1. You get the chance to form relationships with your campers that will be the most unique and wonderful friendships you could ever possibly have. There is something so incredibly special about that bond, that for me, I still keep in contact with my camper’s years later.
2. There will be nights where you and your cabin will be up to 2 a.m., either giggling about camp crushes, crying together after some serious venting, or dancing around to some Relient K’s “Sadie Hawkins Dance”. They will be some of your greatest memories.
3. Being covered in dirt and sand becomes, believe it or not, an incredibly positive experience. Giving up your inhibitions and embracing the outdoors is not only incredibly fun and freeing, but sets an example for your campers to join in and fully experience summer camp!
4. The camp traditions will always be something to look forward to. Whether it’s a round of Pirates, a Chipwhich from the snack shop, watching a camper catch the elusive Wompus, or Pretzel roll sandwiches on a Friday afternoon, nothing beats the camp classics.
5. You get to spend your days playing around with campers. It’s the only job where it’s encouraged to dress in costume for night game skits, go crazy at the snack shop, or get incredibly competitive about a round of ultimate Frisbee. Nothing beats feeling like a camper again yourself!
6. There will always be a “punishing the counselor” prize for the campers doing something right. It might be as simple as covering your counselor in shaving cream, or being chosen for a proper Shake-and-bake. While they might not seem all that pleasant, it reminds you how much the campers really do actually like you. Plus, they really enjoy it. Seriously.
7. The campers look up to you. They’ll ask you to do their hair and makeup for service, or maybe ask for your advice for an outfit. If you have some sort of “cool camp skill”, like bracelet making or knowing how to properly do the cup song, they’ll ask you to teach it to them. And they’ll be doing it all week.
8. You’ll go home with a lot of tie-dye. Every week pretty much does some sort of tie-dye craft, so it’s always best to pack some white t-shirts for this exact purpose.
9. There will be so many stories starting with “This one time, at camp…,” and they will be your fondest memories. The summers I’ve spent at camp are incredibly rewarding.
10. You master the art of two minute showers. When there are twenty girls and three showers and forty-five minutes to clean-up for dinner, you realize how quickly you can actually get read after all the campers are showered.
11. You’ll probably get the best tan-lines. Farmers tan? Check. Shorts tan? Check. Headband tan? Check. Flip-flop tan? Check. It’s an inevitable truth, sadly. But the tan-line competitions are real.
12. You get to spend your week or summer separated from the outside world and technology. Like a bubble, this is one of the best experiences. Forming relationships and spending time away from social media and technology teaches is an experience that we should practice regularly. It’s nice to actually connect with the people right in front of you interpersonally. (Seriously, you should try it.)
13. When you drive onto camp property, you feel at home. While some people may claim that Disney World holds the title of being the happiest place in the world, clearly, they’ve never been to camp. There is no better feeling in the world than seeing the camp sign appear up ahead!
14. The friendships you make with your fellow staff become lifelong friendships. They are the greatest friends because you understand each other completely.
15. You can learn some of life’s most important lessons from campers. While they may be younger than you, your campers will have had experiences that you’ve never even dreamed of. You come to not only respect and love them, but you begin to admire and look up to them for everything they’ve overcome.
16. It’s rewarding to have a camper who is incredibly homesick at the beginning of the week, only to see them never want to leave come Saturday. They’ve come to love this place as much as you do, and that’s a wonderful thing.
17. You’ll learn the saddest day of the year is the day that camp ends. You’ll cry when you hug your camper’s goodbye, and think that it’ll probably be another year until you see them again. You think of how much they’ve changed over the week, and how much they’ve changed you.
18. You learn to appreciate early mornings. Sometimes, there is nothing better than waking up a little earlier to catch the sunrise over the lake in silence. There’s a peace that comes to those quiet mornings.
19. You also learn to appreciate sleeping in and any chance you can take a nap – even if it’s only for five minutes. With some nights of only getting five hours of sleep, sleep in day feels like Christmas (even if it’s only a half hour of extra sleep!)
20. You’ll never be the same.