1. You will get more sleep in one weekend off than an entire week working
When you work with kids of all ages, it might as well be a 24/7 job or AT LEAST a 19-hour shift. Everything you do requires a hike. Every activity requires singing at the top of your lungs, and naps might as well be a foreign concept. Weekends will never feel as good as they do in a twin size bunk-bed after a week of nonstop work.
2. Peanut butter is a sin
Too many kids have too many allergies, so, therefore, all tree nut products and those made in a factory containing nut products are now considered to be contraband. You will leave camp at the end of the summer with an oddly specific knowledge of every company that also produces peanuts and a far too developed understanding of nutrition labels. You also will crave a good pb&j like you didn't just eat one every single day for the past 12 years of your public school career.
3. Any sickness turns into the plague
With so many kids and staff in such close quarters, if one person is sick, it might as well be the next epidemic. No matter what it is, within 24 hours, everyone will have it. The infirmary will have more people in it than most cabins do, and campers will know the nurse's name better than their counselors' at some point during the week.
4. Air Conditioning is a LUXURY
A big fan in the ceiling is the closest you will get to air conditioning and it only works at night. Your entire day is spent outside and drinking tap water from the water fountain is the closest you get to cooling down. Anytime you spend in the dining hall or camp store is the best part of your day, and you will come up with any excuse to stay in the AC as long as possible.
5. No cell phone use might as well be the 11th Commandment
Working at camp focused on a screen-free environment for kids to grow and have fun means that no matter your authority, no staff member is above this rule- especially when campers are around which is always. You won't know what meme is circulating twitter or what your friend backpacking through Europe is posting on social media, but you will know all the camp drama.
6. You won't know anything that has happened on the news in weeks, but you will know every word to 50 repeat-after-me and do-as-I-do songs
What is camp with a song to sing after every meal, on every hike, and across all of camp. You will know every single style of boom chicka boom. You will also get down to Disco every hour like its the 70's and spend too much of your time trying to figure out what language Flea Fly actually counts as.
At the end of the summer, you will have missed political altercations, natural disasters, national tragedies, and all the sports drama to mess up your fantasy teams and bets for the next year, but you will have an over the top supply of knowledge on Tarzan's Tan, Where the Party's at, the Moose's Juice, and a million other songs that will sound absolutely crazy to anyone else.
7. You won't know the difference between what's a tan and what's dirt.
When you spend all day outside in the woods it really could go either way.
8. You never knew it was legal to be paid less than minimum wage until now
You get paid per summer or per session instead of by the hour, don't calculate your hourly wage; It hurts. You would probably make more money running a lemonade stand in your front yard, but somehow, you convince yourself the experience is worth it- or at least the free dining hall food.
9. Half the air you breathe in is sunscreen and the other half is bug spray
Every pool time or hike you have to mentally prepare yourself to be suffocated by whatever toxic fumes campers are bathing in all around you. While you, on the other hand, have more bug bites than every kid's combined and have shoulders constantly two shades pinker/darker than the rest of your one-piece swimsuit tan line.
10. A "Chaco Tan" becomes more important than any of your previous accomplishments
Whether you just graduated high school, made the Dean's list, or got your dream internship, for two months, nothing is more satisfying than those three tan lines on your feet that will probably fade completely your first month back in the real world.
11. You will never need to work out your calves again
The constant stairs and mountain climbing will have your legs looking like Hulk Hogan's by the end of the summer while your arms will continue to look like the dining hall's spaghetti noodles.
12. You forgot what foreign food tastes like
You can't remember the last time you had sushi or nachos, but you have had at least 17 corn dogs and 42 chicken tenders this summer. The dining hall food will have you craving food you haven't eaten in years but you have had enough sandwiches and pizza to last you a lifetime.
13. You are the epitome of Goodwill style
Your clothing only consists of thrift store t-shirts and off-brand running shorts. You can't remember the last time you wore normal clothes much less dressed up. You didn't even pack any clothing items that belong on a hanger, and all of your outfits have at least one stain on them by the end of the day. Is it tie-dye? Is it paint? Is it fruit punch? Yes.
14. Your entire playlist consist of 2000s pop and Disney soundtracks
You haven't heard Drake's new album- or anyone else's for that matter, but you know every single note of every clean pop song that has come out in the past 20 years. Frozen stays on repeat with the casual incorporation of Moana on occasion. You have heard more Jesse McCartney now than you did in 2006, and you have almost forgotten every rap lyric you intentionally forced yourself to memorize.
15. You know more about the people you met a week ago than those you've known for years
When spending every hour of your life with the same people, you get to know everything about them. Camp friends become a cult of fast friendships. Suddenly, all your social media platforms consist of only camp people, everyone has the same Instagram bio, and everyone knows each other's drama. Friendship bracelets might as well be a colorful friendship contract because they're the real deal. You will get closer to your "coworkers" faster than anyone else and love them even more.
Though working at camp is an extremely exhausting job, it is one of the most rewarding. Having such an instrumental part in the lives of so many staff members and campers cannot compare to any $7.25 an hour customer service job. As tiring and frustrating as it all can be, camp becomes more of a home than a workplace and has built more lasting friendships and lifelong skills than I could have ever imagined. CHO BOI !!!!