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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

More by this author

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 September 16, 2019

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

You have a deadline looming. However, instead of doing your work, you are fiddling with miscellaneous things like checking email, social media, watching videos, surfing blogs and forums. You know you should be working, but you just don’t feel like doing anything.

We are all familiar with the procrastination phenomenon. When we procrastinate, we squander away our free time and put off important tasks we should be doing them till it’s too late. And when it is indeed too late, we panic and wish we got started earlier.

The chronic procrastinators I know have spent years of their life looped in this cycle. Delaying, putting off things, slacking, hiding from work, facing work only when it’s unavoidable, then repeating this loop all over again. It’s a bad habit that eats us away and prevents us from achieving greater results in life.

Don’t let procrastination take over your life. Here, I will share my personal steps on how to stop procrastinating. These 11 steps will definitely apply to you too:

1. Break Your Work into Little Steps

Part of the reason why we procrastinate is because subconsciously, we find the work too overwhelming for us. Break it down into little parts, then focus on one part at the time. If you still procrastinate on the task after breaking it down, then break it down even further. Soon, your task will be so simple that you will be thinking “gee, this is so simple that I might as well just do it now!”.

For example, I’m currently writing a new book (on How to achieve anything in life). Book writing at its full scale is an enormous project and can be overwhelming. However, when I break it down into phases such as –

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  • (1) Research
  • (2) Deciding the topic
  • (3) Creating the outline
  • (4) Drafting the content
  • (5) Writing Chapters #1 to #10,
  • (6) Revision
  • (7) etc.

Suddenly it seems very manageable. What I do then is to focus on the immediate phase and get it done to my best ability, without thinking about the other phases. When it’s done, I move on to the next.

2. Change Your Environment

Different environments have different impact on our productivity. Look at your work desk and your room. Do they make you want to work or do they make you want to snuggle and sleep? If it’s the latter, you should look into changing your workspace.

One thing to note is that an environment that makes us feel inspired before may lose its effect after a period of time. If that’s the case, then it’s time to change things around. Refer to Steps #2 and #3 of 13 Strategies To Jumpstart Your Productivity, which talks about revamping your environment and workspace.

3. Create a Detailed Timeline with Specific Deadlines

Having just 1 deadline for your work is like an invitation to procrastinate. That’s because we get the impression that we have time and keep pushing everything back, until it’s too late.

Break down your project (see tip #1), then create an overall timeline with specific deadlines for each small task. This way, you know you have to finish each task by a certain date. Your timelines must be robust, too – i.e. if you don’t finish this by today, it’s going to jeopardize everything else you have planned after that. This way it creates the urgency to act.

My goals are broken down into monthly, weekly, right down to the daily task lists, and the list is a call to action that I must accomplish this by the specified date, else my goals will be put off.

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Here’re more tips on setting deadlines: 22 Tips for Effective Deadlines

4. Eliminate Your Procrastination Pit-Stops

If you are procrastinating a little too much, maybe that’s because you make it easy to procrastinate.

Identify your browser bookmarks that take up a lot of your time and shift them into a separate folder that is less accessible. Disable the automatic notification option in your email client. Get rid of the distractions around you.

I know some people will out of the way and delete or deactivate their facebook accounts. I think it’s a little drastic and extreme as addressing procrastination is more about being conscious of our actions than counteracting via self-binding methods, but if you feel that’s what’s needed, go for it.

5. Hang out with People Who Inspire You to Take Action

I’m pretty sure if you spend just 10 minutes talking to Steve Jobs or Bill Gates, you’ll be more inspired to act than if you spent the 10 minutes doing nothing. The people we are with influence our behaviors. Of course spending time with Steve Jobs or Bill Gates every day is probably not a feasible method, but the principle applies — The Hidden Power of Every Single Person Around You

Identify the people, friends or colleagues who trigger you – most likely the go-getters and hard workers – and hang out with them more often. Soon you will inculcate their drive and spirit too.

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As a personal development blogger, I “hang out” with inspiring personal development experts by reading their blogs and corresponding with them regularly via email and social media. It’s communication via new media and it works all the same.

6. Get a Buddy

Having a companion makes the whole process much more fun. Ideally, your buddy should be someone who has his/her own set of goals. Both of you will hold each other accountable to your goals and plans. While it’s not necessary for both of you to have the same goals, it’ll be even better if that’s the case, so you can learn from each other.

I have a good friend whom I talk to regularly, and we always ask each other about our goals and progress in achieving those goals. Needless to say, it spurs us to keep taking action.

7. Tell Others About Your Goals

This serves the same function as #6, on a larger scale. Tell all your friends, colleagues, acquaintances and family about your projects. Now whenever you see them, they are bound to ask you about your status on those projects.

For example, sometimes I announce my projects on The Personal Excellence Blog, Twitter and Facebook, and my readers will ask me about them on an ongoing basis. It’s a great way to keep myself accountable to my plans.

8. Seek out Someone Who Has Already Achieved the Outcome

What is it you want to accomplish here, and who are the people who have accomplished this already? Go seek them out and connect with them. Seeing living proof that your goals are very well achievable if you take action is one of the best triggers for action.

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9. Re-Clarify Your Goals

If you have been procrastinating for an extended period of time, it might reflect a misalignment between what you want and what you are currently doing. Often times, we outgrow our goals as we discover more about ourselves, but we don’t change our goals to reflect that.

Get away from your work (a short vacation will be good, else just a weekend break or staycation will do too) and take some time to regroup yourself. What exactly do you want to achieve? What should you do to get there? What are the steps to take? Does your current work align with that? If not, what can you do about it?

10. Stop Over-Complicating Things

Are you waiting for a perfect time to do this? That maybe now is not the best time because of X, Y, Z reasons? Ditch that thought because there’s never a perfect time. If you keep waiting for one, you are never going to accomplish anything.

Perfectionism is one of the biggest reasons for procrastination. Read more about why perfectionist tendencies can be a bane than a boon: Why Being A Perfectionist May Not Be So Perfect.

11. Get a Grip and Just Do It

At the end, it boils down to taking action. You can do all the strategizing, planning and hypothesizing, but if you don’t take action, nothing’s going to happen. Occasionally, I get readers and clients who keep complaining about their situations but they still refuse to take action at the end of the day.

Reality check:

I have never heard anyone procrastinate their way to success before and I doubt it’s going to change in the near future.  Whatever it is you are procrastinating on, if you want to get it done, you need to get a grip on yourself and do it.

More About Procrastination

Featured photo credit: Malvestida Magazine via unsplash.com

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