8 Things That Happen When You're A USA Summer Camp Counselor
Those of you that know me (or have been following this blog long enough) know that I am a little obsessed with working at a summer camp.
People constantly ask me "Why do you do it?" "When are you going to get a real job?" "Are you gonna stay home this summer instead?"
My answer is "because I love it" "It is a real job so stfu" and "Hell no!"
We have a saying at my camp: On the outside looking in, you can't understand it and on the inside looking out you can't explain it. And I am sure this goes for all camp counselors, not just those at my camp (shoutout to my Vegans though!)
So here is one for my fellow campies worldwide; if these don't ring true to you, you're probably doing it wrong...
1) Camp Stash
You can't bear to part with a single one of your 6396739275 camp shirts and you wear them with pride every chance you get (much to the annoyance/dismay of your home friends). They may even have their own special place in your closet.
2) No Phone? No problem!
Camp life sends you into a sort of bubble, one that cuts you off almost completely from the outside world. And you love it. Back home, you are bombarded by reality 24/7 so getting away from it all feels amazing. Besides, camp has way too much fun stuff to offer to even give you a chance to think about your phone. Learning to function without technology is a great life skill I think everyone should try once in a while. You might surprise yourself with how productive you can be when you're not glued to a screen. Although Mum/Dad/SO would probably benefit from a "hi, I haven't been eaten by a bear yet" text once in a while...
3) Your best friends live all over the world
Camp introduces you to the most incredible people. Living in such close quarters with people for so long, you're bound to develop a bond but nothing quite prepares you for how close you get to the people that become your summer family. There is nothing worse than that final tearful goodbye on the last morning as one of you boards a bus and you don't know when you will see each other next. But it is always a WHEN and never an IF. The beauty of camp and international staff is that you will pretty much always have a place to stay whenever you want to visit their hometown/country. Winning! And until then, Facetime!!
4) Parenting Practice
Thanks to camp becoming a parent is way, way, WAY down your list of things you want to do. Like way down. Nothing makes you realise you are not ready for parenthood more than spending 7 weeks with eleven 12-year-old girls. Being a camp counselor is like a crash course in parenting. Be prepared for lice treatments, pre-social drama, picky eaters, late nights where the kids don't want to sleep, early mornings when the kids don't want to wake up, tummy aches, blocked toilets and everything inbetween. You come home 100% certain that you don't want kids anytime in the near future but you can bet your ass that 4 weeks from now you will be counting down the days until you get to go back because those kids become your babies, you feel pride at their accomplishments, you feel their pain when they are sad and you feel totally lost without them when they are gone at the end of the summer. Camp parenting gets you right in the feels.
5) Communication Skills
Your non-verbal communication skills become second to none when you work at a camp. You and your co's will be able to have entire conversations with just a look. You will be able to tell when you need to switch in with them, when they need a break, when they need a hug and when they need a treat from your secret chocolate stash.
6) Care packages
Speaking of secret chocolate stashes, getting care packages from home can make your entire week! S'mores are great but have you ever tried them with Galaxy?? Mind. Blowing.
Mail from home turns even the most committed counselors in to a candy cartel and all of a sudden everyone wants to be your best friend (even more than normal). A box of chocolate and teabags has never been so comforting.
7) Eternal tiredness
You have never known tiredness until you have been a camp counselor. And you will develop a talent for falling asleep anywhere and everywhere you can. Wooden floors have never felt so good. Camp is without a doubt the hardest and most physically draining job you will ever have, but it is also the most rewarding.
From the minute you get home to the minute you get back, camp is on your brain. It's crazy to think that it can become such a big part of your life after such a short period of time but it does. It becomes a second home, one that you miss all the time and that you are reminded of through hundreds of little things. Your instagram gets taken over by endless #tbt posts and countdowns and you find yourself spending rainy days in the office reminiscing of lazy Sunday's by the lake in the sunshine. You have camp-sickness, plain and simple. Summer cannot come fast enough but until then, live 10 for 2.