School is out, the sun is shining and parents desperately look for places to drop off their kids for a week before they tear their hair out. Every year for as long as I can remember, I went to summer camp. Each one as action-packed as the last, filled with great food, fun games, and exciting adventures. As a kid, camp felt like most perfect week on earth. Camp counselors, however, have quite a different perspective. This past week, I had a ton of fun as a camp counselor at my university for high school students, and I learned a lot.
1. It is not as easy as it looks.
Why did it never occur to me that it is actually impossible to be aware of the location of 63 teenagers who are literally trying to make sure you don't know where they are?
2. You will adore some campers.
It is really hard to remember that some of these kids are actually kids. I really could see a couple of them fitting in my friend group...which is weird but cool?
3. Some campers will drive you insane.
It will be the same few kids who are constantly breaking rules and being mean to other kids. They are hard to deal with and make you crazy through the week.
4. It doesn't matter how many times you say "No Romance."
Summer lovin' at a kids camp is so creepy. It does not matter how many times you tell kids 'no romance,' they will probably still try to couple off. You and your fellow camp counselors will probably talk about how they would make a cute couple... after camp is over.
5. Kids will think they are better liars than they actually are.
I had a kid tell me the scavenger hunt was fun after I watched him and his friends sit in the parking lot instead of participating.
6. They will argue over mandatory activities.
One time a coworker filmed a kid arguing with me instead of jumping in. At least I got some nice footage for this article though.
7. You will have inside jokes as a whole camp.
I walked away singing, "All by Yeung Self," and greeting people with shakas.
8. You will create an entirely new language of just looks that only the counselors will understand.
Some things you just cannot say in front of campers, thus the side eye was born.
9. The counselor group chat will be insanely lit that week.
Every time I checked my phone, I had 50 texts along the lines of, "Oh crap, where is [insert kid's name here]?" or "We need snacks" or "Want to go to the bar after camp is done?" or just generally insulting each other.
10. Kids will probably think you are a lot cooler than you are.
Being a camp counselor is such an ego boost because being able to balance a job, get a degree and have hobbies is normal for many college-aged people, but to high schoolers, you are a god.
11. No one will want to sit next to you.
Things will get awkward if you sit next to these kids during meals. They want to be able to talk freely without the chance of getting in trouble.
12. Every counselor will take on an identity.
You got the funny and confident one, the social butterfly, the cool one, the we-thought-she-was-nice-but-turns-out-she-is-sarcastic one, the grumpy one that everyone secretly loves, and the insanely energetic/slightly scary one.
13. You will lose track of a few campers.
It's called collateral damage, and they will eventually show up again. That doesn't mean you won't have a mild heart attack daily at the age of 20, though.
14. Kids will throw up.
Story time. There was one kid who is very respectful and pretty quirky. He never really talked to us until breakfast one morning when he yelled across the dining hall and said, "Umm, I just puked in this bowl. What do I do?"
15. You will adopt a kid as an honorary camp counselor.
This kid will stay up late and say inappropriate jokes and you know you should be mad but he is just so funny. Plus, he saves you all a table in the dining hall and will do the things you don't want to do like go up to the 9th floor and tell people to go to bed.
16. You will humiliate yourself getting overly excited about activities meant for the kiddos.
We did a choreographed CPR-meets-Jazz Hands routine to "Stayin' Alive" by the Bee Gees.
17. You lived through moments of hell and moments of triumph with your fellow camp counselors, and you can't wait to crack open a cold one at the end of the week.
We made it! What an insane week but it was so much fun. I am so glad I had such an amazing crew to work with. Cheers!