Roughly one and a half months after thinking up this crazy idea I had arrived in the United States. Sydney to LA I spent one night in Santa Monica by myself before continuing my next trip. Introducing myself to a new country was intimidating, and especially an area like Santa Monica was so different to anywhere I had been until now (I’ll talk more about this in a later blog).
LA to Washington D.C, about a five hour flight. I made it and was met with some lovely people that I was getting to hang out with for the next eight weeks. Before I knew it we were at camp, being introduced to a few others and shown our dorm for the weekend of lifeguard training. Three days and a few good swims later, a fully certified me with the American Red Cross First Aid and Lifeguarding Course.
Pecometh is a christian camp for kids age seven through seventeen. It offers the perfect setting for a God-inspired camp and offers a great load of activities from kayaking, water skiing, archery, cooking, horse riding, splash down, arts and crafts and much more! It’s located in Maryland along the most stunning Chester River and surrounded by cornfields. (Here’s the link – Pecometh Summer Camp)
Week one: Staff training week. I got to meet fellow counsellors, lifeguards, team managers and ground staff. Young adults from literally all over the world came to lead and inspire campers for the summer from England, Holland, Scotland, Ireland, Poland, New Zealand, Australia and elsewhere. This week we learnt about the way of camp, food, leading and looking after a bunch of kids, worship times, all the outdoor activities and us lifeguards also completed an open water course for the river. This was great bonding time and an awesome time to learn everything great Pecometh offers.
Week two: This was it. Mid Sunday arvo and the first group of campers were to arrive. About 150 of them. There were local families, people from interstate and others had flown half way across the country to be here. We were welcoming and showing our campers to their dorms. There are a few groups of dorms located across the camp grounds, all within a quick driving distance.
Being a lifeguard I had the privilege of hanging out at either the pool or most of the time the river all day everyday. Getting up at 7am, taking campers for breakfast then heading over to base. Being at the river required us to get out all lifejackets, canoes, kayaks and check that splashdown is still floating. The first group of campers arrived and we did our thing! Teaching them how to kayak/canoe and then taking them on trips down the river or playing games near the pier. We also had the responsibility of splashdown use, watching over that and just helping out.
This was my summer. Eight weeks, of getting a tan, talking to awesome kids, being somewhat influential and hanging out with the most incredible co workers all within the vicinity of an amazing, beautiful Jesus loving environment. As if this wasn’t already enough there was so much more amazing things to come!
Week three: I got to turn counsellor this week helping out with Summer Respite. This week adults with disabilities were given the chance to come to camp, take part in activities and live away from the norm. This was a challenge for most of us having no background knowledge or prior training to helping these adults. It was a huge learning curve and the most rewarding experience of the whole time. Seeing our new friends have so much fun, meet new people and the joy that filled the camp was incredible!
We weren’t half way though yet but it felt as though I had lived at camp already for months.
Stay tuned for more of what summer camp offers!