22 Things Any Camp Counselor (From Camp Canadensis) Can Appreciate

22 Things Any Camp Counselor (From Camp Canadensis) Can Appreciate

There's no place else I'd rather be, than on the shores of Lenape...

Maybe I’m biased, but Camp Canadensis is one of the best overnight summer camps in the nation. Located in Northeastern Pennsylvania among the Pocono Mountains, Camp Canadensis is the summer home to about 500 kids and 250 staff members. I had the great fortune to work as a lacrosse activity specialist this past summer, and I highly recommend anyone who is looking for a job this summer to consider spending it working at an overnight camp. Whether or not you worked at Camp Canadensis or another camp, here are 21 things that any camp counselor can appreciate from summer camp!

1. Reveille

That 8 a.m. trumpet call is the most dreadful thing to wake up to in the morning. It’s loud, it's obnoxious, but every time you hear it you know it’s going to be another great day of camp.

2. Camp Cheers

Whether it was screaming your head off, yelling out your bunk number in the Dining Hall, or cheering for your team in color war until your voice goes hoarse, there is nothing like a good camp cheer.

3. Nights Off Duty

During the summer, you get about three nights off per week and the question always was where do we go, Walmart or the PourHouse? Walmart has everything you could possibly need for the week and sharing a $5 tub of ice cream with your friends is always a great idea. But the PourHouse has delicious food and wings that are just as great, and you can always count on an intense round of pool to bring everyone together.

4. Nights On Duty

When you weren’t off, you were on. On Duty nights or OD nights were always eventful. Maybe you were going to be at Canteen with your campers until 11 p.m., or maybe you were going to get into an intense bracket of rafterball, staying up past midnight, until finally a winner can be declared.

5. Sunglasses

The most coveted and most important item to have in your possession. It's always sunny at Canadensis and you’re going to lose at least three of them over the course of the summer, so you always have to make sure you’re stocked up when you go to Walmart on your off nights.

6. Morning Lineup

GOOOOOOD MORNING!!! There's no better way to start your day than by having a dance party with all your camp friends and counselors up on the stage, or by hearing your favorite baseball team has beaten the Yankees.

7. The Lake

Three words: Sunrises and sunsets. Hands down, the sunrises and sunsets on Lake Lenape are like no other. Besides being the most beautiful sight in the morning and night, every counselor can relate to how difficult it is to get your campers into the water or to go down the Ice Mountain! And you can’t blame them, the, freezing water, squishy lake floor, and green algae that stays on you when you come out, doesn’t really make you want to go in!

8. Off Days

You only get five days off during the summer but when you had one you always used those 24 hours to your advantage. These were some of the best days of summer because it was time you could spend not only doing whatever you want, but also really building your relationships with the other staff at camp. From New York City, to Philadelphia, to the Jersey Shore, every off day was more exciting than the next.

9. Rest Hour

Rest hour is a one hour period after lunch where your campers can play rafterball, or shower, or write letters. For the older campers this period was often used for napping and catching up with the other bunks and their siblings at camp that they hadn't seen all day.

10. Color War

Apache. Rope Burn. Counselor Feats. There are too words for Color War. As a new counselor you get thrown into it just like the new campers and if you’re lucky, you’ll survive and come out victorious at the end. But until Color War breaks again, the winners have ENDLESS bragging rights. (Go Blue team till I die).

11. Camp Food

If you like chicken and carbohydrates this is the place for you!! But honestly, the food isn’t really half bad and we get three meals a day and dessert after dinner so there’s nothing to complain about but… c’mon… it’s not like anything would pass with Gordon Ramsey…

12. Trip Week

The most exciting week besides color War for the campers. The oldest campers travel to different places such as Lake Placid, Baltimore, or Washington D.C., or Disney World and the middle division of campers take a trip to Hersey Park. The youngest kids stay in camp get to take over for a week, it's chaos but everyone loves it. As a counselor, if you’re a general counselor, you get to go on the trip with your kids and explore anywhere they go. If you’re an activities counselor, you stay back at the camp and get to work with the young campers all week. Either way it’s always a fun and exciting week.

13. Prom

The CIT's big night. Prom is planned by the Super Seniors for the CITs to enjoy, but the rest of Senior camp is allowed to attend as well. It's crazy and hectic if you're on the planning end of Prom, but it's one of the most special nights of camp for the CITs since they have dates, great food, personalized invitations, and special announcements.

14. MTV Night

So. Much. Fun. MTV Night is when the whole camp comes together to watch each bunk showcase a dance they've choreographed and been practicing since, virtually, the end of last summer. Warning: MTV Night comes late in the summer, so your campers will propose all kinds of conspiracies about possible Color War breaks and fake breaks happening that night, so stay alert and be prepared just in case they're right!

15. Activity Periods

There are six 45-minute periods throughout the day where the campers can go to different activities of their choice. It’s amazing how many options the kids can choose from. They can play lacrosse, drive Hondas, ride horses, sail, or compete in archery, mahjong, rocketry, and if arts is their forte, they can hone their skills in ceramics, woodwork, or even glass fusion! And seriously, that’s just a fraction of what they can choose from. Like I said: Amazing.

16. Off Periods

Once a day, for 45 minutes a counselor has the opportunity to use their phone, sleep, eat, and basically do whatever they want. These short periods were so important to keeping up with the busyness of the camp experience. Most often, you’d find yourself slumped in the Staff Lounge trying to catch up with your friends or co-counselors, or going through all your social media trying to get the latest news.

