Ciana is just home from spending a summer as a Camp USA counselor at Windsor Mountain Camp in New Hampshire and cannot wait to go back. Read her camp story below!
When I was 18 I decided that I wanted to go on a J1 visa as I wanted to start traveling and seeing more of the world. I applied for USIT’s Camp USA program in December of 2018 and was hired by Windsor Mountain Summer Camp in New Hampshire by January! It goes without saying that USIT helped me to have the summer of a lifetime working at a summer camp in the USA. The process was so simple and stress-free, the USIT team were always there to answer any questions I had about the process. The process included a phone interview with a member of the USIT team, application forms relating to my skills and experiences, the hiring fair process and the visa application. The visa application and interview process which I was so nervous about but it could not have been easier with their step-by-step guide and advice booklet.
The J1 experience itself was incredible, I can’t begin to describe it! When you are at camp, every day is different from the last, which is amazing.
USIT put me on a flight with some other Irish counselors working at my camp, so I already got to know people before starting, which made everything so much easier. From the moment I stepped foot into camp, I knew it was for me. All the camp counsellors were so excited to finally meet us and show us around. That’s when I first experienced the strong community atmosphere at camp.
After orientation, I had already made such strong bonds with everyone to the point that I felt like I knew my fellow counselors for years. However, you don’t only make connections with the other counsellors, my bunk kids truly became MY kids. Also, my co-counsellor was my co-parent and best friend at camp. You don’t even realise how close you’ve become with the counsellors and kids until the departure day, I was so upset to leave the place I called home for several months. In all honesty, there’s no way that I would not return to that beautiful, lake-surrounded, amazing community full of all different types of people.
After camp, your visa allows you to stay and travel in the USA for 30 days and your options are endless. You can travel with your camp friends or choose from USIT’s after camp travel packages. I got the chance to travel around America on my days off and got to see other states such as Massachusetts, Maine and Vermont.
Would I recommend this experience? 100% yes! For anyone with a love for working with kids, the outdoors and traveling, it was definitely worth it and the best summer I’ve ever had, I gained so much more than I ever thought I would and I will most certainly be going back.
Has Ciana’s story inspired you to become a camp counselor? If so, check out our Camp USA information here to start your camp journey today.