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18 Things Only People Who Worked At Summer Camp Will Understand

18 Things Only People Who Worked At Summer Camp Will Understand

So that’s another summer in the books. Those of you who spent it working at a summer camp hopefully had an amazing time – as well as the kids!

I’ve worked at camps for years in all capacities and even now as an adult working at one I’ve learned a few things over the years that are unique to summer camp staff:

1. At Summer Camp You Learn To Function Off Very Little Sleep

…And this is after spending an entire day running around like a crazy person in the punishing heat. You may try for a good night’s sleep but if you have a sick camper up at 4am guess what? You’re on it! By the end of the summer it’s hard to distinguish between a summer camp staff and the Walking Dead

2. There Is No Point In Showering

Sounds gross but those who’ve worked at a camp know it’s true! Showering and then going back out into hot, sweaty and dusty weather is not only counterproductive; it somehow makes you dirtier than before!

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3. Bug Juice Is Better Than It Sounds

No it does not contain actual bugs but tends to be based around watermelon or ice tea flavor. In the case of ice tea I’m pretty sure there are only 3 ingredients: sugar, water and brown.

4. The Wet Hot American Summer Prequel On Netflix Is Like Christmas

It’s still one of the worst movies ever but holds a special place in the hearts of camp staff everywhere. And it did launch a whole lot of very famous people! The prequel episodes are pretty epic, I love Michael Cera as the lawyer…

5. Capture The White Flag Is The Most Intense Sport Known To Man

I’ve seen full on fist fights erupt during this. If you’re not familiar with capture the white flag picture a combination of the Hunger Games and Lord of the Flies where anarchy reigns supreme based around an old pillowcase or towel.

6. Most Of Your Meals Are Spent Eating While Standing Up

The dining hall is where it all goes down and camp spirit is out in full force. This means standing on benches and screaming at the top of your lungs. You try to get quick bites of food in between chants. Here’s my tip: actually eat a banana during that part of the “Go Bananas” cheer.

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7. You Know How To Make Friendship Bracelets

I don’t care who you are or how old you are, at some point you have had to combine different color pieces of thread together while at camp.

8. You Have Feet Like A Hobbit

At camp you are always late for something and a lot of the time you don’t even have time to grab shoes. Many a day is spent running over gravel, rocks or general rough terrain with the understanding you’ll put your shoes on when you get there

9. You Forget How To Tie Shoes

This relates to #8 as your main footwear for the summer is completely flip flop, if not barefoot based. When September rolls around you start looking at foreign seeming shoe laces like solving a rubix cube.

10. Foreign Accents Start To All Blend Together

Staff come from all over: Australia, Canada, England, Ireland, Russia, Poland, Germany… What starts out as very distinguishable accents start to blend into one mess of a single language. I call it “campese”.

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11. People Are Closer Than Family But You Don’t Know Their Last Name

Some camps counselors get nicknames or “bird names”. Mine Was Rocky. Or your last name is given based on what you do there. I’ve also been Jamie softball and Jamie fitness. You spend so long using these type of names that by the end of the summer you know everything there is to know about your new friends, except their last name…

12. Your Celebrate A Night Out More Than Countries Gaining Their Independence

“We’re going to Applebees?!?!?!!” Let Freedom Ring!

13. Water Fixes Everything

Camper sickness, injury, sadness, fatigue, you name it, usually can be fixed by a large glass of cold water.

14. If Not Water Then Tylenol Will Cure What Ails You

The classic go-to of camp infirmaries everywhere. Headache? Here’s some tylenol. Sprained ankle? Try some tylenol. Typhoid? Got some tylenol right here for you..

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15. You Can Pack As Much As You Want But You’ll Wear The Same Thing Everyday

I brought two suitcases containing every clothing option I could possibly ever need but I still ended up wearing the same shorts and t-shirt each day until laundry day came. I may mix up my look with a very fashionable hoodie from Old Navy though…

16. Color War Takes Everything To A Whole New Level

If you’re unaware of what color war is, it is basically the Olympics within camp, when the whole place is divided in half for 5 days of epic intensity. Color war somehow manages to bring out the best in kids and I’ve seen campers who previously couldn’t get a baseball out of an infield start hitting 3 run shots.

17. S’mores Contain The 4 Major Food Groups Of Summer Camp

That would be sugar, chocolate, cracker and dirt from when it inevitably gets dropped on the ground…

18. You Finish The Summer Exhausted & Drained In Every Way Possible And Can’t Wait To Do It Again

The worst day at camp is still better than the best day at work or school in the real world. The summer knocks you down a notch and you function off of no sleep and exhaustion that would normally put you into the hospital back home. But as soon as you leave all you can think about is how soon it will be until you can come back. My camp talks about “10-4-2” In that you spend 10 months dying to get back for those two quick, action packed and magical two.

If you had an awesome time working at a summer camp then you know exactly what I’m talking about.

Featured photo credit: Kevin Smith via flickr.com

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Jamie Logie

Jamie is a personal trainer and health coach with a degree in Kinesiology and Food and Nutrition.

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Last Updated on July 8, 2020

18 Benefits of Journaling That Will Change Your Life

18 Benefits of Journaling That Will Change Your Life

The act of writing in a journal often seems daunting or unnecessary to many people. Even authors who work on novels might shun the idea of daily diaries. What purpose does jotting down words on a regular basis do if not contributing to the next novel, play or song? I know from experience many benefits of journaling that I wish to share.

1. Understand Yourself Better

Though many people and even writers avoid keeping journals, I vow to do it more often. Not only do I desire to take up daily journaling but also I plan to do it with pen to paper.

