Saturday, 30 January 2016

Summer Camp Counselor Application

Having recently been placed at a camp for Summer 2016 with Camp Leaders, I thought I'd share an insight into the application process for anyone thinking of applying, or already in the process themselves, just so you can see how it all goes!

Most people tend to apply through agencies such as Camp Leaders, Camp America or Americamp. They all do pretty much the same thing, just browse the websites and see which one you prefer and go with that! You'll still end up having a great summer whichever agency you choose. I'm sure the application process is similar across the agencies, but I went through Camp Leaders, so this is what I have done!

Step 1) Starting the application

To begin with, it's all very basic. You fill in all the information about you, where you live, who you are, what you do etc. You then move onto filling in your skills which is so important! Think of anytime you participated in any of the skills and write about it, show versatility! Especially talk about any child related experience with the skills too. Although it will take quite a while, take time completing the application, you need to sell yourself! You'll also need three references who have known your for at least six months, and within the past year.

Step 2) Deposit and Interview

In order to be accepted onto the Camp Leaders programme, you need to pay your £49 deposit and have an interview either face-to-face or over Skype, with a member of their National Team. Don't be worried about this!! It's more like a char about your application. Just think about why you want to do it, why you'd be good, and be ready to talk more about your skills!

Step 3) Fees, Showcase & Forms

Once you have been accepted onto the programme you need to start paying off the remainder of your fees and working towards your profile being 'Ready to Hire'. You can pay off the money in instalments so don't worry too much, I believe you have 60 days from being accepted. This may also be the time you select to either book your flights yourself and pay less fees, or pay slightly more and they arrange your flights for you. Pick whichever suits you best!

Next up is to create a Showcase. This is a short video introducing yourself, why you want to go to camp, for around 1 minute. I'd recommend adding one of these, as they're pretty easy to do, and it just makes your profile look even better!

Then you need to complete some forms: Medical and the Police Check. Both forms are found on your camp leaders account under the 'Documents' section. The medical form needs to be completed and signed off by your GP, mine cost just under £20, but this will vary depending on your doctors. Next you complete your Police Check which is an International Child Protection Certificate (ICPC) and this costs £60 and you'll need a passport size photo of yourself, signed by a professional you know.

Step 4) Ready to Hire!

Now comes the exciting bit! Once you've completed all of the above, your profile will change from Visible, to Ready to Hire, meaning camp directors can now view your application. Be sure you check your emails (including junk) in case a Camp tries to contact you. If they are interested they will put you 'On Review' meaning so other camp can see you for the time being.

It is likely they will want to have a chat with you to see if you are a match for their camp, but if not don't worry, there's plenty more! Hopefully though, it will lead to you being Placed, and then moving onto sorting out your Visa and Flights - as I am now doing!

Alternatively, you can head to a recruitment fair and find a position that way. If this is what you try, ensure you do your research in advance, and get there early! The queues get very long.

I hope this helps, Good Luck!

- A

P.s. Anyone else going to Camp this summer?! It's my first time!

Tuesday, 3 November 2015

Things I've Learnt In 21 Years

Let me begin this by saying I am by no means the wisest, most experienced life-liver out there, but in my my time I feel like there have been a lot of lessons I've learnt, so I thought I'd share a few of them with you. Perhaps you share these lessons learned, or perhaps you never will, but sometimes you just need to reflect on these things.

1) Not to be afraid of making big changes to be happy.
For me this has been a biggy recently. And for me this revolves around University.
I am one of those people who probably should've taken a gap year, and because of this my uni experience has been far from straightforward. I started a course in 2013 I thought would be 'useful', instead of one I was passionate about. Flash forward 2 years I have changed my course and changed my uni. Both of these things were stressful, and made things more difficult, BUT I now enjoy what I do, and look forward to the things I can do with it when I graduate in 2017. Had I been too scared to make these changes who knows where I'd be, or how I'd feel.

Though, I'm not saying I regret my initial decisions, as I have had some wonderful memories because of them, and I wouldn't change them for the world. Everything happens for a reason, folks!

2) Some people genuinely aren't worth your time.
I had a hard time accepting this one. Whenever I get annoyed with someone for whatever reason often, I always try to back it up by saying "Oh, but they are really nice when...". When in actual fact, some people really don't deserve that. I've learnt this the hard way when trying to convince myself negative, nasty people aren't all that bad, when in actual fact, they are, and they're toxic. Jump ship! Don't let them break you, they just aren't worth it.

3) Not to worry so much.
I'm a chronic worrier, and I hate it. But this is something I've worked on over the past couple of years, and when I'm able to do it, life becomes so much lighter and happier. Letting go of negative thoughts will do wonders for how you feel daily. Much like a heavy rucksack, if you carry it round with you all day, your shoulders will continue ache even once you've taken the bag off! Reduce what you carry, and the length you carry it. Will it matter a year from now? Probably not, let it go a bit, and remember to breathe!

4) Say Yes 
This is the lesson I'm still trying to learn! Saying yes enables you to step out of your comfort zone, learn, see and do new things, possibly with new people! It seems scary at first, when really it should feel exhilarating to be putting yourself out there and experience what the world has to offer. If it goes well then great, if it doesn't, well, at least you know now. Even little things like trying new food, or going out with your friends even when you really, really don't want to and The Walking Dead is calling you. Do it. You never know what could happen!

So that's just a few things off the top of my head right now, so stay tuned for Round 2!

What are things you've learnt that you'd like to share?
Let me know!

Tips for Freshers


After two years living away from home and studying at University, I now think I have a few things that I definitely would've liked to have been told beforehand.

So in the hopes that this could help someone, here goes!

