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!
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.
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”.
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..
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