Quick Update: Camp and New York City

Hello everybody,

I hope you are enjoying your summer at the moment and that the weather is good. In Long Island the weather great, even though it gets quite humid here and we sometimes have a 100 degrees Fahrenheit (38 degrees Celsius) which is a lot when you are running around the whole day and do activities with the kids.

My third week in the United States has just begun (this blogpost will probably be published a bit later) and it is great so far. We had orientation for one week and the campers arrived the second week. We are a small camp in comparison to other camps in the United States, some of them have up to 7000 campers each summer. During orientation we prepared everything for the campers, for example we planned activities, games and different sessions, but we also had First Aid and CPR lessons. Additionally, we talked a lot about child behaviour and how to cope with difficulty situations, trust me – there will be difficult situations. It might depend in what kind of camp you are, just be prepared.

However, I can already tell that working with kids is an amazingly rewarding experience. One moment you think you are too strict and then suddenly they hug you, or draw you something and tell you that you are their favourite councellor. At the moment I feel like I am in a bubble because I don’t really feel like I am on earth right now. I am somewhere else, a save place that only exists to create great summer memories. It is amazing.

Yes, I am also exhausted sometimes. Coping with difficulties is sometimes really hard and sometimes I worry that I am not good enough for this job. But this is fortunately not often the case and when it happens I try to turn my thoughts on standby and focus on the kids, I am responsible and I want them to have a great time. Camp is about the campers, they are the most important piece in this great puzzle and it’s amazing to see how they change during that time. Kids who are bullied in school suddenly smile and laugh a lot. Introverted children suddenly become the loudest. It is a great community and I get up every morning with a smile on my face and am excited for the new day.

However, we also have off weekends when one sessions ends and the other is about to begin. On those weekends people go visit other places, which we did on our first day off. We took a train to Penn Station in the middle of Manhattan and spend our day in NYC. I know it sounds so stupid but it felt like coming home. There is no city like New York City. People from all around the world walk on these streets, it is always busy and overwhelming. This day we ran around a lot and visited some tourist attractions and even went to a thrift store in Soho. It was great! We don’t really have nice thrift stores in my town but the ones I visited in Amsterdam, London and NYC were amazing! Our day off was nice 😊

However, something happened: my camera broke. After six years of picture taking, something in the body is not working, and nobody can tell me what it is. I will have to wait till I’m home and figure something out for my time in the states. It’s sad but it can happen. We will see…

Nevertheless, I hope you enjoy my NYC iPhone pictures 😊

Have a good week!

Sophie

Camp America – An Announcement

Note: When you read this, I will already be on my way to the USA.

Camp America is an organisation that provides cultural exchange programs for young people from the age of 18. Every year thousands of people from all around the world travel to the US in order to work in a summer camp for kids and teens.
Since American students have 12 weeks of summer vacation, it is very common to spend some weeks in a summer camp.

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In camp there are different job positions, you can be a lifeguard, a general counsellor or a specialist.
As it is a cultural exchange program, you will be working with Americans who are often former campers at their camp, probably many Britons (everyone in Great Britain knows this program), people from western Europe and even Australians and New Zealanders often take part.

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Types of Camps

There are different types of Camps and if you have preferences, you will be able to add this in you application. These are the camp types:

  • Private Camps
  • Jewish Camps
  • Christian Camps
  • Special Needs Camps (e.g. working with children and adults who have a disability)
  • Underprivileged Camps (Free of charge for the campers)
  • Girl Scout Camps
  • Day Camps
  • Single Sex Camps

I had no preferences in my application and I know have the honor to work in an underprivileged camp in New York.

YES, I WILL SPEND NINE WEEKS IN FREAKING NEW YORK!

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Working at Camp

You can either work as a counsellor, or as Campower.
Working as a counsellor means looking after the kids and you usually share a bunk with them and your co-counsellors. You will also be involved in different activities the campers have every day. Another option is being a specialist and teaching the kids something. You can basically be a specialist for every kind of sports.
Dance, soccer, basketball, equestrian, ropes, tennis etc.
But camps need also specialists for arts and crafts, nature, they need lifeguards, or even specialists for girl power.
In general, working at camp can be a very, very rewarding experience!

