The 10 absolute best things about working at a summer camp
I’ve been lucky enough to work at the other side of the pond for two consecutive summers. This year I won’t make it there and the longing feeling struck me already.
Here the 10 reasons why I think working as a camp counselor is just the best job ever:
1 ) The scenery is just breathtaking
Most people don’t get to spend that much time in the nature nowadays. I don’t. Waking up at the fresh air coming through the windows, the long summer days playing sports outdoors, the sun setting behind the tree tops and the chilly nights sitting around the bonfire, that’s all you get at camp.
2 ) Spending time away from your phone
It’s just crazy how dependant we are on them, but if there’s a place where I forget I’ve got one, that’s camp. Why’d you be texting or swiping through Instagram stories when you can be creating a whirlpool at the pool, racing kayaks at the lake, learning how to play cornhole or cheering on a rock-paper-scissors championship.
3 ) The on-duty nights…
One of the best memories I have from camp was that day when I was telling my campers a made-up story, and stopped after I realised they were all already sleeping. Ten minutes later, one of them was feeling homesick, he stood by my bed and asked me to continue the story for him. I sat by his bed and went on until he passed out. That moment I realised how we, the counselors, were family to our campers, and so were they to me. Every night after my campers fell asleep I felt so rewarded and grateful to be there.
4) … and the off-duty nights
And of course I won’t say I wasn’t longing for the nights out. When you are a counselor 24/7, you learn to appreciate every single minute with your already grown-up counselor friends. Having a tea by the fire, getting to ‘study hard’ at the ‘so-called library’ or watching one of the most amazing night skies I’ve ever seen from the top of camp were the most precious rewards to so many ours of active dedication.
5 ) The 4th of July
From the eyes of an outsider, getting to spend the 4th of July in the USA is something you don’t easily forget. The excitement is as high as it get’s, from the top of the morning when the girls camp make their appearence, loudly waking up everyone in their red, white and blue costumes. The doughnuts for breakfast, the inflatables and games by the pool, and the fireworks when the night falls. The perfect picture of a celebration day.
6 ) The S’mores!
Before camp I didn’t even know they existed, and I remember how clumsy I was the first time I tried to assemble one. Now their taste and smell mean camp to me, and not only because they are delicious but because of all the magic around them, the older campers helping the younger ones roast them, all the different techniques and the golden color before eating them.
7 ) ‘The Morning Show’
Ok, the US nails this, seriously. I’ve never seen people waking up so strong anywhere else. They raise the flag and set up all excitement that’s to come during the journey. Everybody participates, one shouts sunscreen!, the other shouts water!, keep in mind to be hidrated, counselors get all worked up, campers listen, it’s all set for another great day, morning meds, breakfast, go!
8 ) You do things you thought you weren’t able to
Camp somehow takes you out of your comfort zone. You try new sports, you get artsy and paint something or do some woodwork, you make up a new dance move or bring your leadership skills to the next level to solve complicated situations between campers. You meet a lot of new and very different people, you learn how to understand campers and what worries them. You build things and relationships at the same time.
9 ) The last few days of camp
I loved and hated the atmosphere during the last week of camp. Camp ends strong, with the Color War, the Banquet, and many other exciting events. But you can’t help but think those are the last days of summer, the last days before you, the campers, and counselors, with who you established such deep bonds, will say goodbye eventually. The last night is critical, when girls camp light candles around the pool and sing to the end of camp.
10 ) You get a second family forever
Sharing is caring, they say. After living under the same ceiling, eating at the same table, and brushing your teeth on the same sink every day for 50 days and 50 nights, you get the closest thing to a family you’ll ever get. You get to know all your camper’s hangups and to read their facial expressions. You love when they read quietly on their beds, you know who’s sleep-talking on the middle of the night, you understand their fights, and know the turn key that calms them down. You’ve learned from your co-counselors how to deal with certain situations. You get pissed sometimes, but at the end of the day, the bunk is your family and you love everyone as they are.
Camp’s been one of the best journeys in my life. Thanks for being part of it.