I worked on a summer camp in the Brecon Beacons
for 5 months this year, so I thought I would put down my experiences. After college and A Levels I took a gap year for several reasons:
- I wanted to earn some money!
- I wanted a break from studying
- I needed more time to decide what course I wanted to do
- I wanted to travel
The travelling never happened, for various reasons. No one else wanted to travel with me (boo hoo!) and I moved in with my boyfriend, meaning not only did I not want to leave him behind, but I had no money for travelling anyway! For most of my year off, I worked in rubbish jobs and was fairly miserable about it all. I applied for a job on a summer camp as it offered accomodation and food as well as a weekly wage. Ok, it was away from home, but only 2 hours drive and I thought it would be a good experience. So one Sunday this April, I packed up and drove off to what was to me new home, a soggy tent....
Lots of young people go to work on summer camps, either here or abroad. I'm warning you-it's not as good as it sounds. I think the companies take advantage of young people who want to experience something new, or "escape from the rat race
". Low pay, long hours and hard work. It comes with the job. It's not all bad though. *** My Job *** I was
employed as a kitchen assistant
. Not very exciting, but I didn't have experience with children to be a group leader. The pay was £60 a week, including food and accomodation (which I will discuss later!) It was supposed to be 42 hours a week, including 1 night duty and 1 ents (I'll explain later) but very often exceeded 60 hours, which is a joke. The job consisted of setting up the tables, helping prepare the meals, serving the meals and cleaning up. It was immensely soul destroying and at times I felt that the other staff looked down on the kitchen workers, which really annoyed me. The training wasn't very good, although we had to do a food hygeine test. We had to wear a gross uniform which was far too hot in the summer. I would not recommend this job to anyone, but I suppose if you only want a short term thing it wouldn't be too bad. It also depends on who is
working with you. I found that many people started working in the kitchen and subsequently left becase of the poor conditions. I often had to do disgusting jobs such as cleaning the deep fat fryers
. That involves sticking your arm into dirty oil that goes up to your shoulder. Uuuuuurrr, it makes me feel sick remembering it. The kitchen was seriously understaffed and no-one seemed to care. One time I was sick in the middle of a shift and I told the chef and he just sent me back into the kitchen. If someone has been sick they are not supposed to enter a kitchen for at least 24 hours.
*** Living Conditions ***
As mentioned before, my pay included food and accommodation. The accommodation was a small tent with a metal framed bed and a thin foam mattress. Hardly sufficient in April. I don't need to tell you that it was freezing. The staff tents were all together, in an unlit area of the camp, about half a mile from the toilet block.