This is my third time writing a summer rewind piece, for some reason I keep getting later and later, so now they are summer/autumn rewind, change is good, right? As this year has been such a crazy wild one, I’m going to do an autumn rewind as well (otherwise this blog would be much too long).
Thankfully I moved out of my tiny, crappy single bedroom in my student halls. First-year was finally over, no more exams, no more assignments and no more having to fumigate my bedroom thanks to next doors bong love (I won’t miss that). I’d packed it all up, sadly I was a little hungover due to a works night out, but who doesn’t love a headache to kick start a busy stressful day.
Once I got home I spent a lot of time with my family, as I knew I only had 2 weeks before I began my second American adventure. On the 28th of May, at 6am, my mum and I got the train to Manchester Airport, ready to travel 7,000 to summer camp. I was lucky enough to be able to go a couple of days early, and I stayed with my friend from the year before.
I was supposed to do some sightseeing around Salt Lake City but my jetlag was horrendous this year so I ended up staying in bed. Leigh’s family was so incredible, we went on hikes, visited people from the year before, who wasn’t going back, visited East High (Yes High School Musical) and had the best time. Having friends all over the world is such a blessing and Leigh knows if she ever wants to come to England she always has a place to stay in Liverpool or Sheffield.
Staff Training! Similar to last year, staff training began the Sunday the first week of June. My camp is 11 weeks long, 1 week staff training and 10 weeks of actual camp. This is one of the longer camps I’ve noticed while working for Camp Leaders, I love it because you spend so much time with staff and on camp, it really is amazing.
This year instead of being an Outdoor Cooking (ODC) specialist, I decided to go for the general counselor role. This was so I could spend more time getting to know the kids and having fun with them. During the first week at camp, the asked me to be ODC as the actual specialist hadn’t arrived due to visa complications. I was absolutely fine with that and had a great time teaching them inside out pizzas.
Afterward, they asked if I would be a Leadership Specialist with one of my good friends Adam. I was so happy with this as I love working with older kids, you get to teach them, go camping with them and you are their counselors for 2-3 weeks. I had the best time as the Leadership specialist and really hope the kids enjoyed it too.
When I wasn’t with the kids I made the best friends ever. Avery who I was so lucky to meet, her parents had a home 20 minutes away so we were able to spend weekends there to relax and play Mario cart. We saw Toy Story 4 the day after release. A homage to 2018 when we saw The Incredibles 2 the day of release. We went thrift shopping and I found the best swimming costume ever, $2 to be covered entirely with Channing Tatum’s face, yes please.
Camp was incredible. We held a week for Camp Hope/SafeNest, who help kids, from Las Vegas, who have dealt with trauma enjoy a normal life. We were briefed on the challenges we might face with the children. Once they arrived they were the sweetest, most polite kids you would ever meet. They were so excited to be involved in all of camp life. It has to be most of the staff’s favourite week as the kids were so amazing.
I was also running the CIT program (counselors-in-training) with Adam, and we had a great group of kids for 3 weeks, which we were able to create an expedition into the backcountry and hike around Mt. Agassiz which is in the Uinta Mountain range. The sights were incredible and the kids were so involved, we were taught how to camp craft such as cleaning out utensils with mud and ‘going’ in the woods.
Further into summer, I had the opportunity to run extreme camp with another member of staff. This is where the kids come out of traditional camp, and we take them rafting, rock-climbing, mountain biking and then to the Olympic park where they can tobogganing and go on the high ropes courses. This was one of my favorite weeks, as I spent time with kids I wouldn’t have, they were younger than my Leadership kids, and I did some amazing activities I would never have the chance to otherwise.
I went to my first ever baseball game. What a crazy experience. It was the 4th of July weekend game which made it even better. I’d heard such mixed reviews like you need alcohol or its a waste of 5 hours (obviously not an option for us 19/20yr olds). I ignored all this and had the best time with my friends, we sat on the green with a picnic blanket, instead of seats, had a laugh, tanned, ate way too much food and took about 1,000 photos. Every time we asked a question about the game, we’d get so many strangers turning round to make sure our American friend answered correctly. For her sake, thankfully she did. The fireworks at the end were insane. I would definitely go again.
While at camp I applied to be a creator for Camp Leaders. Before I left Liverpool I worked as a blog writing intern for Camp Leaders, so by being a creator I could do the exact same thing, from home and paid. Kind of a no brainer. However, when you’re at camp there’s little to no wifi/service so contact with the editor was a little difficult at the start but he was very patient, thankfully as my schedule was hard to write in.
I dyed my hair blue. Who would’ve guessed?
I had the most American experience ever. A summer BBQ. There was hammocks, dogs, about 50 people – all their neighbours and most of the staff at camp – so much food, music and cornhole (bean bag into a plank of wood, very popular in Utah). It was honestly one of the most wholesome evenings of my life. Such a good, welcoming family (I’m the one ugly laughing in the front hammock).
The last couple of weeks this year at camp felt harder than the last. I’m not sure if it was the tougher job or I was just exhausted but sadly they started to drag. So my friends and I planned a huge road trip to keep our spirits high. We had to get everything sorted at camp, i.e. Airbnb’s and Car hire but somehow, with 20 minute computer time, we did it!
Sadly, camp was over and we said our last goodbyes. Some of the international staff will be staying at my house for NYE in Liverpool, so I knew I would see them soon. Then, Adam and I headed into Park City to the car hire center to pick up the SUV we’d hired. We ended up spending a little more as there were 4 of us, for 12 days on a road trip from Salt Lake City to Las Vegas, then to Zion National Park, then Moab National Park, back to Salt Lake to swap one of the friends (they had a flight to catch and the other wanted to join us for the last 5 days) then a 9 hour drive to Lake Tahoe.
*I will do a full blog post on my itinerary and tips from the road trip, otherwise you’ll be here for days*
August 29th we all said our goodbyes at Salt Lake City Airport, Abbi and I had the same flight which was really nice, so we had 11 hours to get to Manchester. Once I was home I spent time with my family, relaxing, writing blog posts and packing for Liverpool.
That’s probably the longest blog post I’ve written in a while. If only I could write my uni assignments so fast! lol not gonna happen. As it was so long, I am wanted to create multiple posts from this, i.e. Autumn Rewind, 1st year at uni vs. 2nd, Road Trip itinerary and tips, Uni halls vs. Uni house, etc, etc, etc. I hope you enjoyed this one!