The American Institute for Foreign Study (Australia) Pty Ltd opened its Australian office in 1999 and began offering its Camp America and Au Pair in America programs to young Australians. In 2005, AIFS commenced offering inbound programs and currently facilitates cultural exchange programs for more than 2,000 young people.
1. Why did you decide to do Camp America?
After watching Camp Rock, I knew I wanted to have a fantastic summer - like Mitchie, and if I learned anything from Hallie and Annie from The Parent Trap, I wanted to find my long-lost twin sister. From that, I always wanted to visit America. The perfect opportunity arose when I went to a job fair in Year 12 to figure out what I would do after school. Standing there was the Camp America tent, and my eyes grew ten times, and I knew I wanted a piece of the adventure and fun the CA staff were talking to me.
2. What did camp teach you?
Working at a summer camp taught me skills I know I could never have learned anywhere else. I learned how to take the initiative and step up to the plate when it was needed. Whether it was teaching a 14-year-old how to water ski or finding creative ways to help a seven-year-old get over their fear of getting into the lake and jumping off the Wibit (Lake Inflatables), Camp also taught me to be less selfish. As adults, we tend to only focus on ourselves and the little world we live in. At camp, you do not have the option to focus only on yourself, though. Parents drop their kids off at summer camp and depend on you to ensure that their child is happy and safe.
3. Favourite place to travel in the US and why?
My favourite place to travel in America would have to be, hands down, New York City. As Alicia Keys said, it's a "Concrete jungle where dreams are made of. There's nothin' you can't do. Now you're in New York. These streets will make you feel brand new. Big lights will inspire you." New York City is the city that doesn't sleep. Every street, building, and billboard tells a story.
4. Favourite Memory from camp?
To choose a favourite memory from 5 summers' worth of memories is hard! But if I had to pick, there would have to be two. The first would be being a counselor at Camp Romaca and helping to guide the oldest division, Romrec, as they lead the rest of the camp and watching the leaders rise, the quiet girls find a voice, the lonely find a friend, the fearful take a leap, the star sharing the spotlight. The other would be spending the 45 mins of Rec swim treading water while I encourage a 9-year-old to overcome her fear to jump off the Wibit into the lake below, which she overcame!
5. Why would you recommend Camp America?
From seeing the smiles on the kid's faces when they achieve something new, to the morning bugle and evening taps, the memories and friends that never fade, or the way that the sky always seems brighter at night, the camp will always be the guiding light that brings you home. You will fall in love with camp, and it will be magical. Camp is a place that will live in your heart forever, right next to the glitter that will never leave your hair. Camp will bring out your inner child, it will open your eyes to a new world or as people say the 'Camp Bubble'. Camp America will provide you with experiences and skills that you will not be able to experience anywhere else.