills, she has learned to be more patient, and her outdoor skills have improved. However, Ninon thinks that being a counselor
is not always easy. “You have to be constantly looking after children, so you have a lot of responsibilities,” she says. This job can even get dangerous at times. For instance, during a trip, Ninon had a scary encounter with a black bear in the woods. However, she highly recommends this experience and would do it again. “I enjoyed it so much! It helps you learn so many things about others and yourself too.”
Camp: Flat Rock River YMCA Camp, IN
Cristina was a camper for three years before she became a counselor. She wanted to give kids the same amazing experience she had. Her favorite thing about being a counselor was teaching and helping the kids. “It was amazing to see a camper who was initially scared of heights overcome their fear and make it to the top of the alpine tower or to teach them how to make something for arts and crafts,” she says. A couple differences Cristina noticed between Spanish and American summer camps are that Americans are strict about campers and counselors not using electronics. And when playing any game, American kids would never cheat, whereas in Spain, bending the rules is likely. She recommends this experience 100 percent and says that now the camp is her “home away from home.”
Camp: Camp Shohola, PN
As a kid, Iñaki went to Camp Shohola, a camp for boys. He liked it so much that when he was old enough, he decided to work there as a counselor. “The best part of the job is getting to know people from different countries and learn about other cultures,” he says. In terms of new skills, Iñaki admits that he now knows the best ways to handle stressful situations with kids. Being a counselor is not an easy task; it requires patience, and Iñaki knows all about that. “One night a kid was sleepwalking and for some reason thought my bed was the bathroom…,” he says. “You can imagine the rest.” This past summer was his seventh time going to Camp Shohola, and Iñaki says that he wouldn’t mind going back another seven times.
Camp: Girl Scouts of Ohio and Camp Shohola, PN
Alice became a summer camp counselor because she disliked her job and wanted to see America. There aren’t many summer camps in the United Kingdom, mainly because their school holidays are only six weeks. “I think this is a big shame,” Alice says. “At camp I made amazing lifelong friends from all over the world.” She also admits that children say the funniest things. “I was teaching a young boy to ride when he became frustrated with his horse,” she says. “He threw his reins on the horse’s neck and lifted his hands to the sky shouting ‘Jesus! Take the wheel!’” Alice’s experience as a counselor has taught her that she works great with children. “Now, during the year, I work in a children’s home, which was no doubt inspired from working at camp,” she says.