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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 September 28, 2020

The Pros and Cons of Working from Home

The Pros and Cons of Working from Home

At the start of the year, if you had asked anyone if they could do their work from home, many would have said no. They would have cited the need for team meetings, a place to be able to sit down and get on with their work, the camaraderie of the office, and being able to meet customers and clients face to face.

Almost ten months later, most of us have learned that we can do our work from home and in many ways, we have discovered working from home is a lot better than doing our work in a busy, bustling office environment where we are inundated with distractions and noise.

One of the things the 2020 pandemic has reminded us is we humans are incredibly adaptable. It is one of the strengths of our kind. Yet we have been unknowingly practicing this for years. When we move house we go through enormous upheaval.

When we change jobs, we not only change our work environment but we also change the surrounding people. Humans are adaptable and this adaptability gives us strength.

So, what are the pros and cons of working from home? Below I will share some things I have discovered since I made the change to being predominantly a person who works from home.

Pro #1: A More Relaxed Start to the Day

This one I love. When I had to be at a place of work in the past, I would always set my alarm to give me just enough time to make coffee, take a shower, and change. Mornings always felt like a rush.

Now, I can wake up a little later, make coffee and instead of rushing to get out of the door at a specific time, I can spend ten minutes writing in my journal, reviewing my plan for the day, and start the day in a more relaxed frame of mind.

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When you start the day in a relaxed state, you begin more positively. You find you have more clarity and more focus and you are not wasting energy worrying about whether you will be late.

Pro #2: More Quiet, Focused Time = Increased Productivity

One of the biggest difficulties of working in an office is the noise and distractions. If a colleague or boss can see you sat at your desk, you are more approachable. It is easier for them to ask you questions or engage you in meaningless conversations.

Working from home allows you to shut the door and get on with an hour or two of quiet focused work. If you close down your Slack and Email, you avoid the risk of being disturbed and it is amazing how much work you can get done.

An experiment conducted in 2012 found that working from home increased a person’s productivity by 13%, and more recent studies also find significant increases in productivity.[1]

When our productivity increases, the amount of time we need to perform our work decreases, and this means we can spend more time on activities that can bring us closer to our family and friends as well as improve our mental health.

Pro #3: More Control Over Your Day

Without bosses and colleagues watching over us all day, we have a lot more control over what we do. While some work will inevitably be more urgent than others, we still get a lot more choice about what we work on.

We also get more control over where we work. I remember when working in an office, we were given a fixed workstation. Some of these workstations were pleasant with a lot of natural sunlight, but other areas were less pleasant. It was often the luck of the draw whether we find ourselves in a good place to work or not.

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By working from home we can choose what work to work on and whether we want to face a window or not. We can get up and move to another place, and we can move from room to room. And if you have a garden, on nice days you could spend a few hours working outside.

Pro #4: You Get to Choose Your Office Environment

While many companies will provide you with a laptop or other equipment to do your work, others will give you an allowance to purchase your equipment. But with furniture such as your chair and desk, you have a lot of freedom.

I have seen a lot of amazing home working spaces with wonderful sets up—better chairs, laptop stands that make working from a laptop much more ergonomic and therefore, better for your neck.

You can also choose your wall art and the little nick-nacks on your desk or table. With all this freedom, you can create a very personal and excellent working environment that is a pleasure to work in. When you are happy doing your work, you will inevitably do better work.

Con #1: We Move a Lot Less

When we commute to a place of work, there is movement involved. Many people commute using public transport, which means walking to the bus stop or train station. Then, there is the movement at lunchtime when we go out to buy our lunch. Working in a place of work requires us to move more.

Unfortunately, working from home naturally causes us to move less and this means we are not burning as many calories as we need to.

Moving is essential to our health and if you are working from home you need to become much more aware of your movement. To ensure you are moving enough, make sure you take your lunch breaks. Get up from your desk and move. Go outside, if you can, and take a walk. And, of course, refrain from regular trips to the refrigerator.

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Con #2: Less Human Interaction

One of the nicest things about bringing a group of people together to work is the camaraderie and relationships that are built over time. Working from home takes us away from that human interaction and for many, this can cause a feeling of loss.

Humans are a social species—we need to be with other people. Without that connection, we start to feel lonely and that can lead to mental health issues.

Zoom and Microsoft Teams meeting cannot replace that interaction. Often, the interactions we get at our workplaces are spontaneous. But with video calls, there is nothing spontaneous—most of these calls are prearranged and that’s not spontaneous.

This lack of spontaneous interaction can also reduce a team’s ability to develop creative solutions—there’s just something about a group of incredibly creative people coming together in a room to thrash out ideas together that lends itself to creativity.

While video calls can be useful, they don’t match the connection between a group of people working on a solution together.

Con #3: The Cost of Buying Home Office Equipment

Not all companies are going to provide you with a nice allowance to buy expensive home office equipment. 100% remote companies such as Doist (the creators of Todoist and Twist) provide a $2,000 allowance to all their staff every two years to buy office equipment. Others are not so generous.

This can prove to be expensive for many people to create their ideal work-from-home workspace. Many people must make do with what they already have, and that could mean unsuitable chairs that damage backs and necks.

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For a future that will likely involve more flexible working arrangements, companies will need to support their staff in ways that will add additional costs to an already reduced bottom line.

Con #4: Unique Distractions

Not all people have the benefit of being able to afford childcare for young children, and this means they need to balance working and taking care of their kids.

For many parents, being able to go to a workplace gives them time away from the noise and demands of a young family, so they could get on with their work. Working from home removes this and can make doing video calls almost impossible.

To overcome this, where possible, you need to set some boundaries. I know this is not always possible, but it is something you need to try. You should do whatever you can to make sure you have some boundaries between your work life and home life.

Final Thoughts

Working from home can be hugely beneficial for many people, but it can also bring serious challenges to others.

We are moving towards a new way of working. Therefore, companies need to look at both the pros and cons of working from home and be prepared to support their staff in making this transition. It will not be impossible, but a lot of thought will need to go into it.

More About Working From Home

Featured photo credit: Standsome Worklifestyle via unsplash.com

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