31 Things Only Your Summer Camp Friends Will Understand

Flickr / Ben Ferenchak
Flickr / Ben Ferenchak

1. You can meet up with a camp friend as an adult and start a conversation as if you were still 13 years old, sitting around a campfire eating s’mores. You’ll still discuss the gorgeous CITs you worshipped as campers that you lined up to stare at during color war sing practice or its equivalent.

2. You have a lifelong affection for square, soggy pizza, Freihofer’s chocolate chip cookies, tacos and the Entenmann’s yellow cake with chocolate icing when it was someone’s birthday. To this day, plums, peaches and nectarines remind you of camp snack time.

3. It was essential to have a great pair of tennis sneakers that you wore every single day, no matter how dirty they became. Your socks could be black by the end of the day (as were any boogers in your nose) and the farmer’s tan on your ankles was legendary.

4. The last person to put their finger to their nose during lunchtime got screwed with sponging down the table or bringing back the dirty dishes to the kitchen. To this day, if you see anyone put their finger anywhere near his nose, you automatically do the same.

5. Having nylon soccer shorts was essential. You alternated these with spandex and had them in every neon color of the rainbow.

6. It is perfectly acceptable social behavior at camp to make out in a parking lot, the side of the road, a cemetery, a tennis court, an arts and crafts shack, behind a bunk, back stage of a theater, behind a tree, a golf course, a teepee, a tennis shed, a deserted bunk, a weight room, the back of a bus or next to a hockey arena, if the mood strikes and you can get away with it.

7. It’s also perfectly acceptable to sit around with your bunkmates before lights out wearing nothing but a bra to talk about every single guy you might possibly have a crush on. If you meet up with your bunkmates again as adults, this is still how you’d spend the night.

8. You can play softball, basketball, soccer, floor hockey and lacrosse all in one day, wearing the same shirt and sweating like a pig and it’s worn like badge of honor. Your biggest decision of the day is who your buddy will be for group swim.

9. There is a 100% chance that if you are a female camper you will hold hands multiple times a day with your bunkmates while singing songs on your walk over to any activity. You can do this past the age of 16 at camp and it’s still considered normal behavior.

10. You regularly push beds together and sleep with multiple people shoved together and have it not be deemed a sexual activity.

11. You are open to discussing anything and everything from your crazy family members, to getting to second base to your outty belly button and know you won’t be judged.

12. At some point during your camp experience, you had the soundtrack from Rent, The Lion King, Pink Floyd or Madonna’s Greatest Hits playing repeatedly in your bunk on a boom box plugged into the wall.

13. You never changed your sheets as often or made your bed as perfectly as you did in camp.

14. You shared everything with your camp friends – jeans, shoes, t-shirts, earrings, hair accessories, Victoria’s Secret underwear, pajamas, boyfriends and even lice.

15. Every time you smell freshly shampooed, wet hair or certain soaps, you think of evening line-up. Especially the scent of Pantene, Finesse, Aussie, Salon Selectives and Lever 2000 bar soap. You waited in line to shower. You carried a bucket that contained your bath products and always wore your flip-flops.

16. You doused yourself with Malibu Musk or White Musk perfume oil from the Body Shop. The guys all wore Drakkar Noir, Fahrenheit or CKOne.

17. You were an expert lanyard maker and mastered box, barrel and cobra stitch with supreme ease. You became a master of archery way before reading The Hunger Games. If you had Australian staff members, then you learned to play and love cricket.

18. You made several trips to the camp’s Health Center including one for pink eye, one to gargle salt water when a cold came on and a third just to hang out in the waiting room with a friend who needed something.

19. The cleanliness of your bunk was determined by a sophisticated work wheel made out of construction paper. You and your bunkmates went to town every single day like Cinderella – sweeping, being the “dustpan” and going on “sink” duty.

20. You went to a shed or shack of some sort to collect your bunk’s toilet paper for the week and other cleaning products. A trip to the lost and found was a social hangout. You spent a good chunk of the week sorting through plastic laundry bins and reading name labels on other people’s underwear when they came back from getting cleaned.

21. Nothing got you more excited than flirting with a boy during canteen. If he challenged you to ping pong or a game of H.O.R.S.E., you knew that he liked you. There was nothing like sitting on the basketball bleachers, under the lights on a clear, starlit night during canteen with your friends, drinking your cup of soda with a bag of chips.

22. You painted and created multiple pottery products that you never used once. You knew how to use a clamp for sanding down random wooden objects. Your neck always sported some sort of swirly Fimo bead necklace on a black string.

23. You wrote tons of letters on beautifully printed stationery. You plastered your bunk walls with pictures of friends back home and posters of teen heartthrobs. You hid pieces of candy in your tampon boxes and filled your non see-through water bottles with iced tea mix.

24. You knew 25 different versions of cheers for your color war team and were constantly screamed at to sing louder and with more spirit. This drove you crazy because no matter how hard you screamed or cheered, it was never enough and it had no effect on how your team actually did.

25. You were taught a half dozen camp songs that trained you to love your camp for life, no matter what and that basically sounded like your parents paid a lot of money for you to join a cult.

26. You loved the half staffed days for your ability to sleep in a couple hours later. You loved this even more as a staff member, especially when out late drinking until curfew.

27. You thought the theater shows in camp were the best entertainment you’d ever seen and kind of had a crush on every lead actor and actress after they performed. You always dreamed of being cast as “Annie” in Annie and “Sandy” in Grease, but settled to be a member of the chorus.

28. You never remember having as much fun as the 36 hours of a staff day off. Being a staff member remains one of your most challenging and enjoyable jobs that you’ll ever have.

29. If you run into a fellow, former co-camper as an adult and that former camper is within five years of your own age, it’s entirely possible to become instant friends, even if you never actually spoke at camp.

30. The campers that you were a staff member for always seemed significantly younger while at camp, but when you are an adult, you realize that they were, on average, only 3-4 years younger and often start getting married and having babies before you.

31. You immediately miss being a camper the day you become a staff member. You miss being anything related to camp, the day you realize that you’ll never go back as either a camper or a staff member. You dream about camp as an adult, talk about it and relive camp stories to whoever will listen. People who don’t go to camp have no idea what you’re talking about and find it all a bit annoying and cultish. Then you realize that camp is kind of cultish, but you’re ok with that. TC mark

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