14 Things That All Summer Camp Counselors Relate To, Get The S'mores Ready

14 Things That All Summer Camp Counselors Relate To, Get The S'mores Ready

"I can't believe I'm getting paid to do this."
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Friendship bracelets, long hikes, face paint. These are all things that make you think of summer camp. But, as all camp counselors know, there are many unconventional things that go along with working outside with children 24/7. Here are just a few summer camp things that make camp counselors go, "I can't believe I'm getting paid to do this."

1. Singing silly songs with hand motions for every word

You really didn't mind making a fool of yourself, but there's the camper-favorite song you can't stand to hear one more time...it was probably about a bear. Or a worm. Or a moose.

2. Cleaning up bodily fluids that are not your own

Each counselor was assigned a different bodily fluid based on what they could handle. "Okay Jenny, if you'll get the puke, I can handle the bed-wetting accident and we'll leave Elizabeth with any fecal matter."

3. Answering stupid questions was at least 75% of your job

Whoever said "There are no dumb questions" has obviously never heard a camper ask if tigers are a threat in the woods of South Alabama.

4. Listening to campers' rambling stories was the other 25%

Uhuh.... uhuh..... uhuhhhhhh.

5. You are the Picasso of glitter and sequins

Does your team flag need a little reboot? Throw some sequins on that sucker! Need a way to remember which walkie talkie is yours? Glitter duct tape should do the trick! In a job full of dirt and dust and sweat, sparkles are essential to your well-being. Plus, the campers think you're artsy and mysterious, so that's a plus.

6. Being a camp counselor becomes a customer service job every drop-off/pick-up day

Crazy moms were your specialty. You could calm all their irrational fears in two minutes flat. "No, Mrs. Parker, we will not force your sweet Katie to eat peanut butter if she is allergic to it."

7. Having a favorite camper...even though you're not supposed to

They're just like a little version of you, and you want to make the younger you happy, so you take this precious child under your wing.

8. Not having your phone for two months is a life-changing experience

You almost don't want to open your phone on your off-time...almost.

9. Speaking in a code to leave the campers clueless

There was a different code word for every semi-dangerous animal in the area. Snakes, snapping turtles, big spiders, you name it! You could also communicate via hand signals with precision! Just a few motions and the staff member across the rec field knew exactly what you were talking about.

10. You truly cherished all those little gifts from campers

11. Seeing your campers in a non-camp environment is just weird

"You go to the grocery store TOO? Why aren't you wearing dirty Sketchers and 15 friendship bracelets?"

12. You could craft the most outrageous of costumes in seconds

Making costumes for skits was like the "Chopped" of summer camp. You have a cowboy hat, fairy wings and five yards of what looks like a stained bedsheet. What you do with the materials you have been given is up to you. (Oh, and the natives are getting restless, so you have 30 seconds.)

13. The hardest goodbyes are to your co-workers on the last day

You knew it couldn't be this way forever...so why did you sign up for this inevitable heartache? Because meeting the person you can sit on a rock-hard bunk bed and cry with at 2 a.m. was worth it.

14. Coming to the realization that you are making a lifelong difference for hundreds of children

You are truly grateful for every child you had an interaction with and prayed each night that you would be a positive influence for your campers.

Being a camp counselor is nowhere near an easy job, but it was totally worth every sting, bite and cut on your body to be a role model for someone who looks up to you. It was the highlight of your year to invest time and energy into someone else besides you. You never want camp to end, but understand that the skills you learn on staff should be beautifully put to use in your every day life.

Cover Image Credit: Ella Pitman

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The Truth About Young Marriage

Different doesn't mean wrong.
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When I was a kid, I had an exact picture in my mind of what my life was going to look like. I was definitely not the kind of girl who would get married young, before the age of 25, at least.

And let me tell you, I was just as judgmental as that sentence sounds.

I could not wrap my head around people making life-long commitments before they even had an established life. It’s not my fault that I thought this way, because the majority opinion about young marriage in today’s society is not a supportive one. Over the years, it has become the norm to put off marriage until you have an education and an established career. Basically, this means you put off marriage until you learn how to be an adult, instead of using marriage as a foundation to launch into adulthood.

When young couples get married, people will assume that you are having a baby, and they will say that you’re throwing your life away — it’s inevitable.

It’s safe to say that my perspective changed once I signed my marriage certificate at the age of 18. Although marriage is not always easy and getting married at such a young age definitely sets you up for some extra challenges, there is something to be said about entering into marriage and adulthood at the same time.

SEE ALSO: Finding A Husband In College

Getting married young does not mean giving up your dreams. It means having someone dream your dreams with you. When you get lost along the way, and your dreams and goals seem out of reach, it’s having someone there to point you in the right direction and show you the way back. Despite what people are going to tell you, it definitely doesn’t mean that you are going to miss out on all the experiences life has to offer. It simply means that you get to share all of these great adventures with the person you love most in the world.

And trust me, there is nothing better than that. It doesn’t mean that you are already grown up, it means that you have someone to grow with.

You have someone to stick with you through anything from college classes and changing bodies to negative bank account balances.

You have someone to sit on your used furniture with and talk about what you want to do and who you want to be someday.

Then, when someday comes, you get to look back on all of that and realize what a blessing it is to watch someone grow. Even after just one year of marriage, I look back and I am incredibly proud of my husband. I’m proud of the person he has become, and I’m proud of what we have accomplished together. I can’t wait to see what the rest of our lives have in store for us.

“You can drive at 16, go to war at 18, drink at 21, and retire at 65. So who can say what age you have to be to find your one true love?" — One Tree Hill
Cover Image Credit: Sara Donnelli Photography

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My First Year Of College Wasn’t Great And That’s Okay

I didn’t adjust as well as I thought I would, but I made it.

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Everyone always raves about how much they loved their freshman year of college. The independence, the parties, meeting all these new people from different places. It's a big milestone in your life. But not everyone has an amazing first year. And I'm one of those people.

Don't get me wrong. I was so excited about college. Finally getting to be on my own, experiencing all these new things. I even met people in my class before we moved in. And the first month was a blast...but then it wasn't anymore.

Eventually, I slid into this “funk", you could say. I was depressed. I never wanted to leave my bed. Some nights, I didn't even wanna eat dinner. And soon, my friends noticed but soon just stopped inviting me out.

At first, they still would, even though the answer was always no. But I guess they got bored and tired of me always saying no.

Soon, I didn't feel like I even had any friends and at one point, I even found myself debating going home to avoid being alone in my room all weekend. I would force myself to make plans, but found myself not wanting to go out because I got ignored every time I did. It wasn't worth it.

I was homesick, isolated, and just wanted to fit in.

When the year finally came to an end, I couldn't be happier. But now that it is over and I'm home, I realize how much I miss the people that were there for me. The people that came into my life unexpectedly, but it was hard for me to really recognize they care about me.

I absolutely hated my freshman year of college. Yeah, it started out good and I found my sorority, but I never felt like I was wanted anywhere. I felt so alone. I became so incredibly isolated and distant and it took a drastic toll on me as a person.

But in spite of all that, I realize that maybe that's how it was supposed to happen. Because I'm a firm believer that everything happens for a reason and it will all play out.

This being said, my first year might not have been what I thought or hoped for. But I can truly say I am excited to see what my next year holds.

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