Back in 2006 a shy young man arrived at Newark International airport little realising what a life changing experience he was about to go through.
The young man was me, and it was very much a year for firsts, My first flight, first passport, first time in America and first time working with Special Needs children at camp. I can't begin to describe how much this experience helped me at work, Uni and in life in general. I went from being shy and reticent to outgoing and friendly all in the space of the two and a half months in the USA.
From my first day at camp I felt welcomed and almost 'at home' within the first week I'd be promoted to be the Computer Specialist. This was one of the best learning experiences of my life and I was able to prove to myself I not only could teach about computers but help the campers learn about parts of the world they may not get to visit.
Due to my patriotic nature I had English, UK and Yorkshire flags in my computer room and the campers always loved to ask questions about England and what it was like. I believe that not only did I get the chance to experience a unique culture (and grow personally because of it) but I was able to help the campers understand how other cultures interact (especially as mine was a Jewish camp and I am a Christian).
The idea that other potential counsellors won't be able to experience this fills me with sadness and I hope things can be sorted to the benefit of the campers (which is after all why we do this!).
Making a difference to the campers... That's what being a counsellor's all about .... Making a difference and everyone should have the opportunity to do that!