This is probably the longest post I will ever write and I will try my very hardest to explain the process as best as I can. There are a few different ways in which you can get placed, I personally got placed at a Camp America recruitment fair which I will go on to talk about in this post.
I started college at the start of September 2015, the same month Camp America open their online application. I attended a information eventing at The University of Glasgow in 2015 for applicants for summer 2016 (these events run up at the majority of University campus across Britain). I was overwhelmed with all the information but it still did not put me off. I started my online application as soon as I got home. I spent roughly a week perfecting my application before booking my interview and applying for my police check. The police check was straight forward I had to take 3 pieces of ID (passport, driving license and birth certificate) to the interview and have them confirmed then it was all online after that. The interview was in a Starbucks in Edinburgh, when your application is at a certain stage you can then select an interviewer (I was lucky enough to get one the following week). A few of my friends had the same interviewer that week so I was a lot more relaxed after hearing their experience. I showed up with my IDs, a print out of my application and was dressed casually. The entire interview was very relaxed and informal, she went throughout my application and made a few changes to my application to make it look more attractive to to Camp Directors that would be reading my application.
After the interview I heard back after about 3 days that I had passed my interview and my police check was successful. There was a lot of waiting about after this, I checked my emails everyday from the middle of September until January when the recruitment fairs took place. I was encouraged to make a short video to add to my application to explain a bit more about my personality (my video was awful and I’m glad I can no longer find it).
Next was the recruitment fair, there are 3 recruitment fairs in January (Edinburgh, Manchester and London). Prior to the recruitment fairs there is a list of the camps attending the fairs and what positions they are looking for. Before the fairs I recommend picking a top5 camps and researching them (what type of camp they are, where the camp is and any other important information you can find online). Also another important thing to look at is the camps start date, a lot of camps look for you to be abel fly out from the start of May all the way until the 20th June. I attended the first recruitment fair in Edinburgh which had roughly 60 camps hiring. I arrived at 7am at Dynamic Earth where it was being held. I was one of the the first people inline (almost 4 hours early) the Camp America staff were excellent at answering any last minute questions and keeping the crowds excited (there was roughly 200 people here by the time doors opened). I went to the fair with two of my friends and as soon as the doors opened we all went our separate ways. Each camp had there own table with information such as: start date, what type of camp they were and roles looking to be filled. I found the recruitment fair very overwhelming and only spoke to a few camps who either had already filled the position or my skills didn’t match what they were looking for. At first this was really discouraging and was a knock on my confidence as I felt I would never get placed. I spent almost an hour walking about looking at camps but none jumped out at me. Both my friends managed to get placed and I was so happy for them. The fair in Edinburgh was very cramped and for the first time and I had never experiencing anything like that before. I was reminded by Camp America staff that only a small proportion of camps attend these fairs and I could still be placed online which made me feel a lot better leaving the fair without a camp.
I went home and straight away decided I had to give the whole recruitment fair another shot because I couldn’t wait another day checking my emails frantically hoping I had been placed. Literally 3 days later me and mum took a day trip down to London for the Camp America recruitment fair with double the amount of camps at it and with the knowledge behind me from the previous event. I left Glasgow the night before and arrived in London at 7am and went straight to the venue, there was already a huge queue (fortunately I had a queue skip pass) I waited for what felt like forever and walked into the building a lot more confidently then I did in Edinburgh. I went in with a much more open mind, I had researched a lot more camps. I walk around for a bit when a woman approached me and said “hey how about coming to Nashville?” before I knew it I had a brochure of camp and straight away I knew it was the camp for me. I sat down for 5 minutes with my Camp Director and was offered a placement straight away. I was so excited and relieved. I went straight to processing and that was me placed!! the nine hour journey was well worth it. If I could offer one piece of advice for the recruitment fairs its would be to be so relaxed and open minded about it. I had my mind set on going to a traditional co-ed lake camp and ended up being placed in a Girl Scout Camp just outside the city. I knew that my camp was right for me and so glad I made the trip to London to be placed.
As soon as I left I set a countdown on my phone until I left for the states. After being placed there is still a few things you need to sort out before you leave for 3 months which I will cover in another post.
Also do not be discouraged if you don’t get placed at these events as it only represents 10% of the camps Camp America work with and I know loads of people that have been placed on line. Camp America also run a seconds recruitment fair in London in February with camps coming across again to recruit staff.