General Manager of JCA
When I wanted to go and work for an American Camp during gap year, my mum said, ‘Ooh you may not like that, why not try it in England first’ and 22 years’ later of working and living at adventure camps, I am still in England and, yes, I definitely like it.
I was captured in my first year working at an adventure centre, I really believed in what the experience gave the children and staff alike; independence, confidence, (in a non egotistical way) a sense of achievement and memories that would last a lifetime. I really wanted to have a job which would enable me to help kids who may not have had some positive elements to their childhood and I realised that working at adventure centres, without even knowing it, I played a part in giving a child an amazing experience for the time they were with us, whatever their background. It was then I decided that I wanted to work my way up in the industry.
I started as a junior staff member looking after the children’s welfare outside of the activity times and back in the days this meant getting up at 5.30am and sometimes finishing at 9pm, all to ensure we wore the children out so they slept at night! From here I progressed into writing theme holidays then being a senior staff member to eventually being operationally responsible for a centre with 1000 guests and 330 staff. For the last 3 years I have worked with JCA and, in the snow during 2010, was responsible for setting up our Condover Hall centre, getting it ready to operate in April 2011. With a tight deadline we did manage it (Even though we may have being laying the last paving slab as our first guests arrived!) At the start of 2014 I then took the position of General Manager for JCA.
I very much believe in living life to the full and making the best of everything I do. I enjoy travelling and more recently cooking; However I think this is because after over 20 years of working and living on adventure centres I actually quite like not having someone cook for me and knowing that Tuesday’s dinner does not always have to be lasagne and chips! Aside from this I enjoy the media and in my spare time I’ve helped out on various TV shows, including The Apprentice, X Factor and a few years back was the person who got to stand next to Ant and Dec and press the play button to start the music for the acts on the Britain’s Got Talent auditions. (Pressing play to start a JCA disco is far less nerve-racking though!)
Favourite JCA Activity & Why
I think we have lots of great activities at JCA but for me the best is Archery; the reason being is that when the children start an archery session they mostly miss the target (Not that the sheep in the field behind are too impressed with that!) but by the end a good majority are hitting the target and even getting gold, and the sense of accomplishment is incredible to see.