13 Things Your Kid’s Camp Counselor Won’t Tell You
Sending the kids off to camp this summer? We granted anonymity to counselors from camps in Massachusetts, New York, Vermont, and Wisconsin so they’d share some of the secrets of their profession.
Camp becomes a home away from home
For the first week, the cries of the homesick are almost unbearable. After that: “Mom? Who’s Mom?”
Kids come out of their shells
Your kid is a lot less shy and a lot more competent than you think. Camp counselors aren’t the only ones who see a different side of your kid than you do—learn the things your child’s teacher knows about her that you don’t.
Cleanliness is not a priority
Your son will shun clothing and may well go without showering for weeks. “It’s like a frat you join when you’re ten,” says one counselor.
Labeling your kid’s stuff is just a waste of time
Don’t bother with the labels—everything’s going to get hopelessly mixed up anyway.
What you don’t know won’t hurt you
As long as he or she is eventually found, we’re not going to tell you about all the times we had to call a search-and-rescue for your child. These are the secrets your kid’s babysitter won’t tell you.
We’re not always on our best behavior
Some of us are hung over every morning and rigidly enforce afternoon naptime, not because the kids need the rest, but because our heads hurt.
Camp is educational… in more ways than one
Even if it’s not a coed camp, your teen is going to learn more about the opposite sex (accurate or not) than you want to know. These are the things your teenager wishes you knew.
We’re not the lunch police
If they want to eat peanut butter and jelly for weeks in a row, there’s really nothing we can do about it. These are the delicious camping meals you’ll want to make all summer.
We bend our own rules
We confiscate the “illegal” candy you send and eat it ourselves. For the kid’s own good, of course.
We push kids out of their comfort zones
Your kids will be plunged into icy water, submitted to exotic “tortures,” and scared witless countless times—just because we think it’s funny. Oh, and they’ll love it. Learn the pool and beach safety secrets lifeguards wish you knew.
We make a difference
According to the American Camp Association, the typical camper return rate is about 60 percent, and 92 percent of campers surveyed say the people at camp “helped me feel good about myself.” Check out these little ways to encourage your kids every day.
Prepare to hear about camp nonstop
For weeks after coming home, your child is going to speak in incomprehensible camp slang and pine for people named Lunchmeat, Fuzzy, and Ratboy.
We love what we do
We actually do this because we love your kids—and we’ll probably do it again next year. (According to the ACA, the average return rate for staff is 40 to 60 percent.) Camp is worlds more fun as a counselor than it is as a camper. Next, check out these bizarre summer camps that are 100 percent real.