Calling new recruits for Camp America
A Hamilton student is preparing for her second year at an all-girls orthodox Jewish camp in Pennsylvania.
In June, Rhiannon Jones will head to the camp for a second time and wants to encourage other Kiwis to give Camp America a go.
Camp America is the original camp counsellor programme, and the biggest summer work experience programme in the world.
When Rhiannon first applied in 2014, she was offered the role of high ropes staff at Jewish camp Shoshanim.
Although at first she said it was a bit scary not knowing anything about the culture, Rhiannon took on the adventure.
At the camp, skirts had to fall below the knees and shirts were not allowed to show elbows.
For the high ropes course Rhiannon could wear shorts and t-shirts, but no singlets, she said.
They also all ate kosher, which means no pork and no shellfish. They also don’t mix milk and meat together.
‘‘They have a completely different lifestyle to us,’’ Rhiannon said. ‘‘But at the same time the girls are no different. Some are as cheeky as the kids here.’’
On her first trip to the camp Rhiannon spent a week training in New Jersey, where she gained her high ropes certificate.
After taking a three-hour bus ride to Pennsylvania, the weather changed drastically.
By the time they were called for breakfast, it was already 25 degrees, she said.
Rhiannon said there was around 30 international staff working at the camp, with six fellow high ropes teachers. Campers ranged in age from 8-16.
Despite football being more her thing, Rhiannon took on the high ropes course with gusto.
So much so that she has become the head of ropes this year, earning her an extra $1000.
When the camp ended, Rhiannon toured around America, sightseeing through places such as New York City, Boston, Philadelphia and Washington. It was her first time travelling anywhere past Australia.
‘‘I feel like I’ve dealt with so many different situations now,’’ she said. ‘‘It doesn’t matter if you’re shy or if you don’t play sport. They’ll find you something to do and you’ll love it.’’
For more info visit: campamerica.co.nz
Hamilton student Rhiannon Jones is on her way to her second year at Camp America and encourages other Kiwis to give it a go. PHOTO: KELLEY TANTAU/FAIRFAX NZ