Campower staff can be working in a kitchen or be part of the maintenance staff. Basically they experience camp in a different way than the counsellors, since they are not responsible for the kids.

I will be working as a general counsellor and also as an arts and crafts specialist, which means I will be doing arts projects with the kids and also be a counsellor.
I really hope that I can also occasionally teach ballet or jazz modern classes, but the dance counsellor job in our camp mainly focussed on hip hop and street dance, which I am definitely not good at 😂

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How to apply for Camp America

If you want to spend your summer working at a camp in the USA, you need to apply on the CA-website or if you are German, at AIFS. You also need to be free at least from mid June till September. The application process is quite extensive.

You have to write a lot about yourself, why you want to work at a camp, tell them about the experience you have with children, you need at least two skills you can write about (sports, art etc.) and need two references from your teacher or trainer (must not be part of your family).
Additionally, you need to film a video about yourself, presenting your skills and your life, you have to fill in a medical form with your doctor’s signature, you need a certificate of good conduct and CA or AIFS will interview you.

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After your interview with your organization where they will make sure that you are capable of doing such a job, your application will be uploaded and all camp directors have access to it. If they are interested in hiring you, they will contact you and arrange a interview via skype. If they think you are suitable for a job at their camp they will ask if they can hire you. Now that you are hired, you have to apply for a VISA and go to a local embassy to get it approved. During your summer, you will have a medical insurance and if you are a „first year“, they will also book your flights and care of almost everything.
Now you can prepare yourself for camp, get in touch with other counsellors and be over excited for the hopefully best summer of your life 😄!

After your time at camp, you will have another four weeks to travel in the country, usually internationals will travel together, but you can also travel alone or book a Camp America-Track. This part is of course optional and you can choose the amount of days you would like to spend travelling.

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What do you think about this program? Would you be interested in working in a summer camp in the United States?

xx, (overly-excited) Sophie

 

Pictures in this post are not mine, they are from the movie „The Parent Trap“ with Lindsay Lohan from 1998. If you click on the images, you will directly get to the source where I found them.

Party in the USA 1995 – New York City

New York City is so far the greatest city I have ever visited. At the beginning of this summer I started my New York City blogpost series and today I would like to continue with a blogpost about my mothers New York trip.
In 1995 she traveled the United States with her best friend. They went to Memphis in Tennessee, went on a road trip in California and they spend some days in Boston and New York City. Stay tuned, she will probably write a blogpost about her road trip on my blog!

Anyway, she always promised me that we would go to NYC after my sixteenth birthday and that this trip would be my birthday present. However, we did not went to the USA together, since my school offered a field excursion and I took part in it.

Nevertheless, we both went to the same places in the city and it is amazing to compare our travel photographs. I hope you enjoy having a look at these vintage photographs, taken in 1995.

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Oh Central Park. We both loved Central Park. I already told you in my second NYC blogpost that I really enjoyed my bike tour through the park. I can highly recommend renting a bike, we rented our bikes at Central Park Sightseeing.

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Do you remember the pictures of Manhattan at night? My mother also climbed the Empire State building and took similar pictures but in broad daylight.

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The Times Square and the streets that surround the world’s greatest advertisement space. In 1995 the Times Square was already so colourful, I wish I could go back to NYC very soon. Today there are so many great stores near the Times Square, absolutely counterproductive if you are trying to live a more minimalist life.

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Grand Central Station:Old NYC-10

The Empire State Building, fun fact: My mother and her friend confused the Empire State Building with the Chrysler Building. They still laugh about it a lot.

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Wall Street Subway Station:Old NYC-12

I hope you enjoyed this little time travel.
Stay tuned!

Sophie

 

 

Pin it and don’t forget it!Old NYC-Pinterest

Things I love about New York City

We finally made it to the end of my New York City series! I have already shared pictures with you of the Brooklyn Bridge, the Empire State Building at night and of the Staten Island Ferry. I also talked about What to do in NYC and informed you about things I’d love to do if I went back to New York one day.
Today, I will be sharing with you my favourite reasons why we should all visit this stunning city at least once.

