My Camp Fair experience
We caught up with Izzy who got hired at our Summer Camp Recruitment Fair in London and went to work at Island Lake Camp teaching fencing.
I arrive at my allotted time for VIP access. We’re all shepherded into a room with far fewer seats than people. OMG – there are so many people!
We all receive our CIEE forms with a paragraph from our interviewer which is brilliant. Waiting, we compare paragraphs and money things - the girl next to me is much older and has done this before so has a much higher wage than me, am I too under-qualified?
We also have a post-it with our camp suggestion, and mine has just one. This worries me, maybe no one wants a fencing coach?
But the name on my post-it is one I recognise - Island Lake. I remember it from my research, it definitely looked like a lot of fun, very vibrant - I wanted to go but I didn't do loads of research, the girl next to me seems to know a lot more about her camps than I do about mine.
We finally get in to the main hall and I see my camp’s table. There's someone already being interviewed so I wait nearby. Another guy comes and sits next to me, we talk about our skills. This calms me a bit - it's his first time doing camp as well.
I start to look around at the other camps, I can only see one asking for fencing - maybe I should go there instead? But Island Lake is the one on my post-it so I stick with it, I'll go to the other one if I don't make this one.
The table is empty. It's my turn.
I sit down and smile.
He smiles back but not so surely, he's looking at my application. It looks good on the page - I'm experienced in my specialism, I'm enthusiastic, I'm conscientious, but if they're looking for someone older there's not much I can do.
He starts by asking me about myself, about fencing - this I can do, I can talk about fencing till the cows come home.
But then there are other questions - ones like how long I've spent away from home, what my parents think of this and how much I know about the camp. This is where my mind goes blank, I can't think of anything I know about this camp that makes it different, and that is bad. Very bad.
I scrabble around in my memories for something that makes this camp different - the majors and minors system! For a second I think I've rectified the situation but it turns out I've made a rookie mistake - I know there is a system, but I didn't look up how it happens. He explains but I feel stupid, I should have done more research.
Then my next shortcoming - my age.
Island Lake has no curfew for its counselors so they tend to choose counselors who have at least spent a year at Uni since they tend to "know their limits". That makes me giggle inside, I don't drink that much, never have. I know I can't say this because he'll never believe me, and if he does it'll work against me I'm sure - I'll drink and I won't know my limits and go mad, not turn up to classes, not look after the kids.
So I don't mention that, I just nod. Maybe the other camp won't be so free-thinking, maybe it'll be OK that I've not been to Uni yet.
But apparently he still likes me as an applicant.
I'm shocked. I'd zoned out for a second, trying to work out what to do next - should I go straight to the other camp or tell one of the BUNAC representatives and see what they suggest?
But he's offering me the job! I'm so surprised I just sit there and smile. He brings out the contract for me to sign, which I do. Then he asks to take a picture for their Facebook page, tells me to request to join the group and he'll approve it later when the recruitment fair is done.
I can't believe it - I've done it! I'm hired!!
He seems almost as relieved as I am, he's glad to be able to cross fencing of his list and for a second I wonder if that's the only reason he hired me, but I don't really care.
I finally stand up from the table, my legs shaking. As I turn round I realise the queue for the camp (MY camp!) is much longer - we've been talking for almost an hour. I give in my paperwork and text my mum - she's been waiting nearby and will be back in 15mins but I don't mind waiting, the room looks so much brighter than when I came in...
...Because this summer I’m off to work as a Camp Counselor in the USA!!