Managing your finances at camp

Everybody knows that carrying large amounts of cash is unwise and risky and that’s no different wherever you go in the world.  But with so many options for finance available to travellers how do you know what is the best solution for you?  We asked camp counsellor Jenny how she handled her finances during her summer working in America:

“I took just enough cash to see me through the first week or so to allow me to find my feet, purchase any forgotten items and enjoy a couple of staff social events that happened during training week. Then I also had a Lyk travel card with me which was easy and convenient to use and could be topped up from my UK bank using the app whenever I needed too.  I was paid my full salary at the end of camp although there was an option to get an advance on my pay ($100 – $200) if I needed it.  I wanted to save mine for when I was traveling after camp and I found that I didn’t need to spend much money through the summer anyway so that worked out well.

Our camp helped us to organise setting up an American bank account which we were able to do once we had registered for a Social Security number (something which is essential for anyone working in the States).  We could then get cash when we went to the bank – I didn’t get any cash as I nearly always pay with card and I hate ending up with loads of change! I was able to use my UK bank card abroad and had discussed this with my bank before I left.

On my days off it was a nice treat to get a decent coffee and meal off camp as well as any activities I wanted to do – we would go out a few nights a week for a few drinks which was nice for getting to know everyone.  If I was to do a camp again, I would make sure I had more money as there were so many things I wanted to do and I would save harder to have more however getting a lump sum at the end of camp was great for me travelling afterwards, and meant I didn’t have to cut short my travel plans.”

You can find out about Lyk cards here: https://lykcard.com/

 

You do get time off right??

Everyone knows being a camp counselor is a full-on job and if it is something you are considering then you have probably prepared yourself for the long, intense hours you will put in (let’s be honest, those who are looking for an easy way to make a buck or two wouldn’t be considering a role at camp!).  But it’s OK to still wonder about days off.

Counselors perform the best when they are well-rested and energised so aside from the legal duty employers have to give you scheduled hours/days off, you can be sure that your Camp Director will want you to take some precious time away from the children.

We asked Alice, a returning counsellor at Long Lake Camp, to give us the low down on how days off worked for them.

“Scheduled weekly days off started at 10pm the night before and ended midnight the following day, which was a great time to relax, unwind and do whatever you wanted! Camp operated a nightly bus to the local town and dropped off staff and then it would pick us back up and take us back to camp in time to ‘sign in’ at midnight. It was always so much fun and a great opportunity to get off of camp for a few hours and unwind and have some drinks with friends and also make new ones too! If going out at 10pm for a drink in town wasn’t your thing then you could go up to ‘the loft’ or to the dining hall to hang out with friends back at camp.

On days off I would always have a bit of a lie-in and head off into town for breakfast with some friends (luckily, we could borrow a friend’s car!) Breakfast at the diner was always a great start to a day off as it was nice to enjoy some good food. I explored nearby towns such as Lake Placid, Lake George and Old Forge which were all so beautiful. Nearer to camp there were some beautiful treks up mountains and the surrounding areas. The beautiful ‘Rich Lake’ was also a great spot to hang out with friends nearby to camp. A cinema in Tupper Lake was an easy to reach place to go to the cinema and the pizza restaurant nearby was delicious!

Camp also operated a small mini bus that could drop you into Long Lake town if you wanted to just relax and chill on the beach or get some food at the local restaurants and shops. If you wanted to just relax at camp on your day off then you could join in with camp activities such as jewellery making or even sports at the waterfront so there was lots that you could do to keep busy and unwind after a busy hard weeks work. Many days off my friends and I used the camp’s tennis courts to play sports which was always lots of fun.

You would also be given an hour off a day for some free time and I usually used this as a precious time for a quick nap to refuel before heading back to work – depending on our work load that day I would gage whether it was a well-deserved hour break!”