For anyone who has ever been a camp counselor, you know how much it changes your life. For anyone considering it, I urge you to do it. You'll have the opportunity to change lives, relive the best aspects of childhood, and you'll learn a lot about yourself and those around you. Here are ten lessons I have learned from my time as a summer camp counselor:
1. Be flexible.
At both camp and in life, things may not go as anticipated. It's always good to have a backup plan, or at the very least, it's good to be able to laugh it off.
2. Give new things a chance (and if you didn't like it the first time, give it a second chance).
You may have not liked a certain food, activity, or even a person at first, but it's all worth a second shot. Don't call it quits on something or someone from one experience - you may really like it the second time around.
3. You get out what you put in.
People will tell you this all the time, but it's absolutely true. Even if you start out faking a smile, you'll usually find out that your smile is completely genuine in the end. Go the extra mile and it will come back to you.
4. Teamwork makes all the difference.
Being a camp counselor is a hard and stressful job. Whether it comes to getting your campers to go to sleep or creating a new game to keep people entertained on a rainy day, it's a much easier job to work with people rather than doing it alone.
5. Getting enough sleep is incredibly important.
It makes or breaks your entire day. I know it's hard, but set aside time to take a nap when you have a break or forfeit a night of hanging out with your friends. You'll have a lot more patience (and fun) when you're well rested.
6. You can learn a lot from kids.
Sometimes, kids can say incredibly deep, thoughtful, and poignant things. Don't dismiss someone just because they're younger than you; sometimes, the youngest ones are the most insightful.
7. Don't take yourself too seriously.
Let yourself relive the excitement of being a kid. Don't think of being a camp counselor as "work." Instead, look as it as an opportunity to go to camp and have a good time while making a little money.
8. Getting dirty isn't always a bad thing.
Learn to embrace the pool hair, the sweat, and the dirt. Accept being covered in sunscreen, bug spray, and paint. It's actually pretty refreshing to not have to worry about putting on makeup or looking your best every single day.
9. Pushing yourself pays off.
Being a camp counselor is by no means an easy job. It's stressful, tiring, and can be pretty tough. But when you push through, you'll realize that all the hard work is really rewarding.
10. Work can be fun.
Sometimes, you'll be amazed that you get paid to be at camp and hanging out with kids all day. Letting yourself loosen up, open your mind, kick back and relax, and have fun is one of the best things that I learned from being a counselor.