Diane

Anyone else's offspring done/doing CampAmerica?

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    As it says in the title really! My oldest is planning/hoping to do Camp America this year - we went to the info night the other evening at the Adelaide YHA (nice place by the way!) and I was just wondering if anyone else has parental experience of CampAmerica? Must say, my OH was dead keen to go himself....!

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    Hi Diane - I did it when i was nearly 18 and again when i was 20 - mainly because i was sooo scared of everything in life! ( even the thought of getting on the wrong bus would terrify me lol) and I needed to push myself before i started Uni. ( yikes!! 20 yrs ago now!). It was the absolute making of me... such a fabulous and a brilliant experience. I came back ready to take on anything ! The free flight there and back to England was the big pull for me too. Met some amazing people at camp, and travelled around the whole of America (pretty much) on the greyhound buses after camp was over, seeing loads of National Parks and various cities etc. I would have NO hesitation if one of my kids wanted to do it when they were older. Hope this helps! :)

    Jacinta x

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    I did BUNAC one summer when I was at college and I loved - like the previous poster. Flying into New York as an 18 year old on my own was amazing and then having to sort everything else out by yourself (we were given dates we had to be at our camps by and where to catch the bus too). I'm still in touch with friends I made during that summer (again over 20 years ago). If your daughter is confident enough and wants to do it then I should let her. It really is a great way to live in the USA and see some of it after camp has finished.

     

    Can't really tell you what it was like for my Mum while I was away but I wrote regularly and she seemed pleased that I would have that opportunity.

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    Thanks both - alas, free flights seem to be a thing of the past! It all seems very organised now, so far at least.

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    I'd say go for it. My daughter flew off to England, newly 18, worked in London for 4 months, found a job as an aupair in Paris for 10 months, moved back to England for a few months working live in pub job to save money for homewardbound. During this time she met Canadians, Mexicans, Americans and Australians who have all put her up on her long journey homewards via Iceland, Canada, America … next stop Japan, Malaysia Singapore then home and straight into Uni. She also met people in hostels along the way. She looked into these camps as a way to see America but couldn't afford it at the time. Your daughter will have a ball. She will stay in touch via FB or Facetime/viber or whatever you use.

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    Oh yes, this is actually her second "gap year"! She went to England at the start of last year for six months, worked over there, did a couple of trips etc, then came back here and has been working at various things, and acting/singing as is her wont in various productions since then. She wants to study acting at NIDA but they turned her down because of her age this time, so her plan is to explore America a bit this year before applying again. The Camp America thing seems perfectly suited to her - she loves activity of any sort and has done a lot of mentoring with younger kids in choir and at school and stuff. I wish I'd done something similar at her age!

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    Guest Claire-n-tel

    Oh Wow Diane! Let her go for it, travel of any kind teaches you more than any other activity, we have a total of about 7 years long term travel so far.......plan on lots more.....

     

    as Burton Holmes said......The only thing worth the money i have spent on them are my travel memories (1870-1958)

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    How does it work now the Diane? Do Camp america just provide the visa and right to work in America? Will your daughter still be "paid" for her work in camp?

     

    If she's got another year to pootle through I can think of worse ways to do it.

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    How does it work now the Diane? Do Camp america just provide the visa and right to work in America? Will your daughter still be "paid" for her work in camp?

     

    If she's got another year to pootle through I can think of worse ways to do it.

     

    They pay you for when you are there (they describe it as "pocket money"), and sponsor you for a J1 visa, which allows you to work at the camp but not elsewhere before or after. They also guide you through the whole application process and there's 24 hour support while you're there, plus you have medical insurance for the whole time. You can travel for 30 days before and 30 days after the camp. I think after talking to my daughter that they may still pay for flights from the UK for UK applicants, but not for Australian applicants from Australia :sad: - I guess because it's quite a bit more! Lucky she's been working while she's been back in Australia because you pay the Camp America fee, the Police Check fee, the visa fee and for the flights there and back. On the plus side, obviously all your accommodation and food is covered while you're working, for about 9-12 weeks.

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    Guest Claire-n-tel

    Hi Diane! My niece did that a couple of years ago (from uk) she did get her flight paid for but the rest of the fees added up to about double what you pay from australia (around $1500 instead of about $700) like i said that was a few years ago tho.

     

    I think she got paid around $1000 us$ for working for 10 weeks, when she was telling us about it it sounds like slave labour but she thought it was the greatest thing ever, and i'm sure she'll hold them memories forever! Her friend went back a second year and i don't think she had to pay the fees the second time (?)

     

    Amanda didnt go back there but up to a ski resort in canada to work for the season!

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    Eh Diane, in a couple of years all that dosh you pump into school fees and extra curricular activities will be yours again. Muahaaahhhhaaa. In the last two years I have travelled quite a bit more and bought things I have had my eye on :D

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    Eh Diane, in a couple of years all that dosh you pump into school fees and extra curricular activities will be yours again. Muahaaahhhhaaa. In the last two years I have travelled quite a bit more and bought things I have had my eye on :D

     

    You are so right. One of our reasons to sell up in England to move here was to realise the capital we had in our house, and enjoy it as a family rather than only getting the benefit when we were retired, so being able to pay for a good school, great family holidays, and help out with opportunities like this for the kids is what it's all about at the end of the day :biggrin:

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    Just thought I'd update this thread in case anyone else has teens thinking of doing this in the next few years. Dropped Lucy at the airport this morning and she is as I type in the air en route to a Camp in the Yosemite National Park in California, which will be her home for the next few months. All happened very quickly in the end - she got an email two weeks ago offering her the job and asking her to be out there by 3rd June in order to do Lifeguard training prior to the arrival of the campers. She completed her first aid course here, got her medical, applied for her visa, then flew to Sydney last Wednesday where the American Embassy had sent her sponsorship directly to the Camp America office there - she picked that up one day then went in for an interview and full ten digit fingerprinting at the Embassy before flying back home the same day, then the Embassy returned her passport with J1 visa (plus a B something tourist visa she also applied for at the same time) which arrived in the middle of last week. Booked flights, ordered the required Red American Lifeguard swimsuits (eat your heart out, Baywatch!) and left this morning.

     

    I don't think she or I have slept much for the last fortnight - but the place she is going looks fantastic and she is hoping to meet someone else who will want to travel a bit with her afterwards. I think I've persuaded her that hitchhiking around on her own isn't such a good idea....

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    Sounds fantastic! I always fancied doing it when I was young but I was never the outgoing/sporty/arty/leader type! My husband's cousin's daughter spent last summer going round Europe and the winter at a Canadian ski lodge, is now travelling round the States with a group of friends she has met along the way and looks like she is having such a brilliant time.

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    I did it many moons ago when I was 18 too - it was the best experience of my life! Lots of Aussies there when I did it too and they seemed to adapt to the camp lifestyle really well. The programme is really well run as are the camps and the people I met were fantastic. I only wish I would of done it again. From a parental aspect I spoke to my parents who were living abroad at the time a couple of times a week using the camp phone and a phone card and they could phone me whenever they wanted as we had a phone number we could give. I will definitely be encouraging my kids to do it but I can appreciate the apprehension you must be feeling about her being so far away.

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    Ah to be honest I'm not half as bothered as I thought I'd be! She coped with a nightmare journey there (connections cancelled, luggage travelling without her, and arriving in a strange town in the middle of the night with no hotel booked beforehand) so now she's actually at the camp, apart from the bears (and any randy fellow counsellors!), I'm thinking she's probably pretty safe for a few months!

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