Hello there and welcome to this blog, Veteran Volunteers – Part 1. I hope you are having a nice day, and if you are not, chances are it will get a bit nicer once you have had a read of this.
Over the last month or so I have been asking some of our gap veteran volunteers to share their Camps International experiences with us. I don’t know about you, but I love hearing all about other people’s trips, what they liked best about it, how it affected them, and the impact it is having on their lives today. I also believe that it helps those considering volunteering in the future to make a more educated decision. It’s kinda like our own version of “Which?” magazine!
Over the next week I will be posting one blog per day with the story of one of our own veteran volunteers in the hope that it will brighten your day, highlight what Camps International’s volunteers are achieving and inspire you to get involved too.
A Camps International Case Study
Year of travel: September 2011
1) Where did you travel to with Camps International?
I travelled to Kenya, where I stayed in Camp Muhaka, Mwalange and Tsavo
2) How long did you travel for?
Unfortunately and regrettably I only travelled for 1 month.
3) Did you take a full Gap year?
I have actually ended up taking 2 gap years and in September I will be starting at the University of Derby studying Geography with Third World Development. Over the last 2 years I have spent 1 month in Kenya, 12 months in Australia, 6 weeks in Thailand and a couple of weekends in Dubai and Singapore. It has been the most amazing couple of years, and my only regret is coming home!
4) How did you make the decision to take a Gap year?
I have never wanted to go to University straight from college because I always wanted to experience and travel as much of the world before entering full time employment. Travelling has made me much more mature, therefore when I start University in September I believe I will be able to manage my time and prioritise my work load without becoming as stressed as I was at college.
5) Why did you choose to travel with Camps International?
This trip would be the first, long-distance and longest time I had ever been away from home for. When I searched for volunteer companies on Google, Camps seemed to be extremely well set up, there was also a great amount of information and resources regarding the Kenya Camp. I also found the Facebook page extremely helpful, as I was able to speak with previous volunteers to get advice and information about Camps. Although the cost of the trip was slightly higher than many other organisations, I found that it was worth every penny. For safety, guidance, food and accommodation, I really was extremely well looked after.
6) Which was your favourite Camp and why?
Camp Muhaka would have to be my favourite, because it was so close to Diani Beach, which is still one of the most beautiful beaches I have lain on. Eustace our Camp Leader was an amazing leader, who my group loved dearly; he really did look after us as if we were all his children. Our project leader Yah Yah was also extremely helpful and always sang with us when were were building the further education centre in Muhaka to keep our team morale up.
7) Has your experience with Camps helped in any University/Job interviews? If yes, how?
Yes it has definitely helped with job interviews and getting into University. Now it’s all about what extra curricula activities you have done and what experiences you have gained when applying for uni. With the grades I achieved in my A levels, having Camp Kenya on my personal statement made such an impact that I was accepted at the University of my first choice. Volunteering in Kenya really helped me to work as part of a team, and has made me much more confident, in both interviews and actually at work.
8) Do you feel that your time volunteering changed you in any way? How?
Of course! I have grown up so much! I am so much more independent. After finishing Camp Kenya I decided to book flights to Australia, to travel and work alone, for a year! Before Kenya I would never have thought I was old enough or wise enough to look after myself for that amount of time. It has also made me realise the important things in life, and has given me some of the best memories and friends I will undoubtedly stay in touch with for the rest of my life.
Life changing Unforgettable Unimaginable Powerful
10) Would you recommend Camps International to others?
Absolutely- because I believe in Camps.
11) What do you spend your days doing now?
Unfortunately I am currently working in an extremely boring yet fast paced accident management company for the last few months of my double gap year. However, the memories remain in my mind, and get me through each day, as one day I hope to be able to finish University and work for a non-governmental aid organisation such as Camps International! (nudge nudge, wink wink)
I would like to extend a BIG ELEPHANT SIZED HIGH FIVE to Hannah for what she has achieved! All the team here at Camps wishes you the best of luck for the start of your degree in September and we hope that the experiences you had in Kenya stand you in good stead for all your future endeavours. Keep in touch!