Preparing for Camp and First Impressions

Garrett, a previous Camp USA participant, tells us all about what it is like to prepare for camp and describes his first impressions of Camp Fairlee in Maryland.

Preparing to leave for USA




I was delighted to be going to the US for a life changing summer. As I was getting ready to leave for camp, the Partnership International team helped me every step of the way. My contact, Rosie, was very helpful and quick to respond to any questions or concerns, by phone and email. She offered me some great advice on booking my flights and advice for my interview. Within three weeks, I had organised all the paper work involved, mainly the J1 visa and medical certificate from my GP. I received an offer to work in Camp Fairlee, a special needs camp in the state of Maryland, on the east coast.


First impression of camp



Arriving to camp was easy as the camp set me up with other counsellors who would be flying out from Shannon to JFK, New York. Together, myself and Claire helped each other along the way. We met so many other summer camp counsellors in the airport who were as excited as we were. We arrived to camp 18 hours later, it was dark and we were jet lagged. Straight away we were made to feel welcome by everyone at camp – it was our first night and everyone seemed to be very helpful and pumped up!



Orientation was fantastic. Camp had organised two weeks of fun for us counsellors before the first campers arrived. We began to learn the camp songs by the fire while making smores. Sallie, our camp director got a DJ and plenty of ice cream! We had tours of the camp and received our camp uniform. Staff training was long but it helped us with any concerns we had regarding working with people with special needs. It was my first time in the US, working with special needs people, living in a cabin with strangers who became my dearest friends. In my first few days, we sang “if you want to be a penguin, a penguin you will be” – and this is so true as we were encouraged to have fun and enjoy ourselves.

Contact us today if you are interested in learning more about Camp USA!


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