After the majority of a year saving my pennies and working full time in my local corner shop, I was just about ready to pack my rucksack with whatever I could carry and cross the Atlantic Ocean. Travelling was always something I had been set on doing and that was exactly why I took a gap year.

Three months in America seemed daunting to me but I was overridden with anticipation. It was the furthest from home I’ve ever been on my own and an internal conflict of ‘what if something goes wrong?’ and ‘when will I ever get this opportunity again?’ spiralled around my mind the whole way to the airport. Nervous but incredibly excited, I began what turned out to be the most incredible summer of my life. Tired and five hours behind, I landed in Washington DC airport, amid crowds of loud American accents we were gathered by some familiar faces and taken to our new home for the next 10 weeks: Camp.

Training week flew by and I met some amazing people, some of whom had ventured much further than me to be there and we all became incredibly close. Before we knew it we had a camp full of kids and work had begun! Camp is a place like no other; the days are long and children can be tough but the good always outweighs the bad and you have far too much fun to complain. To get the most out of the experience you really have to get stuck in. Camp is the place for forgetting about looking or sounding silly. I cooked over a campfire, taught girls to build one, sang endless songs, ate s’mores and made unforgettable memories. Each week brought new girls and new challenges, but being a part of such an incredible team made every week a learning curve and an absolute blast.

Summer rolled by in a haze of glitter, dressing up, and laughter. Before we knew it we were saying goodbye to the last lot of kids, singing our last songs and writing trail mail to the family we had grown to be a part of over the summer. Words can’t express the impact camp has had on me; I’ve been given so many opportunities, made friends, and the chance to travel around the US.

Summer camp is a foreign concept to a lot of people in England because it’s not so much of a tradition here as it is in America. However it is an experience that I would wholly recommend. Camp is the most rewarding, fulfilling and fun way to spend 10 weeks, as well a way to open up the chance to travel to so many incredible places after as well! I spent around three weeks after camp visiting land marks and cities I never dreamed of having the ability to see. Not only this, but it looks great on your CV as you develop skills such as organisation, leadership,  and time management while working. However, the most important and best part about camp is the impact you can have on a child’s summer. Just being able to see or hear about the difference you may have made, even in a day of that child’s week is the most rewarding feeling ever.

So if that wasn’t convincing enough to make you want to work at a summer camp next year, maybe a few facts will. You can take part and be trained in many different activities from rope courses to kayaking, you will meet lots of new people who are also there for the same reasons you are – this makes the perfect basis for lifelong friendships. You get to spend your summer in one of the most varied and beautiful countries, and lastly, as it is a job, you get paid.

There’s nothing better than waking up in the morning knowing that you get to do a job that changes lives.