It’s that time of year again! School just ended and kids are getting amped up for summer. We’ve all been there. Struggling to get through that last bell. Some kids look forward to summer jobs or free time while the lucky ones get excited for…drum roll please…camp! Ahhh!!! I’m excited and I’m not even going!
Recently, some of the girls on Princesses Long Island (yes, I still watch that show, single handedly keeping it alive) signed up for a Jewish singles sleepaway camp. Let me tell you, as a camper and counselor at a Jewish camp, they had the right idea. Camp was literally the best time of my life. Great place to meet guys, make friends and long lasting, sometimes embarrassing, memories. I still think about it a lot. Even have reoccuring dreams about it. Sorry, campers and counselors, it may be creepy but that’s just how camp affected me. I remember everyone. Well, almost everyone. Well, everyone I really liked.
There’s a reason there have been so many television shows and movies based on summer camp. Come on, you remember: Bug Juice, Salute Your Shorts, Meatballs, Heavyweights, Wet Hot American Summer…etc. With this sudden pang of nostalgia for long days in the blazing sun playing competitive softball, I just had to share:
My Favorite Things About Being A Camp Counselor
1. Getting paid to go to different cities (locally in the northeast), theme parks (Dorney and Hershey – wud up PA), the movies (saw Harriet the Spy 4 times in one summer…along with The Truman Show – a real wtf moment), arcades (Sports Plus – you didn’t live if you’ve never been) and bowling (oh hell yeah).
2. Being outdoors all day. Hello sunshine!
3. Random thunder storms forcing us to hide under our shelters and resort to forms of entertainment such as a deck of cards, hand games and freaking out if the water was rising too high.
4. Creaming the kids in dodgeball. I meannn…no, yeah, dodgeball was a great stress reliever. And I was pretty good.
5. Overnights. Staying up late in the hallway, lying about taping the kids’ doors.
6. Waking campers up. Nothing wakes you up more than the joy of seeing children cringe at daylight.
7. Lunch time. Sorry, parents, your kids’ snacks were part of our diet. Not every snack, just the good ones.
8. The other counselors. I pretty much lucked out when it came to coworkers. Being the only girl for the first 3 years really worked in my favor. Less options. That’s how you do it, ladies. But everyone at camp is open to friendships and they usually last long time (aw moment).
9. Movies on the bus. Counselors pick. And when I was a kid our options were: The Sandlot and Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. Heavyweights was a favorite when I was a counselor as was Anchorman. Can’t beat that.
10. Camp parties. The first time I drank was at a camp party (as a counselor, not a camper…just making that clear). Took a shot of apple bacardi. One shot. Couldn’t see straight. Hiccuped on the ride home and practically gave away my inebriated self.
11. Creating chants about counselors. I had a pretty sweet chant: Toby pees standing up! …hm, maybe I shouldn’t be proud of that one.
12. Hanging out with the campers. There’s a reason I want to work with kids. They’re great! The shit that comes out of their mouths is hilarious! I may be biased, but my campers were the best.
13. Swim. Free swim and instructional swim. If you didn’t want to go in, you had your period. Even the guys.
13b. The icebox. Our diving pool. Legend has it the pool is so cold because there are ice cubes on the bottom that are replaced daily.
13c. Buddy!!! You swim with a buddy. At the sound of the buddy call you lifted your buddy’s hand straight in the air! And if you didn’t have a buddy you had to come out. Unless you tripled up. Which was frowned upon. Apparently 6 eyes are not better than 4.
14. Camp legends. My personal favorite was Haschlacker/Hasclacka depending on how thick your Long Island accent was. He lived at Shelter X and was responsible for numerous camper disappearances and deaths. Mwahahah!
15. Beach day! We hit up Tobay beach like it was no one’s business. And we willingly ran into the ocean to monitor the children’s safety. I really miss beach day.
16. Camp relationships. Campers, counselors, unit heads – there’s plenty of gossip to keep you going all summer. And fall. And winter. And you guessed it, spring!
17. Tips. The goal of the summer is to give the campers a great experience and become their favorite. That way their parents think fondly of you when they stuff those trusty envelopes with your name on them. It’s kind of like spendable validation for a job well done.
18. Being a role model. At least I like to think so. Too corny of an ending for you? Well, you can go shove it.