Find something you love to do and you’ll never work a day in your life.
For me, this is exactly what it felt like working as a camp counselor this past summer. Summer camp is more than just a job; it becomes your home, your family. While it was hard to sum up this amazing experience, I've decided to share my favorite things about camp that will stick with me forever, with a few personal anecdotes thrown in.
Settled in the Pocono Mountains in Pennsylvania lies Camp Towanda, a seven-week sleepaway camp located just two hours from New York City. This is where it all began…
Pre-camp and Orientation
For me, camp started two weeks before the campers even arrived. I arrived a week before normal Orientation, as I had to complete my lifeguard and first-aid certification in order to work down at the waterfront. I remember it was an extremely long day before I arrived at Towanda.
All counselors flying in were to be picked up at 6:00 p.m. from Newark airport. Arriving at the airport around 1:00 p.m., I had plenty of time to meet and get to know a lot of the other counselors who I would be working with that summer. One counselor in particular I remember meeting that day ended up becoming a very close friend (shoutout to Taylor!)
We sat next to each other on the bus and stepped off the bus together at camp; she was also the one sitting next to me the day we left camp. In my experience, having spent time abroad, the people you usually meet first are not usually the ones you stick by, but something clicked between us. We made it through the summer closer than ever.
I remember stepping off the bus when we arrived at Towanda around 9:00 p.m. that night, with the Camp Directors Mitch and Stephanie and the rest of the senior staff there to greet us with open arms. It was an amazing experience to be welcomed so warmly by these people we had only just met for the first time in-person.
I met a lot of great people in that first week, mostly my fellow waterfront staff, and had a lot of fun spending my days down at the pool, although the weather could have just been a little better.
The training wasn’t as easy as I thought. There were times I wanted to give up - from the weather, but also from exhaustion with some jet-lag still kicking in. But I was happy that I made it through and after the last day of training, I officially became a lifeguard - boy that felt good!
Stay tuned for Part 2 of my camp adventures! I'll be telling stories about campers, traditions, and camp life!
Courtney is a former Australian participant on our Camp USA Program. She worked at Camp Towanda for the summer. She first traveled internationally when she was 14, and since then, has been to New Zealand, back to the USA, Papua New Guinea, Thailand, the USA again, the Caribbean, Peru, Bolivia, Argentina, Chile, and Malaysia. She has a strong desire to see and experience everything this world has to offer.