WORKING AT SUMMER CAMP WITH ANXIETY

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True story. My first night at camp and I totally freaked out. I was in a rusty old cabin with a bunch of strangers and then I saw the biggest spider I’ve every seen in my life. I ran out the cabin and noticed some of the other girls followed. We had a big laugh about it outside and made tactics on how to get rid of it. That’s when I realised I wasn’t the only one who was scared about the summer ahead

I had my doubts about going to summer camp when I have anxiety and I don’t regret going. My camp experience really helped me in ways I could never of imagined. I ended up going to camp for 3 summers and it was one of the best jobs/summers I’ve ever had in my life. 

If you have anxiety and your worried about going to camp then here’s a few tips to help you get through the process and adjusting to camp life. 

 

BABY STEPS AND LISTS

The application process is really easy and the best part is it’s all a step by step process. Once your accepted, take this process for the following steps for camp. “One step at a time” has been how I handle all major challenges so my anxiety stays at a stable level. 

My best advise is to write lists and preferably on your phone so if you think of something you can add it straight away. Things will keep popping up till the day of the your flight, so just try to be as prepared as possible. Summer will come quicker than you think but you’ll be prepared. 

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JOIN CAMP FACEBOOK GROUPS

Camp Facebook groups are great to meet other counselors going to camp too. You can see what jobs they will doing, where they are from and they even say when they will be arriving. You can chat to them and find out if anyone is getting the same flight as you.

Usually camps do a mass pick up from the airport and there’s a good chance (especially if you are from the UK) that someone will be on your flight going to the same camp as you. Plan to meet up and get to know someone early. 

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GIVE IT 10 DAYS

When you get to camp, you’ll feel like your completely out of your comfort zone. I think I must have said to myself, “What am I doing here?!” probably a thousand times to myself. The best advice I was given which I want to pass on is give it 10 days

The first few days will be totally scary. You might even want to leave but push through till day 10. You’ll make friends and get use to your new environment. The days are long and the training can be a lot to remember but camp is fun. The first week is hard just like any first job. 

 

CAMP BUBBLE

When you get to camp, you’ll find yourself deeply emerged in the camp bubble. This is something we use to describe the lack of communication with the outside world. I remember not finding out news till my days off or the latest music till the new kids came to camp. 

Most importantly, you won’t have constant communication with your family. This one is hard to get used to, especially if you are really close with them. Some camps won’t have internet access as you’ll probably be in the middle of nowhere. You also won’t be able to use your phone at camp. You get a day off once a week so that’s prime catching up time with your family. 

If you really want to speak to your family then the best way is by writing letters. Yes, old fashioned but the mailing system still works. Write letters and make sure your family and friends have your address to start sending you letters and care packages straight away. 

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BRING PHOTOS

You’ll miss home. That’s normal. Bring lots of photos and decorate your camp bed with them. If you think photos will make you feel worst then keep them in your storage. Do what you think will help you. 

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THE AMERICAN DREAM

Once camp has properly kicked in, it’s time to enjoy camp life and the America culture. Join in as much as you can. Embrace the American lifestyle. Waking up early, raising the flag, all American breakfast and a whole day of activities to enjoy with your campers and new friends.

The more you join in, the less scary the whole experience is. Even the camp songs, as cringey as they are sometimes. 

 

LOOK FORWARD TO DAYS OFF

The 24 hour a day job will take it’s toll on you, so plan your days off with your new friends and have something to look froward to. Most days at camp are amazing but there are the odd days where you are absolutely exhausted. Days off are something to concentrate on and look forward to so you don’t go crazy. 

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Camp is an amazing experience. You’ll never have another job like it and you’ll miss it once it’s over. Yes, it’s scary to think you’ll be leaving your family and friends for months but think more about the positives about going to camp rather than the negatives.

You’ll be doing one of the funnest jobs in the world, meet new friends, travel after camp and you’ll learn how brave you can be for doing it. It won’t be long till your anxiously waiting for next summer. So have fun and enjoy it. 

 

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Are you going to Summer camp soon or have you been before? Let me know in the comments below.


 

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2 Comments

  1. 10/04/2018 / 7:11 pm

    This seems like such an amazing thing to do – particularly to push the boundaries with anxiety! Fab tips! x

    Han | lifewithhan.blog

    • Natasha Atlas
      10/04/2018 / 7:11 pm

      Thank you Han!!

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