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The Bad Bits

Now everything has it's down sides and Jened is no exception. Though there are, in my humble opinion, many, many absolutely awesome things about camp, there's some bad parts too. So these are, in my infinite wisdom, some of the things you may find difficult to handle at Jened.

The Hours - The working hours at camp are long. Fourteen hour days can take their toll. It's imperative that staff get enough sleep otherwise, trust me, you'll end up a zombie. Either that or you'll be a grumpy bugger like me.

The Money - It's not great. Jened is categorised as a special needs camp and so international staff are paid at higher rate than kids' camp staff, but Jened is a summer camp and it pays summer camp wages. Typical wages for a first year counselor varies from $1000 to $1800, depending on experience, age etc. It's better than most other camps but it's not going to make you rich.

The Rules - Take a lot of getting used to. Again, Jened is a summer camp and summer camps have all manner of rules and regulations that staff  must follow.

People You Don't Get On With - Jened employs around 150 staff. There's going to be people there that you don't get on with. It happens. There's going to be people you love and can't imagine having not known but there's going to be people who you loathe and wish actual bodily harm. The important thing is remember that you are at camp to work and you basically have to find a way to get around your burning hatred.

The Laundry - Call me fickle if you will but this still gets me. Camp is not rolling in money and although it does have a laundry facilty that you can use for free... 150 staff. 3 machines. Do the math.

Not Getting Your Own Way - Man, this one hurts. Camp has been running for over forty years and has its ways that it sticks to. There are times when you're going to disagree with these ways. By all means go explain your thinking to your Cabin Leader or your CC. But be prepared to have to do things you don't want to do.

The Food - Camp food has a specific purpose in mind. A lot of our campers need a lot of fibre in their diet. Now we all eat together at camp so this fibre-rich food is our food too. Prepare for... how to say?... being regular. Either that or prepare for cheese or peanut butter sandwiches.

People Who Don't Do Their Share - Trust me here. When you work at camp you work hard, and to see people who don't is tough to do. It's unfair. It's hard to know that there are people at camp who don't want to be there and don't care about being there and don't want to work.

There's only really one way to handle these things. It starts with you. You've got to be positive. You have to keep an open mind. You have to go there ready to work hard and take whatever comes you way in your stride. You have to be willing to make friends with people you wouldn't normally. You have to learn to work and live with people you don't get on with. You have to put as much of yourself into camp that you can.

And if you do that... you're going to get so much back. You're going to get friends who'll be with you forever, you're going to get a community, a family that is unique. You're going to get a sense of achievement.

There are bad things. But you can get past them. I don't list these things as a complaint. I list them as part of my love for Jened. I don't love camp inspite of them. They just as much reasons why I love camp as anything else.

Besides, by far the worst part of camp is that it has to end.

Here endeth the smaltz.

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