Although, I’m only 15 about be 16 years old in 5 days, currently a sophomore in High School, and work for event staff which is typically people around my age. I feel like this blog will relate to cabin counselors, kitchen crew, recreation team, media team, work crew, medical staff, construction crew, way pointers, event staff.
It’s no walk in the park.
Working at a camp is easily one of the most demanding but also most rewarding jobs there is that a college or high school student could have. Taking the job for the camp I currently work at, Camp Cho-Yeh. I would never have thought it would be a headache to work with tons of kids at once until I was actually doing it. If you ask someone, who has never done it, what working at a camp is like; they will probably say it’s fun in the sun all day. *trump voice* WRONG. I can tell you first and foremost that it is anything but a walk in the park. Here are 10 things that camp has taught me through being a camper and a staff member that I brought into my everyday life.
1) STEPPING OUTSIDE MY COMFORT ZONE
When I started working at camp, I was immediately pushed outside of my comfort zone. I was never trapped in a social bubble, to begin with, but talking to campers that I didn’t know (which was most of them) for some reason scared the heck out of me. Now when I talk to people I don’t really know outside of camp. I just talked to them like they’re a camper and it makes everything go much smoother.
2) CHACOS ARE A MUST
Chacos are the most well-spent shoes I’ve ever bought. I currently have 3 pairs, but ya know that won’t last for long. And by that I mean there will be more in the future. They’re simply the best show around. They’re made for any type of adventure. To clean them, you just hop tight in the shower and scrub them down and BAM just like that they’re brand new. While they may cost $1oo, they last for years. They’re customizable and more than likely you can wear them with anything. CHACO TAN LINES ARE THE BEST.
3) YOU ARE A SUPER HERO
Your campers think you are the coolest kid on the block and will do whatever takes to be in your position. I learned to participate fully in all the activities because no one is “too cool” or “too old” for color wars or messy food fights. Your campers will think it’s okay to be silly by watching you engage in the activities.
4) IT’S THE LITTLE MOMENTS
I always find that it is the moments in between the events that seem to have the biggest impacts. I find joy in the songs that are made up walking from location A to B. Everyday is always jam packed with activities that are planned by staff members. But for whatever reason, The moments that aren’t written into the schedule are the moments I find the most happiness.
5) NOTHING IS GROSS
Literally, nothing. From helping sick children throw up, to sharing the same toothbrush. Just kidding. I’d never do that but still you really do see it all at camp. And for some odd reason, it doesn’t phase you. I realized how to survive with without the most comfortable bed and how to overcome the stench of molded bathing suits and sandy cabin flooring with a few matters that cannot be cleaned with soap and water.
6) YOU’RE NEVER TO OLD TO BE SILLY
Speaking from experience. If you take yourself too seriously, you lose out on the major fun. Camp has taught me it’s okay not to match your clothes every day, and sing whenever I need to sing. More than that, it reminded me that there is no real explanation why just because you grow up, they have to lose their inner child. I believe a person is never too old or too mature to be capable of performing like your on Americas Got Talent.
7) SOMETIMES THE BIGGEST LESSONS COME FROM THOSE THAT ARE YOUNGER THAN YOU
As much of an influence, my camp counselors had on me when I was growing up, being on the other side as a staff member, I am now able to see the reverse. The children you see at the same activity for a week or weeks can teach you so much about the world with fresh eyes. I think it’s the most beautiful thing to hear campers talk with each other and really gain a new perspective on your surroundings.
There are the instanceswhen I’m speaking to a child, typicallytelling them to give up doing something that they aren’t supposed to be doing such as pointing their bow and arrow at someone when it should be pointing to the target. And the secondyou finish speaking they do it again. There is something builtinto adolescents where they either a) just love doing the actual contrary of what they are told or b) they love making me mad. There have beenmany times over the summer, where I just had to take a step back, relax, and breathe.
Working at a summercamp taught me leadership skills I know I could never have learned anywhere else. Throughout my freshman year, I used to constantly standquiet and stored to myself when it came to taking charge in group projects or telling someone right from wrong. However, after being apart of event staff this past summer and summers to come I discovered how to take initiative and step up to the plate when it was needed. Whether it be leading a game of dodgeball with a group of middle school boys/girls, or even if it means showing them out in a game of basketball. It is vital to step out of your comfort zone and be the staff that the campers can look up to.
I know as I’ve gotten older, there are so many things old and new in this world that scream at me to focus solely on myself and my needs. At camp, you do not have the option to focus on JUST yourself. Parents drop their childrenoff at summer camp and relyon you to make a positive impact that their toddler/child/teenis completely happy and safe. You have to change your mindsetfrom ME to WE. Your campers come before yourself when you’re at camp. You are here for a reason. It is important to make sure you are mentally and physically okay each and every day
11) CAMP FRIENDS ARE THE BEST FRIENDS
I often forget how many camp friends I met and talk to that I went camping with 6 years ago. Some I’ve known for 4+ years, and other I’ve known for 1 year. I don’t know about y’all but #chomance is a real thing at Cho-yeh and I firmly believe before relationships happen at camp, the friendships forms the relationship. Camp people are different in a very special way.
12) YOU ARE PERFECT THEY WAY YOU ARE AND YOU SHOULD NEVER LET ANYONE TELL YOU DIFFERENTLY
I know for a fact that I used to struggle with being insecure about how I look, and what I wear. Camp will make you realize that you are a beautiful creation. It took me more than half my years to understand my value, who I am, what I’m worth, and who I want to be in this life I live. Camp has helped me open my eyes to my own beauty. HOW GREAT IS OUR GOD?!
13) IF YOU DON’T TRY, YOU’LL NEVER KNOW
So jump on the blob, climb the tower, do the giant swing, play some paintball, get on a horse or ride the banana boat (if you’re old enough). You might find that you happen to like the things you never thought was possible.
14) IF YOU NEED HELP, ASK FOR IT
Camp is like a big, supportive family. Whether you’re a camper or staff member, ask for help when you need it, it will always be there for you. No one is gonna ever bash you for needing helping to better yourself and your walk with Christ.
15) ALWAYS PACK A SWEATSHIRT AND A RAINCOAT. A PAIR OF SOCKS DOESN’T HURT, EITHER.
You may never know when the weather will turn and there’s nothing worse than being uncomfortable at camp, no matter what camp it is. It’s better to be safe than sorry.
Thanks for reading my first blog ever. It took about 9 hours. Why? To make sure what I was writing/typing was coming from God and not myself.
Peace n blessings