So it has been a whole 4 days, 11 hours and 21 minutes since I landed back in (strangely) sunny England, and I am already campsick. Yes, sadly that is a real thing. Although I have had a SUPER busy four days catching up with friends, celebrating birthdays and FINALLY washing my clothes so they no longer have that all too familiar camp smell, I have been thinking about what is is that makes me so attached to camp, and wanting to return year after year. Here is my top 10 (although I could go for days):
1. The view from my bunk.
My camp, as I’m sure most camps are, is set on a beautiful lake in Connecticut, surrounded by tall pine tree’s and cute little chipmunks. Waking up in my bunk bed everyday was made 1000x better by the prime waterfront view.
2. The people.
Camp is a place where you meet people from all over the world, which is fab, until summer ends and you all go your separate ways. Thanks to camp, I now have best friends who live all over the world, from Devon to Australia. Spending 24/7 with these girls is like a huge 8 week long (drama-filled) sleepover where you not only have your own wardrobe to choose from on nights off, but at least 10 other peoples too!
Although as the popular ‘linger‘ song goes, ‘this is good night and not good bye’.
3. The ‘fashion’.
Summer camp is a place where you lose all your inhibitions (if you ever had any), and basically the wackier your outfit, the cooler you are. Many days throughout the summer require some form of crazy outfit, and looking ridiculous is the norm. This year I think my suitcase on the way to the states was 85% fancy dress items/accessories, and 15% regular clothes. Who needs ‘normal’ clothes anyway, right?!Standard day at camp.
4. The routine.
At camp, the day and the schedule are planned for you, and most camps run like some kind of military-style operation where things rarely change. I know what time to expect the first bugle (7.25am if you were wondering), I know what time I will eventually drag myself and the kids of out bed (7.40am), I know what time to expect flag circle and meals and what time the lights go out. It’s very rare the schedule ever changes. The worst part about coming home is that your body still expects meals at 8am, 12.30pm and 6pm on the dot, and sadly reality does not always allow for this.
5. A chore-free summer.
A whole three months without having to cook, wash dishes or do laundry is OK with me. You turn up at meal times and there it is, waiting for you! Without you even have to waste time deciding what you want to eat or doing the cooking! WOW! You send your laundry off on a Wednesday morning and as if by magic, it appears back on the porch the following day. What else could you ask for?
6. The weather.
So this summer, I wore a hoody ONCE during the whole time I was in the US. There is absolutely nothing better than having to skip the whole ‘do I/don’t I take a jacket’ debate, and then having to lug one around with you when you are too warm to wear it. Waking up to glorious sunshine and having a permanent tan (everyone looks better with a tan, right?!) is one of the best parts about spending a summer in America. In addition, when it storms in the U.S., it REALLY storms. There is nothing better than lying cosy in your bunk watching the lightening and hearing the rumble of thunder outside!
7. The camp bubble.
Camp is a place where nothing else really matters. For at least 8 weeks of the year, you are not living in the real world. You have little idea of what is going on outside of camp, but the question is, do you actually care? I know I don’t!
8. My job.
I LOVE my job as a camp counselor. This year was my first year as the Mountain Bikes counselor at camp, and being paid to ride my bike around all day was a pretty sweet deal. Of course, this is not all it involved. Teaching campers how to ride was SO rewarding, and receiving messages from parents after their child has returned home and who can now go out riding in the neighbourhood with her friends is one of THE most satisfying feeling in the world.
Safety first, wear a helmet when you ride kids. I just took it off for the picture, so I didn’t look like an egg.
9. GIRL POWER
I work at an all-girls camp, and although we do have a brother camp, girl power is a huge thing. We compete with the boys on Watersports day (and win, every time), we sing songs about how being a girl is great (and how the boys stink), and every single girl on camp is PROUD to be a girl.
‘Girl power on 3, 1,2,3, have YOU got it?!’
Last but certainly not least…
10. THE CAMPERS.
Having the opportunity to watch the girls learn, grow and develop into such strong, determined young women is definitely one of the best parts about working at a summer camp. Some campers stay at camp for 8 weeks, almost as long as you do, and regardless of how long they are there, they all become part of your huge, crazy, extended camp family. The connection that you make with the campers, well, thats what its all about.