On June 15th 2018, I started my 11+ hour trip to my new work placement for summer, Camp Anne in Ancramdale, New York. Camp Anne is a special needs summer camp that run a lot of programs and special activities, designed to give the campers the best summer experience and fun at home away from home.
On arrival we had a tour of our new home for the next 12 weeks and met our other cabin / staff members and directors. We got comfy and started off with ice breakers, got to know one another, and from there, for the next 2 weeks, we went through intense training, as well as team building exercises ready for when the campers arrive.
Before the campers arrived, we would have a full cabin meeting to discuss and prepare their arrival, cabin staff would be assigned their camper(s) and the program staff will go over job roles and responsibilities. I was hired as part of the art program due to my art history and volunteer experience, as well as being an ABA tutor at home, I could bring that experience forward to helping other cabin staff. The campers would stay for just under 2 weeks and then staff would have a intersession for a couple of days.
After our intersession / break, we arrived back at camp and our new campers arrived.
During the second session, I found my mental health was taking a massive toll, not just being away from home, missing loved ones and being in an unfamiliar environment. I had such a huge responsibility, which also came with a lot of stress on myself. I pushed through and completed the session thanks to my other cabin / staff members and the campers who I was there for, but unfortunately after my second intersession, due to my physical health taking its toll, I had to make the extremely hard decision to return home.
Getting back home from camp, in the middle of the country side, was going to be difficult, especially with my current mental health conditions. But I took the leap and started the trip home on July 22nd.
Overall, my experience was unique, and this blog post is based truly on my experiences. Camp America and Camp Anne were fantastic, completely supportive and helped me every step of the way.