34 Things Only A Summer Camp Counselor Could Understand
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34 Things Only A Summer Camp Counselor Could Understand

"Jacob, put the stick down. Because I said so."

34 Things Only A Summer Camp Counselor Could Understand
The New Yorker

This past summer I got covered in dirt, paint, glue, glitter, blood, sweat, and tears. I wore crazy socks and costumes. I answered the question "why" with "why not." I lost my voice from yelling too much, I cleaned up period blood, and I let eight year-olds spray me with shaving cream. This summer, I was the site director at a summer day camp.

As those who used to have the job (or perhaps still do) know, working as a camp counselor is both terribly exhausting and one of the most rewarding experiences in the world. When we're not being role models to small children, we are dealing with our own problems—many of which include convincing other people's kids to put on sunscreen and drink water. So while people may think we're crazy for choosing a job that lacks air conditioning and involves bugs, we know that having even the slightest impact on changing the lives of the next generation is enough to make every stain, cut, and bruise worth it.

There are just some things only fellow counselors know to be true. Here are a few:

1. Glitter will end up in some unwelcoming places.

It spreads everywhere and is impossible to get rid of.

2. You find at least one pair of underwear on the floor.

3. Oh it's raining? I thought I was just sweating.

4. You are well aware of every possible allergy known to existence.

Camper: "I'm allergic to the sun."


5. And every type of overprotective, crazy parent.

6. You never knew how easy it was to lose an entire shoe.

Or water bottle, or backpack...

7. You run out of superlatives for the end of camp and end up creating something along the lines of "most hydrated camper."

8. You gain so much self-esteem when a camper makes you a bracelet or asks you to babysit.

9. The song "Boom Chicka Boom" gives you PTSD.

10. You've gotten really good at controlling your potty-mouth in front of the kids.

11. Maybe it's because you lost your voice within the first week.

12. You understand the juxtaposition of your patience between the beginning and end of the summer.

13. You've learned to remain extremely calm when a camper comes up to you with blood dripping down their face.

14. And you've seen kids get hurt in the most absurd ways possible.

Oh a tree fell on you? Sure, seems about right.

15. Even though it's highly frowned upon, you will inevitably have a favorite.

16. And a least favorite.

17. You've said things that you never thought you would say.

18. You start to get in the mindset of a child.

Did I really just laugh at the word duty?

19. And begin to have really intense conversations with the campers.

Heated arguments. Real thought-provoking stuff.

20. Pinterest is your best friend.

21. You find out that there are some kids you are legally not allowed to take photos of.

22. You start to feel really old.

23. You try to do a headcount of your group but random campers keep popping up and throwing you off.

24. You begin to respond like this when another counselor asks if you saw their two campers fighting and didn't intervene.

25. You know that kids will cry over absolutely anything.

26. And you sort of feel guilty that you are getting paid to make sarcastic comments to them all day.

Sort of.

27. You try to be optimistic when a camper says they like a CIT more than you.

28. You've never lied more in your entire life.

"Sure we can do that, just remind me tomorrow! Let's hope you don't forget by then."

29. You have gotten amazing at pretending to care.

"Really?! Wow, tell me more!"

30. You learn that kids can be pretty generous.

Gee, thank you for the rock! I love it.

31. At least twice a day you tell yourself, "I'm never having kids."

Which is a shame because you're pretty positive that after dealing with dozens of children on a daily basis, you'd be a great parent.

32. You aren't sure how to handle seeing campers in the real world.

33. You take dress up days very seriously.

34. And ultimately, you know that you are making a difference in the lives of the next generation, which feels pretty f*cking great.

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