10 reasons why camp is your favourite nightmare…

I would climb/fall exhaustedly into bed each night around 11pm – or whenever my girls felt like shutting up so I could get some sleep. You have ‘free time’ 10pm-11pm but you never get it, and if there’s a miracle that my cabin is asleep by 10pm, I am doing nothing but going to sleep too. My mind, and legs, are too tired for anything but.

My alarm goes off too loudly at 6:30am, and there’s no stopping then. It’s non-stop till my break at 2pm. For an hour I get to relax with the girl counsellors, we get a snack (or 3) and lay in the staff cottage. You would think we would chat about positive things, laugh and joke. Well we do, however the time is mainly used for moaning about our kids or ranting about something that has pissed us off. That is until we go pick up our girls from the pool at 3pm and then it’s rec time until dinner at 5:30pm – which actually is probably more stress than the whole day put together. There’s trying to line up, getting everyone fed enough, fetching a billion different sauces, clearing everyone’s trays, table inspections… It’s like manual labor trying to get your dinner.

After we’re fed it’s the night programme, which we get fully involved in whether its the pool party, messy game night or a carnival. We supervise, we clean, we play, there’s nothing that doesn’t go under a counsellors job role! After all the fun it’s night snacks then vespers, where it is a constant battle to settle and quiet your kids. I’m forever shouting ‘SSSHHH!’ – the other counsellors are the same. Vespers finishes around 9:30pm and its bed time. After gathering your kids and practically carried them up the hill to the cabins, its finally bed time. They should be in bed by 10pm – HA! After a hyper 10 minutes and a few showers everyone (especially me) is ready for bed.

So after reading this, why do people do it. More importantly, why do I love it so much that I go back? Here’s 10 reasons why its a job you will hate to love:

1. Work colleagues are a thing of the past – you don’t have friends you work with, you have family. A family that is so mad and disfunctional it rivals the Kardashians. It doesn’t matter where your from or who you are when you’re back home, you’re all family here and it doesn’t matter how long you go without seeing each other, things don’t change.

2. There’s no hump day in a camp week – none of this crappy Monday mornings or daily commutes to work, your office is right outside your door and it’s there all summer. The worst your day can get is when you’re expecting pancakes and bacon for breakfast and you forgot that today is ham and eggs. Shit.

3. Office wear is no more – your official work uniform is a over sized camp top, shorts and converse. I don’t think anything else needs to be said. Hope you’re comfy there in your shirt and tie.

4. Ice-cream and drive thru’s are a balanced meal – when the kids have finally gone and you have a weekend to yourself, what else is there to do but eat? There is nothing better than a family trip for food when all you’ve been eating all week is children sized portions. And yes, a Braums banana split is an acceptable meal.

5. Band aids (plasters) are a fashion accessory – only at camp is it okay to walk around with Despicable Me and Disney Princess plasters all over your body, hiding numerous boo boos. Or sometimes they’re just there because your kids thought it was hilarious. There’s no judgement here.

6. Trying new things is more than just changing your sandwich filling – when it comes to new experiences, camp is the place to do it. Before you know it you’ll be zip lining around camp, climbing the high ropes or tubing down a river on your day off.

7. Being childish is in the job description – no camp wants a boring counsellor. In this job – the madder you are the better. Let yourself go, give it everything you’ve got and have fun. Because when you’re having the best time – so do the kids.

8. Walmart is the bomb – Weekends always involve a Walmart trip. It’s your time to stock up for the week, buy essentials that will keep you going. So what’s on the shopping list? Double stuffed oreos, sour patch kids and every single flavour M&M of course.

9. You start time isn’t an impending doom – be at morning song for 8am? That’s no problem when you’re working outside in the American heat… you have no deadlines, forms to complete or presentations to do. The only thing that consists in your day is gatorade, fun and working on your tan.

10. The camp songs you will grow to love –  You loathe it when it comes on 7 times a day at camp and you’re required to jump up and do the actions. After camps ends? It’s your alarm song and obligatory pre-drinks theme tune.

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