Summer Camp Counselors Are The Best

A Summer Camp Counselor Is One Of The Best Things I'll Ever Be

I'm proud to be one.

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Nothing is more exciting than summer camp. My childhood consisted of me going to school and immediately looking forward to the next summer, all because I got to go to an awesome summer camp.

I started going there when I was five, and I finished my time when I was 13, "graduating" from my home five minutes away from home. Every mid-August involved a lot of tears; there were some good times that simply won't get erased.

When I was a camper, I repeatedly said to my counselors that I wanted to be just like them. I thought the counselors were cool because they respected all the kids, and they were funny. They were nice but also firm with their rules. They liked to have fun, but they also kept it in mind that this was also a job.

"That'll be me," 13-year-old me said.

And for once, I was right.

This is my fourth summer being a summer camp counselor to the same camp I attended as a child, and I don't regret it. Not one bit. I'm so lucky to make more memories in this awesome place.

The stars aligned and it was meant to be for me to get this job. It's not a job just for a paycheck. It's a job that I actually want to do, for something else I want to do with my life.

The kids make it all worthwhile. I look forward to waking up because of them, and I look forward to the start time because I know my day will consist of many laughs.

Each day is themed with great crafts, games, and fun! We go on very cool field trips, too. All of this brings me back to when I was the kids' age. I still think it's fun to go on my favorite water slide at the best water park ever because that's where we went when I was a kid, too!

Of course, there will be some setbacks and frustration, but it's never permanent. We always make everything enjoyable and professional, and everybody leaves with a smile on their face.

Also, working with a bunch of kindhearted people makes everything even better. The day goes smoother with them, and we got one another's backs. Communication is never a problem, and we step up when help is needed, even if it isn't expected from us.

These are the quick days and the longer moments I'll look back on forever, and I sure will miss it... if that time comes.

There are a lot of things I could be in my life. I know, one day, I'll be some type of teacher or professor, and I'll be a wife and a mother. But one of the best things I'll ever be is a summer camp counselor.

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Photo by Toa Heftiba on Unsplash

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40 Things To Do During Summer Vacation

Because we all know four months without college friends or classes is WAY too long.
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It's been less than a week since finals wrapped up at the University of Minnesota, and I, among many of my other friends, are already lost on things to do. Since January, our entire schedules have been filled with homework and studying. The new freedom summer brings provides endless time (in between our summer job shifts, of course) for new activities and things you wouldn't otherwise have the opportunity to do during the school year. Below is a list of 40 different activities to keep you entertained during your break and to ensure you make the most of your summer.


1. Learn a new language.

I highly recommend starting with Duolingo. It's an app that provides free language tutoring through a series of activities and exercises. It offers a wide variety of languages such as Spanish, German, Greek, Swahili, among many others.

2. Volunteer.

There's an endless amount of volunteering opportunities offered throughout every major city in the country. For example, many hospitals will accept volunteers, as well as organizations in Minnesota such as Feed, My Starving Children, or the Ronald McDonald House. Most positions only require an application but be sure to check for minimum requirements such as age or experience.

3. Read a book.

Go to a library and wander until you find a book you think you'll like. Sit back, relax, and enjoy.

4. Watch a TED talk.

This is one of my favorite hobbies any time of the year. TED is a nonprofit organization that shares short, approximately 15-minute videos ranging from science to business to global issues. There's a topic out there for everyone.

5. Start a garden.

Even if you don't have any outdoor space, succulents and cacti are very low maintenance and still add a little "green" to your indoor space.

6. Go camping.

Whether it's at a campground or in your backyard, enjoy the technology-free time with your family or friends.

7. Paint.

If you're not an artistic person, go to the store, buy a set of Crayola watercolors, and just paint.

8. Take an online course.

Coursera and edX both supply free online courses from top universities such as Yale, MIT, and Harvard. If you're trying to further your understanding of a particular topic such as physics or biology, I suggest starting with these websites.

