Meet Roo: The Star Behind the Summer Camp Secrets Blog
Say hi to Roo, a girl full of colour and life - completely obsessed with Summer Camp USA. She's returning to Camp Sloane again for her 8th summer, and we're not sure she's ever going to get bored of camp life, especially if her amazing blog Summer Camp Secrets is anything to go by. Here's Roo...
Who are you, where are you from and what 3 words best describe you?
I’m Roo, I’ve lived in London all my life, apart from when I was at Uni in Cornwall and when I’ve been at camp in the USA or travelling the world that is! The three words that best describe me are passionate, creative and loyal.
If you could be a crayon colour, what colour would you be and why?
100% I’d be a blue crayon. Like a proper Royal Blue. Blue is my absolute favourite colour, all my clothes are blue, my eyes are blue, the sky is blue, the sea is blue… what’s not to love?
Describe your idea of a perfect day.
Oooh, ok, first I’d start with brunch in a little café, ordering a chai latte, poached eggs with bacon and smashed avo. Then I’d skate along some super smooth roads to the beach, where there would be perfect waves for surfing. Spend a few hours in the water, hopefully surrounded by dolphins. Then it would be time for a picnic lunch on the beach, followed by a walk along the sand or adventuring in a jungle and climbing trees. Then in the evening I’d want to sit around a campfire with my friends, cook dinner on the fire, eat s’mores and tell stories all night long.
Where is your dream travel destination? Where is your current favourite travel destination?
This is a really hard one. I’ve done a lot of travelling but there are so many places I still really want to go. I think my dream travel destination at the moment would be South Africa, because I’ve just some amazing things about it. And my current favourite travel destination is Costa Rica – I went there a few years ago and just absolutely fell in love with everything about it.
If you could do any other BUNAC programme apart from Summer Camp USA, what would it be?
I think it would be the Work Canada programme as it allows you to stay in the country for up to 2 years which is amazing and I’ve only visited Toronto and Vancouver so far, so I’d like to see a heap more of the country. And I think it’s really cool that BUNAC can help with a job so you’ll be all set up before you even arrive!
Let's talk SUMMER CAMP
How many times have you been to Summer Camp USA? Tell us about your camp and what it’s like…
So far I’ve been to Summer Camp 7 times, an I’m heading back for an 8th in 2018! So obviously I absolutely LOVE it. My camp is a called Camp Sloane YMCA and it’s based on 270 acres in the Berkshire mountains in Connecticut, about 2-3 hours from Manhattan. It is one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been and the sunsets are to die for. We have campers for 8 weeks of the summer, ranging from 7-16 years old, and offer a huge range of activities, from soccer, tennis and basketball to Horse-riding, to archery and climbing, water-skiing, performing arts, creative arts, music, sailing, swimming, and more. There really is something for everyone at camp. One of the most special things about Camp Sloane though, is that we are one of the few camps that don’t sleep in cabins… instead we sleep in these big canvas tents, raised off the ground on wooden platforms. Sleeping in the tents is so much fun, and it really gives you an authentic camping experience in the woods. We have about 100 staff and anywhere between 60 and 300 campers, depending on the session. Everyday is different, fun and exhausting, but I absolutely love it.
Was camp what you expected it to be as a first timer?
I think I didn’t really know what to expect as a first timer. I knew it was going to be fun and challenging but I didn’t anticipate just how amazing camp was going to be and how much it would affect me… that first summer changed my life in ways I will always be grateful for.
Tell us about the moment you fully realised camp had changed your life forever – with no turning back?
I think from about a week into my first summer at camp I knew I was hooked. I’m not sure if there was a specific moment, but I just remember thinking at the end of that first summer that I knew I’d be back the next year, and every year I feel exactly the same.
Why did you start the summer camp secrets blog? Did you think it was going to be as successful as it has been?
It was after my 4th summer at camp and I’d written a post on my travel blog about why being a camp counsellor was the best job in the world – that blog post went a bit mental and got shared all over the place and I started getting lots of questions about camp, so I thought why not start a blog dedicated to summer camp? It really just started as a creative outlet and a way to stay connected to the summer camp world during the winter months, but then as time went on and the blog started to grow, I realised I could actually spread the word about how awesome summer camp is, and help people have the same incredible experiences I’ve had. I really didn’t think people would be so interested in the blog, so it still kind of surprises me that it’s taken off in the way that it did.
What’s been the most rewarding thing about running summer camp secrets?
I think my biggest highlight was when I self-published the Summer Camp Secrets book on Amazon… that was a pretty amazing feeling. I also just love being able to help people out when they have questions – whether about camp itself and what it’s like, or the specifics of how to apply and the oh-so-fun how to get the visa – I get a lot of questions in April and May!
Try and summarise why someone should go to Summer Camp USA, in your answer you have to say one colour, one object and a cliché quote.