25 Signs You Were A Summer Camp Kid

Once a camp kid, always a camp kid. While your friends at school might have counted down the days until the last day of school, you always counted down to the first day of camp. You spent June anxiously awaiting your cabin assignment, printing out packing lists off your camp’s website, and instant messaging all your friends from last summer. After five hours on the camp bus, you arrived at a magical land where you’d proceed to have the best time of your life… until next summer, that is.
Camp never really leaves you. (In fact, you still have that small scar on your finger from The Stained Glass Incident of 2003.) Years later, here’s how you know you have a life-long obsession with summer camp.

1. You’re a pro at Six Degrees of Camp. Your roommate’s friend from high school lived next door to your camp best friend and is in the same fraternity as your favorite counselor’s little brother. You gleaned all that information within the first five minutes of introducing yourselves.

2. You’re super connected. Upon meeting a mutual friend of your camp friend, you suggest you Snapchat her a selfie and caption it, “Small world, Sam and I just met!”

3. You still wear your camp sweatshirt to bed. Good thing you bought it oversized in 2002. It’s your oldest piece of clothing and you’ll never throw it out.

4. Friendship bracelets were a form of social currency. “OMG, did you make that friendship bracelet? Will you make me one just like that if I promise to be your swim buddy during pool time? Red, pink, and blue thread, please.”

5. Having a camp boyfriend/girlfriend made you instantly cool back then. You might have even written “RA + JS 2007” on the frame of your bunk bed.

6. “I live 10 months out of the year for two.” This was your go-to away message, probably followed with the initials of all your camp besties.

7. You know a choreographed dance routine to at least one of the following: “Toxic,” “Hips Don’t Lie,” or “Lip Gloss.” And you might even have a video of you performing it lingering on somewhere on MySpace.

8 When you got a Facebook, you set your zip code to your camp’s zip code. And maybe you forgot to change it until you got to college.

9. No food can ever compare to what your camp chef made. During the school year, you frequently said, “Mom, can you make dinner like Lillian does? I mean, your cooking is fine, but I miss dinner at camp…” (Anyone who churns out meals for 400 people three times a day deserves an Olympic medal. Just saying.)

10. You went back as a CIT and then a counselor. As a camper, you always wondered where your counselors went during their time off. When you grew up, you figured it out… and you also figured out how to ward off those 7 a.m. hangovers.

11. Counselor training taught you important skills you still use today. Back then, you handled that kid’s tantrum during volleyball class like a champ. Today, you apply those same skills to taking care of the crying, vomiting, drunk girl at parties.

12. You have a weakness for guys who play the acoustic guitar. You can trace this back to that hot counselor Joey who always played “Wonderwall” around the camp fire.

13. Your camp friends still talk about planning a reunion. This may or may not ever happen, but you’ll make a big deal about it on a multi-way Facebook chat for a few days every other year.

14. If you didn’t roll the waistband of your Soffe shorts at least twice, you might as well have committed social suicide. And you were extra cool if you matched your Soffes to your Floatie flip-flops or Havaianas.

15. You never left your cabin without your Crazy Creek. As if you’d sit directly on the grass?

16. You consider your camp directors your second set of parents. Your real parents couldn’t write recommendation letters to include with your college applications, but your camp directors totally could (and did).

17. You know all the lyrics and hand motions to your favorite camp song. You could be 80 years old and still remember that Princess Pat’s rickadandoo is red and gold.

18. Homesickness in college was never a problem. You and your parents got comfortable with the long-distance thing a decade ago.

19. Greek life is innately appealing to you. Camp instilled a deep love of community and crazy traditions in you at a young age.

20. You want to move to Windsor Court after college. Eight summers of living with all your best friends means you can’t imagine living anywhere else. An entire building full of twenty-something Nice Jewish Boys and Girls with a half-dozen sushi and fro-yo spots within three blocks? Sign me up.

21. Nudity isn’t a big deal. There’s probably nothing more traumatic than changing in front of a dozen other 13-year-olds twice a day for an entire summer. If you can make it through that, you can saunter proudly through your gym’s locker room, thank you very much.

22. Your parents’ house is decorated with slightly misshapen, handmade art. They never had the heart to throw out your stained glass, rug-hooking, or paper mâché projects.

23. You’re good at making small talk with strangers. Thanks to years of playing ice-breakers and improv games in your theater class. (“Okay, two truths and a lie: my favorite color is green, Orlando Bloom is my celebrity crush, and I’m double-jointed. Guess which one I made up?”)

24. You instantly recognize that smell. Once or twice a year, you’ll step into a bookstore, your dentist’s office, a restaurant that just opened up near campus — the farthest possible place from camp, wherever that may be — and immediately be confronted with a woodsy, grassy scent that smells just like camp.

25. Even if you haven’t seen them in years, you have an irrational love for your camp friends. Because there’s nothing like bonding over mosquito bites and cabin chores to bond friends for life. TC mark

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