Deo anticipates a summer working at Camp Olson

McKoy: Hi, my name is Clara McKoy and I’m here today with junior Anisa Deo and we are going to discuss her experiences at camp and the role that camp plays in her life. So do you want to start by just introducing yourself?

Deo: Hi, I’m Anisa, I’m a junior.

McKoy: What are you pronouns?

Deo: She/her.

McKoy: So can you tell me a little bit about your previous experience with camp? And like, how long you’ve been going where you go and kind of the role that it plays in your life?

Deo: Yeah, I’ve only been going to camp for three years, which is actually shorter than most kids because there are some kids who go to camp like their entire lives, but my sister started going, like five years ago, and then I started going and I really liked it. So it just kind of stuck. I go to Camp Olson, and it’s a YMCA camp. But I’m not a religious person. It’s not really a religious camp, even though it’s like affiliated, I guess.

It’s honestly had a bigger impact on my life the last two years. I think the first year I went, I was nervous and I was like, younger and I wasn’t really sure how I felt about it. And I kind of just tried it for a week and I was like, “Okay, it was fun”. But then I did their leaders in training program and then I did their counselor in training program last summer and both of those were just so fun. And I met so many people that I would never have met if I hadn’t gone to camp and I had a lot of like experiences that I feel like really tested me and like a different way than I’m usually tested, so.

I think the whole like experience at camp is really fun. It’s interesting because when you’re like camper, it’s super different than when you’re like a counselor.

— Anisa Deo

I think the whole like experience at camp is really fun. It’s interesting because when you’re like camper, it’s super different than when you’re like a counselor. So this year my this is my first year being a counselor there and I’m really excited but it’ll definitely be I’m sure super different. Since I’m like working. I’m gonna have a different sense of like responsibility, obviously, because I’m getting paid to be there this year, rather than paying to be there. But in the past years like last year, my CIT summer I think it was just so nice because I had a month with all these people. So I like really got to know them versus like getting to know them and then like having to leave we had like a whole month together and you just spend like all your time together. And the other thing that I really like about camp is that we don’t have our phones. So it’s honestly just like such a nice screen like social media like break from everything. This year I will have my phone but I’m not really going to use it that much. I have to use it for like my boss and stuff. But other than that, I’m not going to be on it. So that’s honestly really nice because you just get to know people so much faster when you don’t have your phone.

This summer, junior Anisa Deo will spend four weeks working as a camp counselor and dish washer at Camp Olson, a YMCA camp located on Little Boy Lake near Brainerd, Minnesota. “I’m gonna just get to spend time with my friends, basically, and I get paid to be there,” she said. (Submitted by Anisa Deo)

McKoy: So, with this year being your first year being a full counselor and being paid to be there like you were saying, What do you anticipate you’ll miss from that aspect of being a camper?

Deo: Oh, yeah, that’s a good question. I feel like I’m gonna miss a lot because when you’re a camper, you’re there just to have fun and last year was my last year that I didn’t have like obviously the added responsibility. So I think I’ll miss that. I think being a CIT at camp is probably like the best place you can be really just because you still you’re still a campus you still get to have fun and you’re not being getting paid. You know, you don’t have that much responsibility, but you’re more I guess like important at camp or more just people want your help with stuff. And so I feel like it’ll definitely be different from last year especially because I’m not going to be with my friends all the time. I’m going to be with like campers and maybe people that I don’t know very well that I have to work with. But I think this year is also going to be just like a new fun experience too.

McKoy: Yeah, definitely. What are you most excited for that’s going to be different?

Deo: Most excited for … oh, I think just having like freedom at camp because it’s so pretty, that when I have like a night off or I’m not like working in a cabin for a week or something. I’m gonna just get to spend time with my friends basically and like I get paid to be there. So I’m just in like a really pretty place outside like, I feel like that. I’m just really excited for that. And I think counselors also just get to I mean, have fun too, since it’s like a fun place to be so yeah.

McKoy: Where exactly is Camp Olson?

Deo: It’s on Little Boy Lake, I think, near Brainerd, I wanna say.

McKoy: So how far out is it from the Twin Cities?

Deo: Like three hours? Not too bad.

McKoy: Do you have a favorite overall camp memory?

Deo: I feel like all of last summer was just really fun. I think it’s like, in the moment, I’m like, “Oh, I’m gonna remember this forever. This is a moment that I’m gonna remember.” But I don’t think I actually remember as much as I want to because I’m living in the moment and not on my phone. So I’m really kind of having to take some mental pictures. But on trail I was with my counselor who I’ve had like, two out of the three years I’ve been at camp and she’s so sweet, she’s kind of like my big sister and it’s so nice. We were sitting in a hammock we were having a really nice conversation and looking at the sun setting and there was this little stream … it was so cute. And if we had had our phones, we probably wouldn’t be as just like, yeah, so it was just so yeah, it was great. Yeah, I feel like that’s a big one.

McKoy: So can you take me through what you anticipate a day in the life will be like as a camp counselor? So, how that works with lodging and food and pay, and all those things.

Deo: So for three out of the four—I think I’m working four weeks. So three out of the four weeks, I’m gonna most likely be with cabins like with campers. And then one of the weeks I’ll be on dishes, so I won’t have a cabin that I have to be with or kids. I just have to do the dishes basically. And then I get the nights off every day that week, which is so nice. But that’s gonna be amazing. I’m really excited for that week.

But I think for cabins, I mean, you’re pretty much wherever the kids are. So in the morning we get up at like 7:30/8 for breakfast and then it depends on the age group, but little kids have a more structured day, older kids have a less structured day with more free time to do what they want. And then they’re also program areas. So the beach, kayaking, horses is a big one for kids, bikes, lots of stuff like that. So I will most likely be working in those program areas too when I’m not with campers.

McKoy: And then is lodging provided for you, food provided?

Deo: Yeah, those are provided. So I’m always gonna be in a cabin. Most likely when I’m not working with kids, like when I’m doing dishes or something, I’ll just be in a cabin with other counselors.

McKoy: And do you know what your pay is going to be like?

Deo: Around $250 a week, which is not the best. But I get to live there and I have free food and I think it’s … it’s okay. I mean, it’s expensive to run a camp so I feel like … I think I get more benefits too, depending on if I’m a lifeguard or there’s that sort of stuff where you get bonuses.

McKoy: Last question—actually, maybe not last—second to last question: do you know what age groups you’ll be supervising?

Deo: Most likely younger kids. So last year, my fourth week at camp we were in cabins with kids to get practice, basically. We weren’t the actual counselors, but we helped the counselors and we’d sleep in the cabins and all of that. And I was with the little kids, which I’d be fine with. I think they try to kind of spread it out though. So I’ll probably be with a pretty big age range from like 6 to 7 [year olds] to like 13 to 14 [year olds]. So yeah, it ranges each week I think.

McKoy: Last question: anything else you want to share about camp? How it has shaped your life, what you’re looking forward to considering camp in the future, all those things.

Deo: If you’re considering camp in the future, it’s very fun. I think it’s honestly just a good experience that’s scary for a second, but then you’re just like, “wow, this is gonna be really fun.” And it’s funny because I’m like, “oh, yeah, I’m a camp kid.” Like, my sister makes fun of me for it sometimes, but it’s actually just such a good experience and you get to meet a lot of cool people and have a lot of wonderful experiences.

McKoy: Thank you so much. Again, that was junior Anisa Deo, I’m Clara McKoy, and thank you for listening.