What Being An Overnight Camp Counselor Taught Me

For the last three summers, I worked as an overnight camp counselor for a small camp up in New Hampshire. I attended the camp every summer since I was 9 years old, and I knew (ever since I was little) that I wanted to be a counselor after my summers of being a camper were done. Though it was a job, I forgot it was most times because I spent so much fun-filled time with my campers doing art all day or dancing along to Zumba songs. Here are some things I learned about being a counselor the past few summers:

How to be responsible for others

When I was going into my senior year of high school,  my responsibilities finally exceeded watching my dog for the dayor checking on my younger sister every once in awhile knowing that she was good on her own: for the first time, I would be taking care of 10 year-olds as a counselor. Not just one kid, but a whole bunk full—that’s a little over 10 kids. I quickly learned that being selfless was a huge aspect of being a counselor, and that their needs go above yours. Taking care of them became second nature to me; whether they were homesick, just needed a band aid, or came to me about friendship advice, I quickly learned how much these kids looked up to me.

 

To keep a positive attitude

This could get difficult at times, but the one of the most important parts of being at camp is making sure your campers have the best summer. There were days when the rain would be pounding on the pavement so hard that you could barely see across camp to even see the lake, but instead of waiting in the bunk for the rain to pass, we would find other things to do. Literally as the quote goes, “Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass, it’s learning to dance in the rain.”  Singing inside the cabin, going outside and dancing in the rain with the whole bunk, or ruining our sweatpants from all of the mud and water balloons thrown at each other were all alternatives to a bad attitude. Making the most out of every situation was a key aspect of being a counselor.  

 

 

To just be myself

Ever since I was a camper, I knew that camp had an environment where you could just be yourself. When you wanted to go to breakfast in a "onesie" pajama that looked like a unicorn, no one questioned it. When your whole bunk wore pink on Wednesday’s just to represent Mean Girls, no one looked twice. When you wore Crocs all day, it was almost guaranteed that someone else had the same pair and in the same color, too. Camp was a place for me to be myself, where I could be creative, and go hours of the day teaching art classes which was something I wouldn't normally do at home. I would sweat and dance to anything from upbeat pop to slow Israeli dance music on Friday evenings.

 

Images: 1, 2, 3