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10 Years On | My American Summer Camp Experience

 

 

This year marks an important anniversary in my photography journey. 10 years ago I had the opportunity to go and work abroad at an American Summer Camp. I’d originally planned to go the year before but backed out due to being a “scaredy cat”.

After applying with USA Summer Camp I had a small interview over the phone and landed my number one choice of being paid to take photographs. I was going to be working at a Jewish summer camp called Nah-Jee-Wah which was part of NJY Camps located just over the border to Pennyslyvannia on the outskirts of a tiny town called Milford. Spoiler Alert! I’m not Jewish.

At the time I wasn’t being paid to be a photographer and was half way through my Bachelors of Science degree for Computer Games Design. Being paid to take photographs felt like a bit of a rockstar job and it was fair to say my somewhat already oversized noggin got inflated by this role.

I packed my entry level DSLR and lens’ into my bag surrounded by all my clothes which my mum had sewn name tags into. Rock ‘n’ roll for sure!

The highly extraverted photographer you see now is not the way I’ve always been. Trips like this and sink or swim experiences have moulded my character over many years. So the previous introverted version of myself boarded a plane for the summer with no idea of how one summer was going to put a fork in my future road.

The next 10 weeks were a rollercoaster of emotions. In the first week Michael Jackson left the world his legacy and then my little toe almost left with him due to a freak slip and slide accident. With the toe reattached I took some fantastic photographs for the camp website. I gained a massive admiration for teachers and parents as I came to the realisation of children maybe being the devil incarnate. Immersing myself in the culture I found myself wearing a kipper and singing songs in Hebrew on a daily basis. I made a lot of friends who I wished I’d kept in touch with a little more over the years. Then to round off the trip I spent a good few days wandering New York with camera in hand admiring and experiencing.

All kidding aside, I learnt so much about myself and photography in such a small period of time. Once I returned I tried to leave my degree to study photography and then within a year I photographed my first wedding.

Now 10 years later I’m due to photograph one of my fellow Nah-Jee-Wah counsellors wedding’s. What an awesome way to tie off an experience on it’s 10th anniversary.

 

Thinking Of Going to an American Summer Camp?

Are you thinking about going to work on an American Summer Camp? It’s a great experience but I obviously have a grand perspective of the whole saga so feel free to reach out and drop me a question no matter how silly it sounds in your head.