Last summer I was lucky enough to live and work in a summer camp with a different religious and cultural background of my own. I worked in Camp Shoshanim, PA for three months and Shoshanim is an Orthodox Jewish summer camp for girls. The experience of living and working and seeing a new culture for me was one which could not be achieved in any other way than camp. I experienced religious festivals, rites of passage and learnt about a new way of life while ensuring that the campers also had the summer of their life!
As well as the setting being a cultural experience, the beauty of Camp America and other organisations providing staff from all over the world is that you learn about other cultures too other than those that you're experiencing from the camp itself. I lived and worked with people from Mexico, Poland, Australia, New Zealand, Barbados, Jamaica, USA, Czech Republic, France, Ireland, Israel, Columbia and the Dominican Republic. I don't think I've ever been in a more diverse setting before for such a long period of time. It has given me tools to use in my life now I am back from camp in working in diverse areas, overcoming language barriers and appreciating differences and using the strengths within a group.
There was also an opportunity to travel at the end of camp, but also on days off from camp, and it was interesting to see different cultures within one country that is America. For example, culture in Scranton, PA is very different from the culture in New York City or Boston. I believe that it would be such a shame to make it more difficult for young people to take part in opportunities like this as I believe that it makes stronger and more culturally aware people. I went to camp the day after I finished my A Levels at age 18 and I think the experience has made me more independent and confident. It is something every young person from anywhere in the world should have the chance to experience. In addition, it was also culturally enriching for the children attending camp and the American counselors because they had the chance to learn about different countries and cultures from their own through the International staff. It can not be matched in its cultural opportunities.