Nicole Forbes juggles her nursing degree at Glasgow Caledonian University with her role as a brand representative and interviewer for Camp Leaders. We caught up with her to find out how she bagged a job that’s flexible, fulfilling and fun.
What is a day in the life of a brand representative like?
I do a lot of promotion around the universities, chatting with the careers services and doing presentations to students, I go on social media and share a lot of our materials: just try and engage with as many students as possible. I’ll also go along to careers fairs and freshers’ fairs, things like that. When I’m not doing that, I’m calling up applicants and arranging and conducting their interviews, and, from there, deciding whether they are a good fit for camp or not. So it’s all really exciting!
Sounds like a lot! How do you juggle it all?
It’s a pretty flexible job because you can decide when the interviews are going to be. I do a lot of interviews at the university. And because I’ve been to camp for three summers already I really really enjoy it, it’s something I’m super passionate about, I’m getting paid for my hobby really. It’s amazing to get paid to do something you love so much.
So how did you go about getting into the job?
In 2011 I applied to go to summer camp for the first time, and I went to the Camp Leaders agency, really enjoyed my experience with them and I loved the summer camp! I went to the one in Seattle and I was the challenge specialist, and kept going back. At they end of each summer they’d offer the position of interviewer and brand reps and after my third year I knew I wasn’t going to go back the next year. I knew I’d really miss it, so I applied for that job and I got it! Then I had to go down to Liverpool for training, and now I’ve been a brand rep for two years and I love it.
What’s the most fun part of the job?
Meeting people and sharing the camp experience with them. I have a tendency to talk about camp all the time and with the people I interview I know they’ve got that passion, they really want to go, and it’s just really cool to meet people who are going to go over there and have that experience. Just being a part of that process is amazing, because I know how good it’s going to be.
What are the main reasons students should try a summer camp?
A lot of students will never get this opportunity again. This is a really good opportunity for you to fit in three months away in America, doing a really awesome job, travelling, and it fits in with university. You can just come back and go straight into your studies. It’s perfect timing.
You learn a lot of skills well. I’ve been for job interviews since returning from camp, and people were really impressed at things like communication, leadership skills, teamwork skills that I worked on at camp and adapted and applied to my new job. It’s just been perfect.
What about people who are nervous about the idea of camp, what would you say to them?
I was nervous when I first went to camp, but there’s a tonne of support from Camp Leaders, everyone’s calling you and checking in to see if you need anything; and when I headed to camp I was there with like 10 international people, and there were even two people from Strathclyde uni, so it was like a home away from home. I think everyone is nervous about this kind of experience, but when you get there you’re just so busy you don’t even notice. Before you know it you’ll be coming home and you’ll be camp sick!
So how can students apply?
You start your application online with Camp Leaders, it’s really simple, just your name, address, basic skills and things. Afterwards the Camp Leaders office will get in touch to check basic requirements, like you’re available all summer and over 18. If that’s successful, you get passed on to me, we’ll sort the £49 deposit to cover costs, then it’s a one hour interview and Camp Leaders helping you through processes like applying for your police check, applying for your visa, medical insurance and things like that. Then they’ll give you all the tips you need to make your application look awesome. From there, your application’s open to more than 500 camps in the States!
Until then, we do have a job fair on the 19th January in Edinburgh. There’ll be about 20 camp directors coming over from America and it’s a really good chance for people who’ve applied already to meet camp directors. 51% of people who went along last year were hired on the spot! But anyone can come along on the day and sign up*. We’ll do a really quick interview, and if we think you’re suitable you can go straight to the camp leaders. Last year some people literally walked up, passed the eligibility test, went upstairs and got hired for camp straight away: so it’s a really good opportunity!
Finally, tell us about your most amazing experience at camp?
Ooh, that’s a fun one… when I was in Seattle, our camp was on an island, and at the start of the week we’d leave to pick our campers up, so we’d leave the island to pick the campers up at 4am and they’d hired a big huge boat to take them to camp, and we’d have a massive boat party, it was great. With the kids arriving, the sun rising over Seattle, you could see the skyline silhouetted as you had this boat party with limbos and music and all the kids absolutely loving it, I’ll always remember that image. But being over there for the 4th of July is also an amazing experience!
*For more information about Camp Leaders and the upcoming job fair, click here. The event is free, but requires advance signup.