Writing

Summer of ’07

Looking at this picture it reminds me of my first adventure overseas!

It was 2007 and I had no idea what I was doing! All my friends were in university studying and I was working during the day and partying the nights away.

One day on my way through Pitt Street, Sydney I was stopped by a street vendor I guess you could say, it was one of those people who stand on the street, make eye contact with you then try and sell you something only this time it was an opportunity to work overseas, I was interested to say the least.

I got home that afternoon and googled  “Camp America”, I read everything I could find. I was keen and wanted to take part in the adventure! I signed up online, went to all the meetings, got my passport, visa and with the help of my family my ticket – come June I was off to New York!

I hit a few snags on the way to New York, my first overseas adventure and I was making it solo! I arrived in LAX a sleep deprived middle seat survivor, spent 2 hours in customs, missed my connection, got stripped searched over a single silver bangle that set every set of metal detectors off, got to JFK 6 hours later than expected, lost my hotel reservation which resulted in a taxi driver driving around for 2 hours looking for a hotel with vacancies.

The next day, jet lagged I made my way into Manhattan to my hostel to explore before I had to meet at the hotel for camp transfers the following day. That first day once I dumped my bags I set off walking around Manhattan equipped with my lonely planet pocket book about $50usd in my pocket and no idea where to go first. I got lost so many times! I met a lot of amazing and interesting people along the way. Who said people in New York were rude? I’ve dealt with worse in Sydney!

After an amazing 2 days exploring it was time for camp, I arrived at the pickup point the day before, registered and met all the other eager camp counsellors ready to start the journey. Early the next morning still battling jet lag we got split into our camps, piled onto yellow school buses (yellow school buses!) and made our way to camp with a couple of pick-ups on the way.

I had never seen/heard anything about summer camps, here in Australia we do not have summer camps unless you are part of cubs/scouts but even that camp only lasted 2 weeks. The only camp I had experienced before was a 2-3 day camp with school which was nothing like the summer camp I was about to experience.

The camp counsellors arrived a couple of days earlier than the kids so they could all get to know each other, set up the bunks, find the equipment, get the lay of the land and get up to date on any first aid courses needed. The camp I was at was a brother/sister camp in upstate New York about 190km from the Canadian boarder. The boys camp was about a kilometre up the road from the girls with a place for the counsellors to go on their day/nights off, between the two.

There were 2 other Aussies counsellors, as well as many English, Polish and Israeli counsellors plus the graduated campers who come back as counsellors every year. I was 1 of 4 counsellors in my bunk of approx. 8 girls aged between 9 and 11. The camp lasted 2 months, it was an experience I look back on a lot and am extremely thankful for the oppurtunity however I never returned.

About 3 days after the camp ended my dad and nan arrived in NYC, we then spent the next 2 weeks adventuring around the East Coast of America. We met in Manhattan, then to Boston, New Jersey, Philadelphia, Washington DC, back to New Jersey and ending back in New York.

Boston, Philadelphia and New York were my favourite. New York felt just like home. Sydney is non-stop just like NYC, Boston was a layer back chilled out place and Philadelphia was an amazing place to learn. Unfortunately I didn’t really have a chance to experience Washington DC, I think the 2 months of camp finally caught up to me which left me extremely exhausted.

I hope to get back to the US soon, this time I think i’ll start on the west coast… First stop San Fransisco. I hope it’s in time for the reboot of Full House – Do you think Uncle Jessie needs a girlfriend?

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