camp counselor life

I want to feel the butterflies in my stomach as the first campers come racing towards my cabin, excited to start the week. I want to have an icy cold jump in the pool as my alarm clock. I want to get to know the quiet kid and be able to see her discover something about herself that even she didn’t know. I want to act like a goofball and dress up in ridiculous outfits and still be seen as a role-model. I want to embrace my inner child and expand my creativity.

I want to feel the burn of my muscles and the heaviness of my eyes after a full day of fun and excitement. I want to sit with my campers through the bad times and the good, be both a shoulder to cry on and a friend to share stories with. I want to have someone depend on me, someone to remind me that I have worth and I am needed. I want to hug my friends for as long as we need to, forgetting about the sweat and dirt and just feel at home in their arms. I want to have the smell of campfire smoke and bug spray woven into every article of clothing that I own.

I want to wade waist deep into the creek and help my campers discover the thrill of holding a crayfish in their hands for the first time. I want to sit outside at night with my friends, huddled together for warmth and trying not to wake up nearby cabins with our laughter. I want to feel the safest, healthiest and most supported I have ever felt despite being exhausted and dripping with sweat at any moment. I want to forget about ‘the real world’ for a while. I want to make my campers happy and share some of my passion with them.

I want to know I’m loved. I want to feel alive again. I want to be at camp.

                              A Camp Counselor’s Blessing

     May your heart remain wild, even though you spend 9 months in the city.

        May you remember the joy, and why you became a camp counselor.

           May you always have a clean pair of socks & a comfy sweatshirt.

      May you fires burn bright, your night skies stay clear, and your compass
                                                 point you true.

                                       May you always stand tall.

                         And may you never forget the magic of camp.

Walking into the woods at camp and thinking, ‘I am home’
A Counselor's Resolutions

aka all my new year’s resolutions are based around being my campy self more often:

1. I will exercise
At camp I jog places, run every day during games, swim, ride my bike, lead songs that are basically workouts, and just walk everywhere. I am capable of doing so much more in the off-season, and I know that! Though morning yoga can replace Alive Awake Alert :)

2. I will smile
I will fake a smile when I walk into situations at work that I’m not at all excited about. I will smile at everyone I walk by. And when I whine internally about it being dumb I will sing myself a song about smiling and add in some non camp appropriate lyrics because I’m being a real butthole about life.

3. I will get my crap together
At camp my bunk is neat, dirty clothes washed because I know I’m on a tight schedule, and my bag is always prepared. I know the schedule, I know what’s next, and I’ve planned ahead. In 2016 I want to feel that put together every day and less like I’m a mess in the mornings.
3b. I will keep organizing my stuff using the Konmari method, which I started at an inconvenient time in November and haven’t gotten far though. More simple life = less mess. At camp I live without most of my stuff and am better than just fine!

4. I will be more fun
More upbeat even after long days, more willing to go on adventurers, and always willing to be silly even when others look ready to fall asleep. It makes life more exciting, and me a happier person.

5. I will spend more time in nature
I live by so many beautiful places that I don’t ever visit, and that needs to change. Plus, hikes help with being more active :)

helpful skills for the camp counselor

Everyone loves it when the counselors can play the guitar at campfire singalongs!

If you’re comfortable singing in front of groups, it’s a great skill to have in leading campers in songs.

A great skill to have is being able to quickly grab some materials and think up a fun craft with them. This can be anything like friendship bracelets, modge podge, pressed leaves, or crocheting.

Knowing the local plant life can be a fun way to teach campers a little about their surroundings.

Needing skills like this depends on the camp, but knowing the basics of things like archery or shooting BB guns means you can assist or even teach campers in these areas.

Even if you don’t know any waterfront activities well enough to teach them, feeling comfortable around the waterfront and knowing how to be safe around water is an invaluable skill to have.

Many camps incorporate skits into their activities, sometimes having cabins compete with each other. Knowing a few good skits and being able to do a little improv will help you to have fun when doing drama is required.

building a campfire
You’re the coolest person ever when you can take a few logs, some newspaper, a match, and create some flames to roast marshmallows on! 

being silly!
Above all, camp counselors shouldn’t take themselves too seriously all the time. Having the ability to laugh, dress up in silly clothes, and maybe make a joke or two at your own expense will help you connect with campers and just have a fun summer or year.

CPR/first aid
Having a current certification in CPR/first aid is often a requirement for every camp employee.

Water Safety Instructor or lifeguarding
Neither of these certifications are mandatory, but you are more hireable if you can work as a lifeguard or teach swim lessons.

food handlers permit
You will need one of these if you want to work in a camp kitchen or handle food. 

boating license
If your camp has motor boats, it might be helpful to be able to drive them!