Back from the UK!


This past week I traveled across the pond to hire International counselors. Jeb, the Program Director at Camp Stewart, and myself began our journey at 6am. We drove to San Antonio where we flew from San Antonio to Houston, Houston to New Jersey, then New Jersey to Edinburgh, Scotland. When we landed it was 6:45am in Scotland! Despite what little sleep we got on the plane, we decided to eat breakfast and wander around the city. After a short nap (from which I had to be woken up from), I hiked Arthur’s Seat with Camp America staff and Camp Directors from the Eastern shore of the U.S. It was absolutely beautiful. Essentially, it is a mountain in the middle of a city. At the top you can see the great architecture of the city, the North Sea, and the Highlands. I was very grateful they woke me up.

We ended the day with a Camp Directors Reception. I happened to sit down at a table with three empty chairs with jackets hung on the back. Little did I know that those seats would be filled with really awesome people from Virginia. We talked late into the night about all things camp.

Then I overslept.

Something about being awake for almost two days, hiking a mountain, and staying up late allowed me to completely sleep through three alarms. Weird, I know. I had breakfast plans at 9:45am, the bus left for the fair at 10:30am, and I rolled over at 11am. I thought it was a bad dream or my phone’s time was off, but the frantic search for my watch confirmed that I was running late. I tossed on my clothes and and RAN the half mile to the Edinburgh fair. I beat Amy Park and Laura Gallagher there, who pre-screened people for me, and was there in plenty of time before the doors opened. Since this was the second time I had overslept, it quickly became a joke among my new camp friends. “Where’s Hannah?” proved to be super helpful for the rest of the trip as I always had people messaging/calling me to make sure I was awake.

The Edinburgh fair couldn’t have been more of a success. I hired six wonderful super qualified applicants I can’t wait to share with you. After the fair Laura, Jeb, a gagillion returning Stewart counselors, and I went out to eat. It was such fun catching up and hanging out with everyone.

The next day we took a train to Manchester. Directly after the fair we toured the Manchester United Stadium, Old Trafford. We ventured inside their locker room, the newsroom, and walked out to the pitch. Very cool.

The Manchester Fair was the following morning and Deborah Hawkins joined me to pre-screen. It was another successful day as I filled positions for horseback, riflery, and a videography. We immediately took a train to London after the fair. It was a very long day, but it meant we had a full day in London to explore!

Poor Jeb was really sick this day, which was a bummer. Luckily, I explored the city with my Virginia friends. We toured the Natural Science and History museum and the Vitoria and Albert museum, walked through Harrods, and saw the Buckingham Palace. We enjoyed lunch in a local pub and ate cupcakes from Hummingbird Bakery. That evening we had a private invitation to tour Parliament. It was a lovely evening among lots of new friends. With each fair the number of camps grew. I attempted to meet everyone and although I was not close I am very thankful for the new camp professionals I now call friends.

The London fair was HUGE. Over 2,500 applicants walked through the door, each hoping for a placement in the US. I hired another four counselors and Natalie Whitchurch was there to help. We had another meal with former counselors, followed by a fun evening enjoying everyone’s company for the last time before traveling home.

This blog is plenty long enough, but I can’t wait to tell you about our new hires! They are each absolutely wonderful in their own way. I have the utmost faith they will be influential role models to your daughter. At one point I had to tell Laura and Amy I needed a break from smiling so much while interviewing.

More adventures to come as we travel to the American Camp Association’s National Conference in New Orleans tomorrow!

Love always,


About the Author

Hannah Kearney

Program Director at Heart O' the Hills. God fearin', dog lovin', coffee drinkin', kinda gal who loves a good adventure.

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