As a returner, I have been through the whole CA process once before. It’s frustrating, confusing and mind numbingly long! Hold on and you will reach the end of that tunnel as you step on your flight to the US – with a legal visa, the correct footwear and your lovely CA t-shirt.
BUT if I knew these things im about to share with you, my life would have been a lot easier. So lovely people, prepare to have your worries eased and your brains filled.
- Complete your to-do list ASAP
I know some of that includes deposits and that’s not always possible. But where possible please do this. Medical forms, pictures, orientation etc. get them started straight away! Especially your police check, do that as soon as it comes up, that can take a while and you need it to be able to be placed. If you delay in doing these things it may delay sorting your visa out. And if you leave it too late you may not get an appointment and your visa in time for camp. Which you don’t want!
- Email camps directly
CA don’t tell you this outright, but they did when I rang and asked. My friend told me to do it and thank god she did! This is how I got my placement. Email camps directly asking for them to look at your profile. Explain who you are, what you’re doing and why you want to work at their camp. Then find Camp names (google, CA forums, recruitment day lists), their email addresses and get emailing!
- Make a video!
Use the space on your CA profile to make a video. Camps tend to look at profiles with videos attached more than others. Don’t worry, it doesn’t have to be a Speilberg creation – just get silly! Make it personal and fun, show off your personality because that’s what theyre looking at. Include your skills, what you do, what you would bring to camp and why they should hire you. My friend was in a parrot onesie for hers and she got placed, so the wackier the better!
- Widen your options
On your CA application there is a section where you can pick which camps youre willing to go to and not. They include religious camps, special needs camps etc. My advice on this would be don’t rule out the Jewish and religious camps just because you don’t share the same beliefs or religion. I work at a Salvation Army camp, even though I am not religious myself. Yes they are worships and certain rules – but it was still a camp and I still got an amazing summer. Dismissing all these camps narrows your options and might mean that you don’t get placed at all.
- Recruitment fairs are your best friend
I never actually went to one, but I wish I had done. A massive room full of Camp directors that need staff… what more could you want? This is the easiest way to get placed. Camp directors want confidence and personality more than they want a professional horse rider or Andy Murray tennis skills. If you impress them in person, they’ll want you. There and then you could be placed, know where you’re going and who with.
- Reference drama
Your references are important, obviously you’re going to have referee’s that will love you and say the sun shines out of your arse. That’s great! But make sure you have as much information/contact details for your referee as possible. Don’t use personal emails, these can take twice as long to verify. This could delay your application or mean that you may even need to get a new reference..
- Pick up the phone and ring!
If you ring the CA offices directly, your query will most likely be answered there and then. They have all your details in front of them and you can, in most cases, get your answer straight away. They may take a few days to reply to an email. But remember, be polite! No matter how much you are worried or stressed, don’t take it out on them. Rudeness will only take you to the back of the queue.
So good luck! Remember, the people at CA are there to help you, they want you to get placed just as much as you! Listen to them, do what they say. Because they’re scary when you don’t.