Some may wonder, what did I actually get up to in the USA this summer? Before the fun of travelling for four weeks, with my new group of friends, I was based at Camp Menominee in the beautiful Northwood’s of Wisconsin, USA for nine weeks. I was placed through Camp America who have direct links with my university which made it a very easy process. My role was the sole editor of the Megaphone, a traditional camp newsletter that had been documenting camp sports and activities for decades. The megaphone would be finished by 5pm, five days a week and uploaded to the camp website for the parents and alumni to read. It also was printed and handed out on evenings so the children could read it. The role included distributing potential article topics to my co-counsellors, writing & editing my own articles, sub-editing articles, developing new and existing content from previous issues, photographing the children, uploading the document onto WordPress and teaching writing techniques to children.
Alongside my newsletter/media editor role I held the responsibility of being a cabin counsellor at the summer camp. The role consisted of being in constant care of children, being a positive role model, leading by example by demonstrating social and technical skills, leading a trip across the state and teaching/coaching sports skills. The different roles worked hand in hand. I kept track of what was happening at camp and often conversed with multiple cabins about what was happening. This enabled me to highlight potential articles and develop existing ones.
During my experience as the newsletter editor I learnt a vast array of things. Firstly, organisation was key in my role as I had to make sure I was covering the relevant topics and activities at camp. I would often refer to previous issues from the past years to help identify ideas and develop new content. One problem I came across is that I couldn’t be in eight places at once, recording information from eight different sports or activities. This meant I had to work closely with my fellow members of staff which involved them writing down some draft notes that I would then develop into an article. The newsletter was produced on Microsoft publisher and put on the camp website as a PDF file. I was restricted, in a design sense, on an old version of publisher but I made sure the structure, layout and pictures were consistent and appealing. Previous issues of the document included around two to four articles per edition. My aim was to produce between four and eight articles to cover as much as possible. For this to happen my organisation had to be tight but I had to remain flexible to what drafts I would receive. I learnt a variety of new sports and got the chance to take part in some also. I believe this has helped to expand my subject knowledge and open up new opportunities for my future writing. Another thing I realised was that American English is actually very different to our own, I had to adapt my grammar and use new sentence structures. The target audience for the document was potentially any age as it was shared amongst friends and family of the campers. The campers themselves ranged from eight years old to sixteen. This meant I had to keep the content interesting and fun while maintaining its informative approach to the parents.
Here is a link to the 35 Megaphone issues I produced this summer under the 2015 category: