I’ve had a bit of a thought over the past week or so about the most common mistakes people make prior to going to American Summer Camp. I think I’ve cracked the top six, so let’s have a look and try give you a heads up before you also make these school boy errors.
- Not giving yourself enough time: This stands out for me above the others in the list because of how it has such a bearing on everything else. If you’re constantly in a rush to get the paperwork together and your flights sorted, then you’re just adding unnecessary stress. There are times where this can be a bit out of your control but do try and stay on top of things. Being organised could simply take a plastic folder with all your documentation in one place. Give yourself enough time to ensure you have everything you need; paperwork and personal supplies.
- Not finding the staff Facebook page: Again, this is a biggie for me and you will see why. I recall my first summer, where I struggled to find anyone even mention my camp name on any social network. After a chance encounter at an orientation day, I found a fellow staff member and therefore the hidden staff Facebook group. Knowing what faces to expect while over there is a big relief. It means you have something to talk about – even if it does mean a little snooping! I can guarantee that 99% of the summer camps have their own Facebook Groups and many even have groups just for the British staff too. So if you swear you have looked in every nook and cranny for it, why not get in contact with the camp themselves. They will be able to nudge you in the right direction if they haven’t already automatically added you to the group already.
- Overpacking: It’s a bit of a tricky one this, trying to guesstimate how much you have to pack for the three or so months you are away from home. Every camp usually has a rough guide on what to bring with you, including any ‘special request items’ like you can get at Jewish summer camps. The rule of thumb is to pack for about 2 weeks worth of clothing. There’s going to be laundry runs so as long as you have two weeks worth, you will be fine. As for everything else, well you need to make sure you have the cosmetics and any technology for the ride too. There’s of course plenty you’ll need to take to camp. Just be sure to weigh the suitcase at the end to make sure you are under that limit for your airline. Remember: Walmart is the saving grace of your stay. They have everything. If you can’t fit X, Y or Z in to your luggage, don’t fret.
- Forgetting Stuff: In the same breath, I’d like to say just double check that packing list. Although Walmart is there, you don’t want to get off to a bad start at camp by forgetting your phone charger or forgetting all of your undies. It means you will have to get very close with someone, very quick! First impressions are everything so just run through the ‘absolute essentials’ to ensure you have it. Even if you have packed everything, there will be things you never even considered that you’ll need from Walmart soon enough. Nail clippers anyone?
- Not doing your research: Just make sure you know which camp you are going to. Where it is in the USA and what the camp is all about. There was one person at the camp I went to who thought they were going to Cleveland Ohio when really it was Cleveland Georgia! You should be absolutely buzzing to get over there though so this shouldn’t be a problem for most.
- Social Media: And finally, we have social media. I’d go as far to say that the agencies somewhat scare-monger you into deleting absolutely everything risqué. It doesn’t need to be the case. I’d just say be professional. Make sure your profile picture isn’t something you would be embarrassed to show your mum. You’re going to be adding friends from all ages (and yes I include the 40+!). I believe you’re not supposed to add campers on social media, but everyone does by the end. You’re not going to see them ever again otherwise. So just be sensible and stay cool.
So there it is, the six most popular mistakes everyone does before going to camp. Seeing as you’re even here on my summer camp website, I’m sure you will be fine. Heck, everyone makes these mistakes but it’s very easy to bounce back. Remember there is only one chance to make a good first impression. No pressure!
If you enjoyed this blog post, why not check out my book? It’s called There’s No Place Like Summer Camp and can be found in my shop here. It’s well worth a read if you are interested in some saucy gossip about day to day life in camp. It’s available for pre-order at the moment and will be on Amazon closer to the launch.
Do you think I missed some school boy errors on this list? Why not pop a comment below!
See you next week,