My camp is Camp Heart O’ Hills in Oklahoma. It is a Salvation Army Camp with amazing facilities that lets children from all different backgrounds and from all parts of the AOK (Akrnasas Oklahoma) division, come to camp to have 5 days of just being able to have fun. Because, at the end of the day that’s all that matters – that the children have fun. And for some of my kids that’s not always what they get to do at home.
However, when they come to camp that’s exactly what happens. They get to stay in a cabin of children their own age and spend 24 hours a day with their friends, playing in the sunshine, learning about God and eating all the candy (*sweets) they can get their hands on (much to the horror of any camp counsellor, E numbers are not our friends…) They absolutley love it. Of course you get the odd one, or two, terrors that want to make your life a misery. My little terrors came on my first week, when I had the optimum numbers of kids in my cabin (11 hyper 10 year olds) and I was a very nervous Brit in a sea of Southern accents and had no idea what I was doing. 4 hours in and there were tears – mine not theirs.
But I got through that day, but I wouldn’t have without the support and help from other counsellors, my supervisors and the people that came to be my family at Camp. So together in the craziness and hectic life of camp, we go through the first day, and the next day, and the first week and … Soon we were into out last week and the madness and tears of first week seemed to be years ago. By that 5th week of being in the bubble that is camp life and with my 5th set of kids, I knew the worship songs off by heart, I knew which day we had corn dogs for lunch, I knew how to get them up in a morning and I knew exactly how to get them to do what I needed them too. Well, I’ll let you in on a little secret – most of the time the answer is candy. So here’s a tip, on your first trip to Walmart but the biggest bag of candy there is. That, along with some child friendly, fun songs to hand and some fun activities to do on rainy days, you’re set to be the best counsellor there ever was.
Along with meeting amazing new American friends, I also met the 4 best friends anyone could ask for. Now we’re a very random bunch – 1 Welsh, 1 Irishmam, 1 Londonder, Me from Yorkshire and one from the Seaside. Not for one second did I know what they would mean to me when I first saw Jack, Leigh and Laura at the Airport on a very early Monday morning last year. I don’t know what we would have been like if we didn’t go introduce ourselves to Fearghal that first breakfast at camp. God knows how we come together but we did, and now we’re planning a 2nd Summer back at our Camp.