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...
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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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To The Girl Who Had A Plan

A letter to the girl whose life is not going according to her plan.
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“I am the master of my fate: I am the captain of my soul.” - William Ernest Henley

Since we were little girls we have been asked, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” We responded with astronauts, teachers, presidents, nurses, etc. Then we start growing up, and our plans change.

In middle school, our plans were molded based on our friends and whatever was cool at the time. Eventually, we went to high school and this question became serious, along with some others: “What are your plans for college?” “What are you going to major in?” “When do you think you’ll get married?” “Are you going to stay friends with your friends?” We are bombarded with these questions we are supposed to have answers to, so we start making plans.

Plans, like going to college with our best friends and getting a degree we’ve been dreaming about. Plans, to get married as soon as we can. We make plans for how to lose weight and get healthy. We make plans for our weddings and children.

SEE ALSO: 19 Pieces Of Advice From A Soon-To-Be 20-Year-Old

We fill our Pinterest boards with these dreams and hopes that we have, which are really great things to do, but what happens when you don’t get into that college? What happens when your best friend chooses to go somewhere else? Or, what if you don’t get the scholarship you need or the awards you thought you deserved. Maybe, the guy you thought you would marry breaks your heart. You might gain a few pounds instead of losing them. Your parents get divorced. Someone you love gets cancer. You don’t get the grades you need. You don’t make that collegiate sports team. The sorority you’re a legacy to, drops you. You didn’t get the job or internship you applied for. What happens to you when this plan doesn’t go your way?

I’ve been there.

The answer for that is “I have this hope that is an anchor for my soul.” Soon we all realize we are not the captain of our fate. We don’t have everything under control nor will we ever have control of every situation in our lives. But, there is someone who is working all things together for the good of those who love him, who has a plan and a purpose for the lives of his children. His name is Jesus. When life takes a turn you aren’t expecting, those are the times you have to cling to Him the tightest, trusting that His plan is what is best. That is easier said than done, but keep pursuing Him. I have found in my life that His plans were always better than mine, and slowly He’s revealing that to me.

The end of your plan isn’t the end of your life. There is more out there. You may not be the captain of your fate, but you can be the master of your soul. You can choose to be happy despite your circumstances. You can change directions at any point and go a different way. You can take the bad and make something beautiful out of it, if you allow God to work in your heart.

SEE ALSO: To The Girl Patiently Waiting With An Impatient Heart

So, make the best of that school you did get in to. Own it. Make new friends- you may find they are better than the old ones. Apply for more scholarships, or get a job. Move on from the guy that broke your heart; he does not deserve you. God has a guy lined up for you who will love you completely. Spend all the time you can with the loved one with cancer. Pray, pray hard for healing. Study more. Apply for more jobs, or try to spend your summer serving others instead. Join a different club or get involved in other organizations on campus. Find your delight first in God and then pursue other activities that make you happy; He will give you the desires of your heart.

My friend, it is going to be OK.

Cover Image Credit: Megan Beavers Photography

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The Most Important Things I've Learned From Taking Philosophy

The biggest takeaways that I have collected from my time in my Philosophy class.

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When registering for classes for Fall 2018, I found myself drawn to Philosophy 126: Mind, Brain, Self & Evolution. I figured the class would give me the opportunity to perform a lot of introspection during my first semester at college while also helping me fulfill some General Education requirements, and I couldn't have been more right. I've never had the pleasure of taking a class with such a loose agenda and the freedom to discuss every aspect of the information we are learning. That said, there have been a few major takeaways from this class.

First is the idea that you are not the sum of your parts, but the sum of your parts and the parts of everyone around you. Most people have heard the overused quote "It takes a village to raise a child," but this idea couldn't be more than true. We subconsciously pull so many of our habits, preferences, etc. from the people around us that we ultimately grow to become a community within ourselves, and there is something truly beautiful about that. It takes a village to raise a child to become a village.

Second, I've learned how important it is to understand that if some big philosophical or psychological or physical problem has not been solved yet, there is rarely going to be one solution to it. Millions of years of group thought have placed us in the intellectual shoes we are in, and yet we still question every day what our "purpose" is. There are thousands of theories and possible answers to this question, but who's to say that they aren't all correct? Some aspects of life are just too subjective to be answered objectively.

Lastly is the separation between gaining knowledge and experiential learning. Both are arguably equal in their significance, but we don't truly think about how immensely different the two concepts are until we are forced to. In philosophy, there is a theory centered around this experimental design called "Mary's Room." The story is that a woman named Mary has lived in a black and white room her whole life but has grown up learning everything about color and the human reaction to it (biologically, psychologically, etc.).

Once the door to her room is opened and she sees the color red for the first time, she has just learned something new despite already knowing everything there is to know about the concept of color. Experience is the most important part of the human condition and should not be disregarded when it comes to learning.

There are so many aspects of our existence that we never consider on a daily basis simply because we don't have to. There is something unique about people who are in touch with themselves spiritually: they have a greater understanding not just of who they are, but of who they are in relation to the rest of the world. In a fast-paced, Type A world it is especially easy to lose sight of the importance of experiencing humanity, and we often take this beautiful gift for granted.

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