1) Invest in decent knives.
A practical one to begin with. A decent block of knives is something not to cheap out on (as I did!). You notice the difference immediately, and your life will be so much easier if you just spend a little more, they're also a lot more likely to last you the 3 years you spend away from home.

2) Go beyond your housemates.
As much as I loved my housemates in halls, I wish I'd branched out more in the beginning. It was so easy to just stick with the people I knew from halls in lectures or on nights out, but in reality, I really missed out. My tip for you is to sit with people you don't know, and get to know them! Joining a club/society is another great way to meet as many people as possible and then become besties. Don't just stick with your housemates because it's easy. It's still ok to be besties with your housemates too, mind.

3) Start budgeting early.
If you learn to manage your money straight away there's less of a chance that you'll make friends with your overdraft. Yes it's great to have if you really need it. But don't think of it as free money, you do have to pay it off! If you find that you're in a sticky situation and need to use it, check with your bank to see if you have a student overdraft with no interest first, otherwise you could rack up the fines!

4) Try not to go home during the first few weeks.
This is harder for those in relationships going into uni. But honestly, try not to go home for a few weeks, especially during freshers! This is the most carefree time you'll have to just have fun and make friends. Don't waste time going home unless you absolutely have to. Just enjoy this time, you may regret it if you don't make the most of it. Similarly, don't invite your boyfriend/girlfriend up too early either. You may miss them, but take this time for yourself and bond with housemates and people on your course.

5) Don't take your first year too seriously.
This is easier said than done considering you're paying for this education, but just remember that you just need to pass, and none of the grades go towards your final degree classification. It's not the end of the world if you leave an assignment until the last minute, so long as you get it in. It's not the end of the world if you miss a lecture or two because you're hungover. And it's definitely not the end of the world if an assignment isn't the grade you want. Just learn from it all, find what works for you, and what your strengths and weaknesses with assignments are, and use this to prepare for the 2 years that count.

Hope this helps!
Good luck.

Monday, 29 June 2015

Tips to Encourage Positivity

As I sit here in my bed after a pretty crappy day, I went searching the internet for help. I needed some inspiration to pick myself up, dust off, and get back in the game.

During my search, I found this great post which will serve as my guideline and muse for this post, in the slight hope it could reach someone else in need of a boost.

So here are a few from the list in the link above that I will share my own thoughts on.

1) Be the hero of your own story

Possibly my favourite. Imagine this, your life is a film or book that the rest of the world is watching, and YOU are the main character. You want to make it worth watching, right? And you can be whoever you want! Think of a character you love - what is it about them? Inject a little of whatever it is into your life and see what happens.

For me, it's Blair Waldorf from Gossip Girl. Sure, she's not a role model in all respects, but she is badass. Confidence to die for, takes on all problems, and loyalty I'd love from a friend.

2) Fail Often, Fail Better

You're going to make mistakes, it's inevitable. Just make the most of these mistakes and learn from them so you don't make them again. One less reason to fall down again.

3) Build Momentum

In order to achieve great things in life you have to work for them long term. Great things don't (usually) happen overnight. Take regular small steps to being the person you want to be, and achieving the things you want to achieve.

4) Do simple things everyday

Smiling more often can genuinely make you feel happier. I tried it. I was having a crap day at work, so I made myself smile more to convince customers I was happy. And you know what? I convinced myself.

Take any opportunities you get to be positive and happy, leading the life you want.

5) Find Inspiration Daily

This is a biggie for me.

Quotes, Photos, Blog Posts, Videos, Films.
All of these can provide much needed inspiration at times. Just a quick search in Instagram can lift my mood instantly as I am connected with thousands of like-minded people trying to life their own spirits with the help of quote photos.

Find inspiration that helps you and use whenever you need it, and share with those that need it too.

6) Learn from your past, then let go

Once something has happened, it's never coming back, so why hold on to it?
Don't hang onto bad feelings you once had, it's unhealthy and helps no one. Instead just learn from whatever went wrong, and then let go of it. Move on to whatever else your day has in store for you, and kick-ass.

7) Be Kind

A huge one here.

Some people will say "There's no such thing as a self-less good deed" but if you can help someone else out, and then feel good about it too, why is that such a bad thing? Why do people believe that you shouldn't be able to feel good for an action you did.

Spread kindness whenever you can, you have no idea what it could mean to someone else. And you never know, they could then go on to doing the same for someone else. And so it continues.

8) Be Positive and Believe in Yourself

A lot of the time this is easier said than done, especially as I type this from my pit of self-loathing.

*Cliche Alert* You only get one life, so really what is the point of wasting it being unhappy? Unless you have a clinical condition, it can be so easy to switch up your life, have some confidence and go at a new positive lifestyle. Give it a go, I dare you.

9) Grow

Everyday is a new opportunity to learn and grow, and to become a better, healthier and more positive person. I intend to try and grow in some way as much as I can from now on.

Whether it be trying to learn a new word in another language everyday, accepting a flaw that I have and I hate, or moving on from something in my past that is holding me back.

Our time is limited, lets be the best we can be

10) Quit the Internet

So this one I'm working on.

Our world is so reliant on the internet, we don't see it for the important uses, only our social media uses. The internet can be both a wonderful and very, very cruel place. I have learnt more about my so called 'friends' from their social media platforms, than I ever did face to face. People aren't what they seem, and they are shielded by their computer monitors for protection.

One day I'll suck it up and remove myself from this toxic environment until I can truly appreciate it's worth.

So, that's all for now. I hope you enjoyed this food for thought, and I would love it if you shared with me any suggestions you have to encourage positivity or happiness.


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