Thursday, 13 March 2014

Summer 3984 Miles From Home

As a lot of you probably already know, back in September, I kickstarted the application process for Camp America. November 23rd, 2013, I took a little road trip to Sheffers for my Camp America interview, alongside a cheeky weekend with my chummy, Caitlin. Shortly after the interview, my interviewer told me I'd be perfect to work on a Summer Camp. Happy as larry I was given the go ahead to send off for my DBS and have my references ready.

Sometime in mid December, without my knowledge, my application went live on the CA website (a little bit like online dating, the Camp Directors pick and choose applicants they see fit) and it wasn't until I was contacted by a Camp in Texas that I realised my status changed to RTP (ready to be placed)! I had a sneaky look at the Camp website and what they were about, but politely declined. It just didn't seem like my kind of Camp at all, it's cliché, but you know when you know, and it just didn't feel right. Life continued, and the refresh button on my mailbox continued to get a little wearier, as I excitingly awaited for another email.

7th January 21.37:

"Hi Bethany!

Greetings from Camp Tekoa..."

My second Camp America offer arrived in my inbox. Unsure of whether to accept the offer or not, I emailed back for more information. The Camp Director told me that Camp Tekoa were going to be at the recruitment fair I was already planning on attending. Why have a Skype interview, when you could meet them in person? The recruitment fair was in London, so the girls and I decided to make a weekend of it.

January 25th 2014:

After a 6AM wakeup call, the girls and I (who already had our weekend in London all mapped out) adorned our overnight bags, and trundled down to the train station. The following few hours were possibly the worst I've ever encountered. Along with the stress and nerves of the recruitment fair ahead, came the panic that arrived when our train didn't. After being shifted to another platform, various announcements were made that confused the majority of platform 3A, all hoping to get to London. After an unexpected hours wait in Leicester, the tannoy announcement informing us that the 06:45 (yes, the 06:45 that arrived at 08:50) train service to London St Pancras would be arriving at platform 2, was a godsend. We hopped onboard, and parked our bums anywhere, quite literally anywhere. With all the chaos of delayed trains came a backlog of people. So the remainder of the journey was spent in the passageway of the train, cuddling our rucksacks and praying for the journey to end soon.

Subsequent to the hustle and bustle that was 17 people all trying to get out of the train at the same time (no exaggeration) we darted across London to make our way to the recruitment fair. Alongside what I can only imagine was around 2000 people, we joined the mile long queue. After numerous hours of waiting, the applicants were let in, and the scene that unfolded before my eyes is one I can only describe as feeding time at the zoo. Dozens of 18-20 somethings cramming into a tiny conference room (Camp America, you really need a bigger venue) all shouting about their skills and why they'd be a great councillor. After queuing up at a few stalls waiting to talk to people, I searched for the Tekoa stall and was greeted by James carrying an enormous grin. We had a chat and I signed up there and then.

The queueing didn't stop there though, I was then escorted down to another holding room with my acceptance papers firm within my clutches. I was greeted with yet another line to join. The room was filled with smiley soon-to-be-councellors ringing home to tell the good news. I followed suit and rung home to tell the family where I was going to spending my Summer.

An hour later, I was welcomed back in to natural light and fresh air as I stepped out of the Conference Centre. I rung the girls to find their whereabouts, and made my way to the local Starbucks to reunite, sharing the good news and a congratulatory Blueberry Muffin the girls had waiting for me (babes aren't they?)

Next, Visa's, T-Shirts, Pre-departure orientations and more about Camp Tekoa