Some of the benefits I’ve found from my more active days include finding myself in the sense of understanding what matters to me and what I want out of life. I’ve been incredibly fortunate to find a spouse who is my best friend and advocate in raising children. I attribute this and much more to what I learned about myself in keeping journals for years.

2. Keep Track of Small Changes

I’ll admit that I never got very far with my guitar lessons, but in writing in a journal, I have seen the ability to track small changes like those that come when you practice anything.

Those learning a musical instrument often fail to see the small improvements that come with regular practice. Writing won’t help you switch chords any faster, but it will help you to develop a better sense for language and grammar just by doing it.

3. Become Aware of What Matters

As you continue to write in a journal, following a stream-of-consciousness feel, you can look back on the topics that you chose to write about. Those issues and emotions that poured out of you will provide insight on to what matters most to you.

You may not even realize that you’re job is depressing you or that you want to spend more time with your kids until you look over your thoughts that you weren’t really thinking about.

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4. Boost Creativity

The idea that the brain and its neural activity across hemispheres encourages learning also shows up in increased creativity. Just like with learning an instrument, your increased activity will inspire your thoughts to connect and reconnect in different ways.

When I wrote in a journal, I often wrote poetry as well as just my thoughts as they came out. I started to hear poems more in my mind; so much so that I took to scrawling lines on napkins and finding metaphors in mundane activities.

You really are what you do, so writing helps grow more than being a writer. Writing boosts the way you communicate and structure language, which really is a creative process.

5. Represents Your Emotions in a Safe Environment

A journal is as private as it gets. You can lock it in a safe or tuck it under a pillow and no one will accidentally share it on social media or have an opportunity to “leave a comment.”

Write about your sorrow as much as your happiness and frustration and know that you don’t have to keep your emotions inside your body. You can put them on paper.

6. Process Life Experiences

When you take the time to look back over what you’ve written, be it a week or a year later, you will have the distance you need to more objectively interpret your raw feelings.

Everything from losing a job to losing a loved one can emerge in a new light for a fresh perspective. Figuring out how the benefits of journaling affect your perspective on life will create connection and increase creativity.

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7. Stress Relief

In combining the exercise inherent in fine motor coordination that comes from the act of writing with the emotional release of self expression, those who maintain a journal relieve stress.

Try it out. Go home and write about your day. Write about the traffic. Write about the coffee order the barista got wrong but you didn’t have time to change. See how you can physically purge some of that pent-up stress by putting it on paper.

8. Provide Direction

Though journaling is often conducted as an activity without much direction, it often provides direction.

One of the biggest benefits of journaling is that your chaotic thoughts merge to show a direction in which to head. Asking the right questions is the only way to achieve the best solutions, so look to your journal to find your way toward your next goal.

9. Solve Problems

Just as in practicing math problems, we all get better at finding hidden solutions through the act of processing.

Think of your next goal as X and solve your life problems by reading your journals as word problems. The benefit of journaling here is that you write, explore and process to recognize and then solve problems.

When life is too in-your-face, you have to step back to see reality. Living in the moment allows us to write in the moment and use that expression to solve problems.

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10. Find Relief From Fighting

Solving your problems only comes after time to process, recognize and strategize. Just as in the benefit of journaling where relief comes from the act of writing, relief from fighting comes when you decide to “sit this one out” and communicate one-way.

Fighting is only productive when the fighters care to communicate and find common ground. When the emotions are as high as the stress levels, writing will function as the best time out.

11. Find Meaning in Life

Journaling will show you why you are living, whether you are wallowing in things you wish to change or striving to make the changes. Your life will begin to take on new meaning and your own words will reveal the actions that got you where you are so that you can assess and pave a new path for your future.

12. Allow Yourself to Focus

Taking even a small amount of time out of every day will provide you with not only peace of mind but also increased focus. Taking a break to meditate in writing and journaling will sharpen your mental faculties.

13. Sharpen Your Spirituality

When we write, we allow all the energy and experiences to flow through us, which often provides further insight into our own spirituality. Even if your parents didn’t raise you to follow a specific religion, your thoughts will start to show you what you believe about the universe and your place in it.

14. Let the Past Go

I’ve mentioned a few examples where going back over your writing offers advice and direction, but the simply truth is that writing down our feelings can be the best way to let them go. We can choose to literally throw these pages away when they’re filled with negativity and hate.

15. Allow Freedom

Journaling is the perfect way to not only express yourself but to also experience the freedom of being who you are. Your books can stay private or you can publish them. Your freedom stems from your sense of self and your perception of your thoughts.

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16. Enhance Your Career

Again, the private act of pen-to-paper processing provides the benefits of journaling mentioned above, but you can also enhance your career when you take similar ideas and categorize, edit and publish them in an online blog.

Your thoughts will often be personal and express emotions, but another benefit of journaling is uncovering fresh ideas about your work.

17. Literally Explore Your Dreams

All the benefits I’ve mentioned explore ideas, thoughts and emotions, which is also what our dreams and nightmares do. Through writing down your dreams from the previous night, you can enhance your creativity as well as connect some of the metaphorical dots from the rest of your journal.

18. Catalog Your Life for Others

No one wants to think about dying, but we all die. Leaving a journal will act as a way to reconnect with family and friends left behind. The ideas you wish to keep personal while you process the life you’re living will serve to rekindle and inspire those who loved you through the process.

We consider our partners our life witnesses, but writing provides a tangible mark on the world.

Now that you’ve learned all the benefits of journaling, it’s time to start writing a journal:

Featured photo credit: Kelly Sikkema via unsplash.com

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