Thankfully, I bagged myself the job!
I was hired on the spot as an Arts & Crafts counsellor at the lovely Camp Waukeela in New Hampshire, USA.
This was way back in January, and my flight out to the States wasn’t until June, thus giving me plenty of time to prepare myself – both physically and emotionally!
Not only did I need to start thinking about what I had to buy and pack to take over there with me, I also had to get all of the ‘paperwork’ taken care of – AKA the boring but, nevertheless, vital documents – such as a police background check, records from my doctors and, of course, my Visa! Admittedly, this did all cost time and money. For instance, I had to pay to travel down to London for my Visa, and the other papers you have to supply are not free either, but when you know that you’re doing and paying all of it to have the best summer of your life – an experience like no other – the worry subsides and the entire process becomes so worth it.
Besides, Camp America do warn you of these extra expenses from the get-go. They list everything that they do and do not cover, as well as giving you a rough guideline to what the extra documents will cost you, so this – in no way – was a shock sprung and forced upon me. I knew what I was getting involved with, and the whole process of gathering my documents was fairly simple and straightforward anyway thanks to Camp America’s detailed instructions and comforting assistance along the way. Ultimately, you have nothing to worry about! Just keep some extra money to the side for these small expenses and you’re good to go!
The Police Check:
This costs £54 and the fee is paid directly to the Police Check Authority after you’ve passed your interview. It is non-refundable and you will be given full instructions of how to apply for one. I remember this stage to be really easy; I filled in some bits online and had my clean, clear form sent out to me in the post not long afterwards.
The Medical Form:
Everyone is required to submit a medical form completed by your GP. The cost of this varies depending on your doctor, but the process of actually getting one goes without hassle. If I am remembering correctly, you are given a form through your Camp America account that you print out and hand in to your doctors. Then, within a week or so, you can return to collect it and scan it in to your online account. Sorted!
I remember being a little freaked out by mine… It states every single injection I have ever had, even the ones from when I was a teeny little tiny baby, but it was pretty cool to see!
Lastly, the Visa:
Once you have accepted your placement, and your police check and references have been verified, you will receive a ‘Placement Pack’ from Camp America. This includes all of your important Visa Paperwork and instructions on how to apply and book your Embassy appointment. It costs $160 USD (or £125), which is a fee set by and paid directly to the American Embassy.
… Getting your Visa is undoubtedly the hardest part.
Don’t get me wrong – nothing went wrong with me getting mine, but it was a scary process.
Not only are you are sent really important forms which you need to keep safe and in pristine condition, but you also have to visit the Embassy in London (!) and have an interview once you’re there. They require up-to-date passport pictures, your fingerprints, proof that you will return home once your work is complete, and quite a bit more too. You are also searched thoroughly upon arrival and have to wait in line at multiple points inside the building. Typically, on the day I had my appointment, it was pouring down with rain and my umbrella had broke. I had to go to the nearest supermarket, buy another, then stand outside the Embassy waiting, shivering from the cold but dreaming of the sun I’d soon see in America.
All in all, going off to Camp does require more work than what your normal trip abroad would, but you need to remember that this one is NOT a ‘normal trip abroad’ – this is potentially the best experience you will ever have, in a magical place full of the most outstanding and beautiful people, and so these little formalities and technicalities you have to do beforehand become a walk in the park. And, once you have dealt with them all, it’s time to pack!
‘What to Pack for Camp’ will be coming soon in this Camp America Experience series.
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