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Cultural Diversity

I really enjoy having conversations with people from all over the world. I love exchanging experiences and I like to listen to other people’s stories. If you are interested in exploring different cultures and if you are into talking, you will love New York City!
I have never met so many people from different countries before. Of course you will probably meet some Chinese people in China Town and Italians in Little Italy.
But many other people from foreign countries are working in NYC, for example as tourist guides or waiters and waitresses in restaurants. It is definitely worth it to just talk to people. I also met many Germans, they probably noticed my german accent…(which is hopefully not that bad anymore :D) Anyway, it was just a great experience.
Besides, we met a lot of Hispanics in Union City. On our first evening we went to a nice restaurant and had Spanish and Mexican food which was simply great! They were so kind and in a very good temper. I would highly recommend visiting the other quarters of the city, since Manhattan is not the only nice spot in New York.

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The food

Oh yes the fooood! I have never been to a city where you find so many different food trucks and restaurants. Besides the common fast food places (very thrilling for us Germans) like Chipotle, Chick-fil-A and Dunkin Donuts, New York offers, as commonly known, many great places to have delicious food!
I have to admit that at first, I was a little afraid of the great variety. But later on, after I survived the cultural shock, I discovered some nice places to have breakfast, lunch and dinner.
At the beginning of our trip, we made sandwiches and took them with us, but they were so gross because the bread tasted like paper in comparison to the German bread. (We probably just picked the wrong brand) But then we went to a restaurant near Fifth Avenue where my friend had a delicious stake and I had a vegetarian dish which was also amazingly tasty. To be honest, I am neither able to tell you the name of the restaurants we went to, nor can I tell you what dishes I had. It is just that I went on this trip two and a half years ago and at that time I did not know that I will write about it one day.
However, do not be afraid to try new things in New York, you will love the variety of foods offered on the streets and at restaurants!

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Its changeableness

I do not even know if this is something that militates in favour of the City, but to my mind it is astonishing how multifaceted New York is when it comes to housing and environment. In Manhattan for example you will find many office blocks in Midtown, while the Upper East and West Side are more known to be the residential district for more prosperous people. You probably know the Upper East Siders from Gossip Girl :P.
On the one hand you have the quarters where Manhattan’s elite lives and on the other hand, quarters like SoHo, Little Italy and China Town. There is such a great variety and you will definitely not be bored.
Furthermore, Brooklyn used to be a tricky place to stay but today, this is completely different. I loved Brooklyn, it is just a little bit more calm and not that crowded. Wasn’t it Miranda Hobbes from Sex and the City who said that Brooklyn is the new Manhattan?
To be honest, I am not able to evaluate this statement but I feel like it is true. I would love to live in Brooklyn one day!

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Now, this is the end of my New York posts. I really hope you enjoyed reading them and especially the photographs.

What do you think about New York City? Do you like crowded metropolises or do you prefer the countryside?
Feel free to comment, I am always interested in other people’s opinions and thoughts!

Stay tuned,
Sophie

 

Pin it and don’t forget it!Reasons-Pinterest-NYC

NYC #7 – Brooklyn Bridge

Brooklyn Bridge, as well one of the most touristy places in New York.
No caption needed, I just hope you like the photographs of this architectural masterpiece. Additionally, you will be happy to hear that my New York City Photography series comes to an end and there is only one post left.

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Stay tuned and have a great week!

xx, Sophie

NYC #6 – Almost touching the sky

We bought our group ticket from a local tourist guide and decided to climb the Empire State Building on the spur-of-the-moment. It was 10pm and we were very excited.
Having arrived at the building, a woman guided us to a huge elevator. I was wondering how long it would take to get up onto the platform on the 86th floor.
The answer was, just a few seconds. My ears were aching, my heart sank into my boots – I was afraid.
As soon as we arrived at the 86th floor I became excited. My friend and I stood in front of the glass door which separated us from the terrace.
„Ready?“ she asked, „Break!“ I answered. (It’s an American Football thing, we used to play Ladies Football)
We opened the door, a strong breeze was blowing through our hair. We stepped out on the terrace and walked to the fence. What we saw was beyond words.

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