A Typical Day At Camp America
A Typical A or B Day
During the summer of 2011 I spent 2 months working at Camp Walden in Northern Michigan, it was a fantastic summer and even now when I see camp people it is all we talk about. But what was a typical day like?
8 am Wake Up Bell – although at this point most of us were still asleep as there was no need to wake until nearer the breakfast bell.
8.30 am Breakfast Bell – With the girls in the cabin all a wake before this bell, in our PJS we would head to the mess hall.
9.30 – 10 am – Breakfast tended to end around the same time depending on messages or any special activities going on that morning. During breakfast time the counsellors had to sign up for the duties they would partake in that day. We then had time to get dressed, help the girls with hair brushing etc. and the cabin had to be cleaned – each person had a job on the cleaning rota we made at the beginning of the session.
10 am Period 1 – Kids went to their activities, counsellors went to their activities unless they had a free period. For me this was horse riding – the horses had already been brought in and fed needed tacking up for the first lesson. We then taught classes of 1 to 3 either alone or with another counsellor, before heading back to the stables to put the ponies away.
11.15 am – Period 2 – Everyone would switch to their next activity. Kids would leave the stables and others would arrive. I would stay and In the spare few minutes we would tidy, check the horses or plan the next lesson. The period would then run in the same way as period one.
12.30 pm – Clean-up for lunch – At the stables this meant un-tacking all the horses, feeding them lunch and tidying up any mess from the morning. This meant I would never get back to my cabin during this time to help the girls out however other counsellors would be there.
12.45 pm – Lunch Time – Girls sit on girls’ side and boys sit on boys’ side, lots of chants, songs etc. the whole way through and lunch and then again at dinner. You would always have to queue to go through the buffet style of lunch and grab your food. The food is mostly different each day of the week, however there was always a salad bar which I pretty much lived off.
1.30 pm –Rest Hour – You were either on or off for rest hour. Kids had to stay in the cabin with one counsellor and then the other counsellors from the cabin were free for an hour. This mostly meant sun bathing on the dock.
2.30 pm – Period 3 – For me this was back to the stables, to either teach a lesson, poo pick, ride or groom. The work at the stables was certainly not all glamorous as we were in charge of every aspect of the stables, not just teaching the kids to ride.
3.45 pm – Punch and Cookies – This was a time when kids received mail and had a catch up with counsellors and friends. Sometimes we would also have special events or activities taking place during this time. And yes you did get bug juice punch and occasional cookies but mostly fruit.
4.15 pm – Period 4 – Adopt A Pony lesson took place during this period mostly, which meant the kids would all pick a horse they wanted to look after for that session. They then got to groom, wash, learn to tack, paint, glitter etc. with that horse during that period. Each kid had to learn the colour and breed of their horse, an activity for real horsey people. At the end of the day we would turn the horses out to the field – something the kids loved to watch. We also had to make sure the stables were clean and tidy for the night.
5.30 pm – Wash up for dinner – chill out, change clothes, get clean etc. It was always nice to catch up with my cabin girls and see how their day had been.
6 pm – Dinner
7 pm – Twilight – Another period for kids to do activities although not everything was open. We never did riding in this period so it always gave me an hour off.
8.15 pm – Evening program – This was anything from bingo to cake decorating to counsellor hunt to arts and crafts to “steal the bacon”.
9 pm – Evening Snack – For younger cabins this was taken to the cabin and eaten whilst getting ready for bed – showers, hair brushing etc. Older cabins were allowed at the playground until 9.30 when everyone headed back to cabins.
10 pm – Rounds – Each area of cabins had a designated person to look after them each night between 10 and 12. You had to deal with any kids feeling home sick, ill or just being plain noisy! It was a bit of a hassle some nights and the racoons loved to come and pester you too especially if you had food! During this time all the other counsellors were ‘off’ and camp ran a shuttle to the ‘Pines’ the local pub where you could get food and enjoy an few drinks before having to be back for curfew at 1 or rounds cover at 12.