A summer outside of the box


If you go around a group of people and you ask them the question: “What is the biggest disadvantage of COVID?” Most people will answer with a social disadvantage. It will either be not being able to meet new people, not being able to party or not being able to see your friends that much.

I can agree that the last two options are true, but I must disagree with the first option of not being able to meet new people.

Then you might say: “Meeting new people in these COVID circumstances is only for extrovert people!”. Though that is not true at all. I’m an introvert and these past two years I made a lot of new friends. Of course, meeting new people means getting out there and maybe even getting out of your comfort zone but believe me, it will be rewarded.

I got to meet a lot of new people this past summer. Because of COVID and all the measures, my family and I decided to not plan a summer vacation. It was unsure whether it could actually take place and under which circumstances. Though we said that we would keep one week free for a possible last-minute vacation. So that meant from the seven holiday weeks I had, six were still empty.

What was I going to do in those six weeks!? Watching Netflix for six week was not an option since because of the previous lockdowns I had watched almost everything. Working was also not an option because I recently quit my job and mostly all restaurants were closed. And the last obvious option is meeting with friends. Though, most of my friends were busying working or did plan a holiday. So, there were only just a few moments they were available.

So, all of the obvious options were not really options. I had to think out of the box. Something that no one really thinks about. But it had to keep me busy for the summer.

That is when I thought of being a camp leader. Each summer a lot of summer camps are organised in the Netherlands. There is a lot to choose from. There are sport camps, survival camps, horse camps, game camps or religious camps. On google I searched: ‘zomerkampen begeleiden’. That is when I found club adventure, a business that has two locations in the Netherlands where on average 7 sort of camps are organised each week of the summer. Club adventure invites everyone that applies on a trainee-day. So, at the end of May I went to the trainee-day, this day alone I already met a lot of people. It was only the beginning of how many people I would meet that summer.

I signed up for 4 weeks of summer camps. You were able to give a preference which type of camp you would like to attend. I told the organisation that I would prefer to do the survival camps and not the outdoorkids camp, because the outdoorkids were a little to young for me. The outdoorkids are between 5 and 8 years old, which means that are still very little and need a caretaker more than a camp leader. Club adventure allows you to choose what suits you best and you can also tell them what you specifically do not want. So, this means you will not have to do anything against your will.

When the summer finally arrived, I was super nervous as the introvert I am. But I’m so super glad I got out of my comfort zone, and I would absolutely do it again. The program of the survival camp was super great. We got to sleep in the open air one night every week. We climbed trees in a tree parkour, shot with a bow and arrow, made grilled cheese and marshmallows on fire, build a lot of campfires and mountain bike through the forest. Though this is just a small part of the program.

Though, this blog was going to be about meeting new people and not about the program of the camp. Club adventure has a policy of 4 eyes on a group of kids. Which means you have at least one partner for the whole week. Depending on the size of the group, you get more partners for that week. With this partner you must spend the whole week, you must take care of the kids but also give them a great week. At the end of each day, you evaluate what went well or what should be improved. So, there is also a lot of personal development. After a whole week, you get to know someone really well in a short period of time, since you spend 24 hours per day with that person. This is the foundation for a lot of great friendships, as I have experienced.

Besides meeting people your age that is your partner for that week. You also get to meet a lot of kids. Some are more distant, but most are really affectionate with you. They want to cuddle a lot or use you as a human climbing rack. Especially when the week is over, the goodbye is so rewarding. Some of the kids even ask you if you will be there again next year, because they want to spend another week with you.

So, where I was preparing for a long and boring summer, it was one of the best summers of my life. And without a doubt, I would do it again. Currently I still see a lot of the people that were my partner this summer and people that were the camp leader of other camps. And honestly, those are one of the best friendships I have now.

This blog is not an advertisement to be a camp leader next summer, though I think you would love it. With this blog I wanted to tell you that getting out of your comfort zone is very rewarding and you will make great new friendships. And maybe leading a summer camp is not your thing, think outside of the box of how you want to spend your next summer. Maybe the entertainment team on a camping suits you better, or being a bartender/propper in Lloret de mar or Albufeira is more your thing. Either way, try to spend your summer a little different than everyone else!!



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