Working at a summer camp was both the best and hardest job I've ever done. On the outside it may look like all there is to camp is eating lots of s'mores and singing camp songs around a campfire, but as anyone that's ever worked at a summer camp knows, it's so much more than that. No one would ever think the best experience of your life would push you to your limits, both physically and mentally.
The phrase "fake it until you make you it" becomes your daily motto. On a good day, you run on about five hours of sleep, every day for eight to 12 weeks. The lack of sleep makes you feel like a zombie, but you can't let the kids see. You just have to plaster on that smile and sing camp songs at the top of your lungs until you're too tired and fatigued to properly function. Those two or three days between new camp weeks are spent in bed catching up on all the lack of sleep.
I don’t think anyone who hasn’t worked at a summer camp would understand what it’s like to sing the same songs multiple times a day. Don’t get me wrong, I love camp songs and have my favorites, but the kids will have a favorite that you will have to sing on repeat like a broken record. It’s even worse when you lose your voice during the first week and still have to somehow sing. The show must go on whether you can’t.
Two concepts that kids cannot grasp are personal space and privacy. Friends would laugh when I told them that kids see everything, but they’ve also never been to summer camp. That piece of gum you tried to discretely pop in your mouth will be seen by every single camper in your class, no matter how hard you try to hide it. The lack of privacy comes along with the lack of personal space. It was cute when a camper would get attached to you but it would also make your job twice as hard. Even going to the bathroom would be a struggle with having five campers wanting to go with you.
Even with all the ups and downs that come with working at a summer camp I wouldn’t have traded it for the world. I made great friends, worked with kids, and learned so many things about myself. So here is to the many amazing summers I spent at camp.