It’s been a while and now I don’t know where to begin. I knew I wanted to keep you all updated on this journey as much as humanly possible, but it’s been over a month now since I touched down into this crazy new world and I feel as though I’ve been non-stop moving ever since. I hope you’ll bare with me here as my next few posts will be broken down and fairly delayed but I needed the time to get into the swing of things!
I’ve been dreaming of working at a summer camp for as long as I can remember but I never thought it was something I would actually have the courage to do. Leaving my family and friends to come to a new country on the other side of the world where I didn’t know a soul was pretty daunting. I had fears of not clicking with my co-staff and not knowing how to do my job…In full honesty, I still have these fears even being a month and a half in and despite having met some of the most amazing people I think I will ever have the pleasure to meet!
On the 28th May, I had an emotional goodbye with my friends and family and I packed my things into my parent’s car to be dropped off at Gatwick Airport. I had been saying for weeks how this journey didn’t feel real and then all of a sudden I was alone and walking through airport security. That was the first moment it hit me. I was flooded with every emotion under the sun, I was happy and excited, sad and afraid. I stumbled through security with clammy palms and watery eyes, trying not to look as lost as I felt. I made it through without any issues and wandered into the crazy, bustling world of travel.
While I sat in Starbucks I tried to convince myself that I’m doing the right thing. I want this. I NEED this. I knew I needed to move on from living for other people and find the thing in this world that makes me myself. I could feel the negative side of my brain fighting for me to back out. Who am I to think I can do this? I’m not good enough to help other people, heck I can’t even look after myself! Luckily for me, I didn’t have time to fall too deep into this hole, as moments into my panic I met Nick, another person heading to my camp who I’m now lucky enough to call one of my best friends. We headed off to our departure gate excitedly chatting about our summer ahead before boarding our flight and jetting off to Chicago for the start of our whirlwind adventure.
After a loooooong 8+ hours, we eventually landed in America and headed through arrivals to meet another (amazing) English arrival, Katie, and two of the camps senior members of staff, Mama G, and T-Bug. Quick pit stop in Taco Bell was called for before picking up Courtney (my fave New Zealander!) followed by a two-hour drive from Chicago to YMCA Camp Benson in Mount Carroll.
The first few days were a blur of exploring and getting to know the rest of the staff before Staff-O (orientation) started. It was a lot to take in and I didn’t really have the time to stop and think which I’m pretty thankful of to be fair. While Staff-O included a lot of training, we also had full on schedule of icebreakers complete with hikes and rope activities – honestly, I think these few days of training were more full on than our time with the campers!
I don’t want to make this post too long but I’m preparing more camp talk to share with you all soon!