Is Pre- and Post-Camp worth it?

Great! You've got your place at camp and now it's time to choose the dates you are free to travel for your summer. Most of the time the camps will give you a specific date that you need to arrive on as that’s when they organise the pick-ups from the airport and get everyone ready for training week. However, if you have some time before training commences, you might want to consider flying over early and working through pre-camp. If you manage the time off, this will give you a chance to earn a bit more money on top of your contract and get your feet firmly planted before the bulk of the councillors arrive. It all depends on your schedule and other commitments you have going on and that can be a bit of a nightmare with exams looming in the early summer months!

Here’s what I did! My third year exams finished at the beginning of May so I had plenty of time to kill. I travelled for the first two weeks of Pre-Camp on 21st of May. I also did a week of postcamp and with a heavy heart had to say goodbye to all the wonderful people I met throughout my nine weeks as they set off on their own adventures.
With that in a nutshell, here is everything you need to know about pre- and post-camp.

Pre-Camp madness

In pre-camp you’re working to secure the camp to make sure it is safe and colourful for when the kids arrive. Our team was relatively small and made up of about 40 to 50 people, majority of which were support staff such as kitchen workers, maintenance men and most of the housekeeping team. The councillors that arrived earlier were split into boys and girls and stayed in neighbouring bunks and lived together for the two weeks. This was the equivalent of being thrown into the deep-end and being forced to mingle with complete strangers from all around the world.

At first it was a little bit daunting having to spread your social butterfly wings and interact with people (especially when the huge campus seemed like a ghost town) but by day three we were already well connected and would even spend our time off in the evenings watching movies and playing basketball in the sports gym. The tasks themselves may seem monotonous but with the right people it was a lot of fun. We had to repaint the picnic tables as well as the utility barn and clean all the dust from the inside of the main building.

Myself and two other helpers collectively formed the ‘Weed Whacker Crew’ and would spend mornings after breakfast following the lawnmower-men and make sure that the grass trimmings were all even. There were acres to conquer… There were tasks for lifeguards which included cleaning out the pool and making sure that the pump was fully functional and the horse riding people would clean up the barns ready for the horse to arrive from a local farm. Safe to say something always needed doing.

On one occasion we would break out of the routine to set up the flying trapeze. Hoisting up 24 foot metal poles and anchoring them down needed a lot of problem solving and coordination.

The daily routine was relatively simple. Spend a few hours each day in the sun and then gather round for dinner. From then on we had free time which was the best time to get to know everyone personally. We would interact with everyone, including people that you wouldn’t have a chance to meet during usual camp time, Like the maintenance and kitchen staff. With the right people, it doesn’t feel like work; and best of all you get to earn a bit more money to put into your travel pot.

When the rest of the councillors arrived, we already acted like a family and many people mistook us for returning staff just because we knew where everything was. So many funny moments and inside jokes came from those two weeks that even after camp reminiscing about them made me cry with laughter.


On the other hand, post camp was very different. The days are counting down the summer and there is a lot of talk of travel and ventures to be had outside a camp. Knowing that I was doing post camp made it hard to see the camp in the same light, and saying goodbye to a herd of amazing individuals made it all the more emotional.

The camp became lonely and desolate. The corridors of the main building, which you usually have to squeeze through to get to your activity, seemed much wider than before. The buzz of the camp was gone and you’d be left in little pods of post-camp workers in which you would do similar tasks to the ones at the beginning of the summer but in reverse. Post-camp consisted of preparing and arming the camp to survive the winter essentially. Whether it was taking down the circus equipment or heaving the picnic benches into one pile, there was just as much to do as there was in pre camp.

In the evenings we also gathered around and spent our evenings in the theatre room watching movies but this time it had a different feel to it. Everyones was feeling the same but none of this wanted to show a hint of belief that the summer was over. “What are you doing after Camp?” was commonly responded to with a shrug or an “I don’t know”. Post camp offered a perfect safe and comfortable space for everyone to plan their next stepping stones for the summer and gain a few extra dollars to put into their travel funds.

Take this story as you may. There are positives and negatives for both! It’s definitely worth experiencing both sides of the coin because that is when you truly appreciate the change in yourself and your perspective of the camp. At the beginning it’s a pleasant private valley and at the end it feels more like a ghost town with life drained from it.
What will you do?




Click below to chat with us on WhatsApp

× How can we help you?