13 Jan SOUND THE TRUMPET, BRITS FLOCK TO CAMP AMERICA
Even though it has been a complex year for both America and England alike; thousands of young Brits are set to flock Camp America recruitment fairs on the 17th, 19th and 21st of January 2017, to take part in the work abroad program. Donald Trump’s inauguration date is set within days of the fairs and proves an interesting situation for culture exchange participants and organisations.
With 2016 being a year that saw America divided, Camp America programs bring the world together and in this current climate, this is more important than ever. “We strongly believe that cultural exchange programs such as ours, are extremely beneficial in helping create knowledgeable global citizens with positive cross-cultural relationships, helping them value diversity.” Explains Janet Henniker Talle, President at Camp America. “We have been running the program since 1969 and despite a controversial election campaign in America, we are happy that it hasn’t deterred the thousands of young people who are still excited to experience working and traveling in America this summer.”
In an ever increasingly globalised world, cross-cultural skills are a highly important factor for many. Cultural exchange programs such as the one that Camp America run, exposes participants to different cultural, religious, geographic and socio-economic backgrounds. The work abroad program sends young people, at a formative period of their life, to live and work in an unfamiliar and new country. This helps them to become well-rounded individuals with a greater understanding of diversity, learning to understand others and the values they hold dear.
There are many benefits in working or studying abroad, proven in a variety of studies. From making participants; smarter, more flexible, more creative to more attractive! In a recent article by Katharine W. Phillips looking at various research, she states that: ‘Being around people different from us makes us more creative, more diligent and harder-working.’ She goes on to explain; ‘This is not only because people with different backgrounds bring new information. Simply interacting with individuals who are different forces group members to prepare better, to anticipate alternative viewpoints and to expect that reaching consensus will take effort.’
Camp America has been sending young people to America since 1969 and the program has positively affected many of its participants, who now feel a strong link to the USA and the people they met there. Lauren Rees, who has taken part in the program says; “Camp America completely changed my life. I met so many interesting and inspiring people over that 9 weeks at camp, who expanded my beliefs and values in a positive way. Working abroad changed my outlook and broadened my horizons and being a counsellor in a completely different country made me more creative, independent and adaptable. I had quite a few assumptions of America and the people there before I left, which changed drastically once I was there and had been immersed in the country’s culture.”
Camp America believes cultural exchange programs are incredibly important in creating well-informed young adults who understand a broader range of perspectives and have a fuller appreciation of foreign cultures and values. Just days before we see Donald Trump inaugurated into Presidency, young people from all over the UK will be securing their spot to work in America. Thousands of young people will meet with hundreds of American Camp Directors, over the three recruitment fairs in Edinburgh, Manchester and Scotland.