Day in the life working at a Disability Summer Camp
7 – 8.30am – This is when the day usually begins. The campers within your cabin will usually start to wake up between these times. As I was working at a Summer camp as a general councillor at the camp our duties included making sure that the campers were ready for the day ahead and this would include helping the camper with their personal care e.g. helping get the camper dressed.
8.50am – Just before breakfast started we would go to the flag and have morning role call and this would usually include finding out the days evening activity (EA) and if the day had a theme. For example, some days would be circus day and during this day all the activities would be circus related.
9am – This was the normal time that breakfast was served. Breakfast would usually be on the table as we arrived and the breakfast meals ranged from eggs to pancakes. We would have to make sure that all the campers on our table got served all their breakfast before we could start getting any food for ourselves. The summer camp usually had plenty of food to go around and you could ask if you’d run out of anything. During breakfast we would be given a schedule for the day ahead and this schedule would have an order of activities, which the campers will have to follow throughout the day. I was placed in unit 1 and this meant that we usually had pool right after lunch and this was always the campers’ favourite activity.
9.30 – 12.15pm – Right after breakfast the activities would begin. At our summer camp the activities ranged from arts and crafts to horseback riding and drama to cooking. During a cooking activity the campers would be able to make lots of great meals, which ranged from rice crispy treats to smoothies. All of the campers’ disabilities varied so it was very important that we knew when and where the campers needed more help. Some of the camper I got to work with over the summer had cerebral palsy (CP) and these campers tended to need more help when it came to do the activities at camp.
12.30 – 1pm – After the morning activities were complete then it was time for lunch. Lunch ranged from grilled cheese to pasta salads. The days when it was chicken tenders for lunch was easily the campers’ favourite meal. Some of the campers I looked after needed feeding when it came to mealtimes, so we would have to make sure that the camper was all fed before I could go ahead and eat lunch. This was definitely a challenge at first but the camp supported us with lots of training beforehand so that we were ready for every situation.
1.30 – 5.45pm – After lunch we would again be following the set schedule of activities and for my unit we usually got our pool time then. We would have to help the campers’ get ready into their bathing suits and some campers needed a lot of help and support when it came to this as their disability was restricting them. The pool was easily everyone’s best activity. At the pool we would get to play with the campers and depending on the disability this ranged from throwing and catching to standing under the giant mushroom in the middle of the pool. After the swimming time was up we would go back to the cabin and get everyone showered off ready for dinner. Some of the campers needed hand-on-hand care with showing due to their disability.
6 – 6.30pm – After all the campers were showered we would take them to go and get some dinner. The dinners would range from pasta bakes to chicken.
7 – 8pm – After dinner was finished it was time for EA to begin and all the campers loved the EAs the camp would put in. During this time the activities would range from camp fires to dances and shows to spirit nights. The best EA in my opinion was easily the campfires as we all sat around the campfire while making S’mores and singing camp songs.
8-9pm – After EA was finished it was time to get the campers to bed. We would make sure all the campers were put to bed before we were then allowed off duty for the night. Then the day would all start again, until it was time for the campers to go home again.
Overall it was the hardest summer ever but also the best summer I’ve ever had in my life thanks to AmeriCamp. I made so many great friends and would not change my AmeriCamp experience for anything. Prior to working at a disability summer camp I didn’t have any experience with working with children who had disabilities but the camp had great support all-round so I never felt worried at any time. Anyone can apply for this camp type. I would easily recommend AmeriCamp to anyone even if you’ve had experience before or not.
Much love and Free Biscuits,
AmeriCamp Campus Managers x