9. Bake brownies or cookies.

Most stores stock up on the prepared cookie or brownie mixes, but if you have the time and ingredients, try making them from scratch.

10. Fly a kite.

Kites are available on Amazon for $10-$15, and instruction videos are available on YouTube to help you get started.

11. Play board games.

Life and Scrabble are my go-to's.

12. Make a scrapbook of old memories.

If you have the time and a little extra money, I promise the end-product will be worthwhile.

13. Start a journal.

You don't have to go buy the fancy Moleskin journals or buy an expensive one from Barnes and Noble, a simple notebook will do the trick. Write down your thoughts and document your summer.

14. Go to the beach.

Enjoy the sunshine, but don't forget sunscreen!

15. Go fishing.

Minnesota is the Land of 10,000 Lakes, and one of them is most likely within driving distance. Take the time on a nice, calm morning, and go fishing.

16. Binge-watch a TV show on Netflix.

"The Office," "Friends," "New Girl," "How I Met Your Mother," and "Grey's Anatomy" are good places to start.

17. Start a bucket list and cross off one item every week.

The items added don't have to be spectacular and nearly unattainable, they can be little things, too. In other words, I'm not expecting you to go skydiving, swim with sharks, and go on a cruise all in one month.

18. Learn to rock climb.

Both indoor and outdoor rock climbing are available depending on your level of comfort and experience. Remember to take every safety precaution and have fun.

19. Catch up with an old friend over coffee.

Call the friend you haven't seen in three years and ask to catch up over coffee. You never know how much their life has changed since last speaking with you.

20. Have a picnic.

Pack a basket with sandwiches, fruit, vegetables, and juice, and find a nice spot with a view. Maybe bring a book for a post-picnic activity.

21. Meditate or do yoga.

If you're unexperienced in both of these activities, many YouTube channels provide instructional videos. I'll post a link to one of my favorite YouTube yoga instructors here.

22. Learn a new instrument.

Whether it's piano, guitar, or even this $7.49 recorder from Amazon, try something new.

23. Discover new music.

Spotify and Pandora are great music platforms to discover different songs and artists. Keep checking your local venues and maybe attend a concert if possible.

24. Complete a puzzle.

You can buy puzzles online for around $10-$15. However, thrift stores and stores like Goodwill often sell them for less than $5.

25. Visit a museum.

The Science Museum of Minnesota and Minneapolis Institute of Art are two of the post popular museums in Minnesota. If you check their websites and other internet sources such as Groupon, you might be able to find a discount for admission.

26. Go to a comedy show.

I'm unaware of good comedy events around the country, but if you ever find yourself in downtown Minneapolis, check out Brave New Workshop.

27. Build a card tower.

If you're unsure how to do so, here is a link to instructions.

28. Reorganize and redecorate your room.

If you'd like a change in your life, try redecorating or reorganizing your room. Donate old clothes, books, or furniture no longer in use.

29. Marathon the entire Harry Potter series.

I challenge you to do this back-to-back with each movie, but I also realize that is 19 hours and 39 minutes of watching movies, not including snack or bathroom breaks.

30. Play with a pet.

It doesn't have to be your own. For a real adventure, check out the nearest animal shelter.

31. Start a blog.

Wordpress and Weebly are two online blogging websites that I highly suggest. Although it takes awhile to become accustomed to the platform, these websites are great because they're entirely customizable to the type of blog you wish to create.

32. Go for a bike ride.

Whether it's along the river or out on back roads, go for a ride.

33. Teach yourself how to juggle.

This might be easier said than done, but some videos on YouTube might be useful.

34. Take a bubble bath.

Some bubble bath or a bath bomb, music, and a good book will have you relaxed almost instantly.

35. Go to a farmer's market.

Support the farmers in your community and try buying local. With a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, baked goods, and flowers, there's something for everyone. The farmer's market in downtown Minneapolis is open Thursday's from 6am-6pm, while the Lyndale Market is open daily from 6am-1pm.