17. Canteen

What can’t I say about Canteen? Well first of all, it’s different for Middle Camp and Senior Camp. For Middle Camp it’s a much shorter time period where the campers can receive candy and soda and spend time socializing with the boys and girls in their division. For Senior Camp, they also receive candy and soda but they also occasionally have raves and parties during Canteen. As a counselor, it’s a huge time for your campers to mingle with each other and start some summer lovin’.

18. Rak Dan

Crazy. Exciting. Colorful. 80s. Dancing. Rak Don can best be described as the summer camp version of a rave. As a counselor this is a great opportunity for you to dance with your campers and dress up in the brightest, craziest outfits that you can find.

19. Visiting Day

Visiting Day is the halftime of summer camp. Four weeks in and three weeks to go. The kids spend the day with their family eating sushi and receiving huge bags full of enough candy and food to last them through the next Ice Age. But don’t be fooled, it’s not a walk in the park for counselors. It’s one of the busiest and most exciting days of the year because you get meet all of your campers’ parents and siblings and sometimes even their best friends. And if you think you’ve got some wild campers, just wait till you meet their parents!

20. Bunko

Bunko gets called when it’s rainy, nasty weather outside or when the campers deserve a day to relax. It basically means all your campers and co-counselors get to spend the afternoon together in the cabin and around camp playing games or rafterball or practicing their MTV night dance. It’s always fun and you never know what to expect!

23. Alma Mater

Going into the summer, you have no idea how important the Alma Mater is to the camp experience. Every time there is a whole camp event, it will be closed with singing the Alma Mater. Color War ends with everyone coming together to sing the Alma Mater. Never will a song touch your heart as much as the tune of Lake Lenape will.

22. The Friendships

It doesn’t matter what kind of counselor you are or what division you have; it is guaranteed you will have one of the most unforgettable summers of your life. The memories you make with the friends and the people you meet from all across the nation and world will be something you will remember for years on end. I am confident in saying I have made some of the best friends from working at summer at camp and I look forward to the day when I can visit my friends from all over the US, across the pond in Europe, and down under in Australia and New Zealand.

Cover Image Credit: Camp Canadensis

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You May Have Worn The Prom Dress With Him, But I Get To Wear The Wedding Dress

You had him in high school, but I get him for the rest of my life.

High school seems like the best time of your life when you are in it. You think that all of your friends will be with you until the end, and that you will end up with whoever you are dating your senior year. For very few, that might just be the case. For all others, that is far from true.

You thought that you would marry your boyfriend and you thought that everything would work out how you had always imagined. I don't blame you though. He's great. You wanted everything with him, but you were just not right for him.

I wish I could say that I am sorry it didn't work out for you, but I can't. I can't because he is mine now, and I get to cherish him forever. You didn't do that right, and you were not meant to be together. You will find someone too, but I am happy that you were not the one for him.

Sometimes I have issues with jealousy, and I hate that you got all of the high school stuff with him. You got to go to games and support him. It kills me that I couldn't be there for him because I know I would have actually been there wholeheartedly. I would have done it out of love, not as a popularity appearance.

I hate that you got to go to all of the school dances with him. He got to see you all dressed up and probably told you how great you looked. I'm sure you did look great. Prom dresses were always fun to pick out and so colorful. It was exciting to match colors with your date. I am sure you had fun choosing his matching tux to your dress.

I find myself getting jealous, but then I stop. I am getting to match his tux with our wedding colors. I got to go dress shopping in a sea of white, and he doesn't get to know one detail about that dress yet. He will get to see me walk down the aisle and then every day forever. I get to love him forever.

I try to not get jealous of all of the things you got with him because it is all in the past. You had your time, and now I get the wedding. You got to dress up in high school, but I get to dress up for my wedding with him. He may have put a corsage on your wrist, but he will be putting the wedding ring on my finger.

Cover Image Credit: Jessy Scott

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To Whomever It May Concern; It's Time To Forgive Yourself

Personal growth is cultivated through successes and mistakes, beating yourself up over the latter is counterproductive to progress.


We've reached that point in time again where it seems that the general population in its entirety has recommitted to improving themselves with the start of a new year. While it's refreshing to have a renewed determination to eat better, be kinder, or achieve the goals you had attempted at last year, the beginning of a new year can also prove to be a source of anxiety. As many sit down to put their goals on paper in hopes of making them more attainable, it's all too easy to be bombarded by all of the reasons that ones' ambitions are beyond what that person is capable of.

Memories of past short-comings and words of self-deprecation uttered in moments of perceived failure are compounded by a general fear of the unknown for what the future holds. In my own experience, I've come to understand that the limits we place on our capacity for achievement, happiness, and growth are the direct results of not forgiving ourselves. So many goals are set with the intent to receive some form of external validation to indicate that the world has forgiven our flaws and deemed us worthy, but if we can't forgive ourselves and see our own worth, then how can we possibly expect anyone else to?

In the safety and comfort of your own imagination where you are free to envision your best self, living the life you have always hoped for, the only person that can condemn those ideas for being unrealistic is you. When we allow that sardonic voice from the back of our minds to inhibit our dreams, we permit that voice to embed itself in our conscious thoughts and put trust in our inadequacies rather than our capabilities.

For those who have yet to forgive themselves of their own trespasses, failures, and mistakes; the next time you have the thought to better yourself or your life and find it being attacked by memories of deficiency, do not concede to those assailants with the belief that you are incapable of becoming and achieving anything you choose. Instead of willing away those thoughts that remind us of what we are trying to grow from, face them, face your old self with forgiveness, and decide how you're going to become someone better because of who you were.

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