At 18 years old I decided to take a gap year after finishing school, before I started University. I was unsure of what I wanted to do, but I knew it was the only time in my life I could do anything, you know, before jobs and life got in the way, so I decided to apply for a job working at a summer camp in America.
Summer camps are a long standing tradition in America, and almost every child has spent a summer - or eight - attending one. Basically, it is a place to do all activities imaginable, make the most amazing memories and friends, and be taken care of by teenagers and those in their early twenties!
I was selected to work at a camp called Flat Rock River YMCA in Indiana, as a qualified lifeguard as well as counsellor to children. The process of applying, being accepted and flying to Belfast to get my Visa all seems like a complete blur. I don't think it was until I said my goodbyes and the airport that I realised the reality of what I was doing, and this solo adventure I was embarking on!
Along with 12 other Internationals, we worked eight weeks at the camp with other Americans. Some had been working there for years, and had even attended the camp as a child, so knew the place like the back of their hand. It was like nothing I've ever experienced before, we just don't have anything in the UK that could possibly compare to life at a summer camp.
As well as lifeguarding, we got to run activities such as kayaking, abseiling, rock climbing, archery, as well as evening activities and the weekly camp fire, which was so much fun! We played games, sang songs (some of which I sing to Aria now) and made s'mores - the most amazing food in the entire world!
We even got to do a bit of travelling after camp finished, which was incredible. I got to meet some family I'd never met and see and do some amazing things!
The hours were long and the pay quite poor, but honestly, that isn't what it's about. It's about the adventure you've taken yourself on and the memories you are creating. I cannot describe the feeling I get when I think of Flat Rock. The people I met had such an impact on my life, and honestly changed the way I viewed the world. I came home a new person, and felt like I could do anything.
This is just a brief insight into my time in America, as I know so many of you were interested in hearing about it.
I'd love to do a Q&A on this so please leave me a comment with any questions you may have!
Other ways to find me: Bloglovin | Instagram | Twitter | YouTube | Facebook