36. Exercise.

Go for a walk. Run. Bike. Do yoga. Play soccer. Just get up, and get moving.

37. Become a tourist in your own city.

Pretend you're from out of state and only have a limited amount of time to explore your city. Take yourself and your friends or family to the must-see places around town.

38. Color.

Adult coloring books have become an increasingly popular trend. Available online, Barnes and Noble, and Target, they're easily accessible. You can buy a book, some colored pencils or pens, and enjoy the relaxing day.

39. Spend time with your family and friends.

Whether it's a movie day or going out on a walk, put away your phone or laptop for a day and appreciate the people standing around you.

40. Enjoy all the time you have not worrying about studying or homework.

Cover Image Credit: Joe Pizzio // Unsplash

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Forget The Beach, Do These Things Instead

These 25 thing won't break your bank this summer.

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When you think of summertime you think of the beach. Going to the beach usually involves a lot of driving and necessary spending. These 25 activities are perfect for summer and will not break your bank.

1. Take A Walk.

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As simple as it sounds, take a walk. Walk around your town or neighborhood; you'll be amazed at all of the little things you normally miss whenever you're driving by.

2. Have A Picnic.

Nothing says summer like a picnic. It can be at your local park or even in your backyard; just don't forget the watermelon!

3. Roast s'mores!

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Everyone loves a good s'more, and the nostalgic smell of the campfire.

4. Make your own ice cream.

Ice cream is the perfect sweet treat to cool down on the hot summer day, but it can also break your budget. Homemade ice cream is fun, delicious, and will not hurt your wallet.

Here is a sweet recipe!

5. Blow bubbles.

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I mean come on, who doesn't love blowing bubbles.

6. Watch the clouds

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Whenever you're having a stressful or sad day grab a blanket and head outside and watch the clouds blow by. Make a game out of how many different shapes you can identify.

7. Pick some berries.

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Find a local strawberry or blueberry field that allows customers to pick their own berries, it is a lot more fun than it sounds trust me.

8. Go to a minor league baseball game.

Hot dogs, ice cream, and fun memories are all to be had at a local baseball game.

9. Go to a parade.

Your town or a neighboring town most likely has a holiday parade on Memorial Day, 4th of July, or labor day. Go to these parades, you'll get to see all of the local youth organizations, support your community, and maybe even get some candy thrown your way.

10. Watch the fireworks.

Really watch the fireworks, don't try to take pictures that will come out blurry. Live in the moment.

11. Watch the sunrise

It may involve an earlier bedtime the night before, but it will be worth it.

12. Watch the sunset.

Megan Adair

13. Make a slip & slide

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Tarp+water+soap=endless fun

14. Paint with bubbles.

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This takes blowing bubbles to a whole new level. Add your favorite colors of food coloring to your bubbles grab a piece of paper and blow onto the paper; you'll come away with a masterpiece.

15. Make a bird feeder.

Give back to mother nature by building a bird feeder.

16. Catch lightning bugs.

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AND THEN LET THEM GO!

17. Build a fort.

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Let's be real, everybody loves a good fort.

18. Tye-Dye something.

Shirt, socks, blankets, it doesn't matter what it is as long as you have fun.

19. Read.

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Go to a local bookstore, run your fingers along the spines of all the books and pick the one that calls to you.

20. Color with chalk.

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Unleash your inner artist on your driveway and/or sidewalk.

21. Pick up litter.

Go outside and help clean mother earth, it will not only benefit you but everybody around you as well.

22. Have an absolutely epic water gun battle.

Swim Pool Boy Water Swimming Summer Water Gun

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Grab your friend, enemy, kid, neighbor, parents, whoever you can find and challenge them to a water gun battle.

23. Go camping.

Get back into nature in your backyard, or at a free campsite.

24. Volunteer.

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Many of us have extra time in the summer so volunteer your time in your community!

(Dog walking at the local animal shelter is always a great choice)

25. Find joy.

https://www.pexels.com/search/happiness/

Find what makes you happy, and never stop doing it.

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