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!
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.