Ah, summer! The bugs are swarming, the weather is muggy and humid, and people have the propensity to wear clogs. Luckily, as an adult at least, you don’t have to go to summer camp… Or do you? Well, if you work as a camp counselor, you might not have a choice but to bite the bullet and return to camp.
These are a few camp counselor confessions.
Summer camps are full of kids, and most counselors are either teenagers or young adults (usually college students). You can see how this can be a problem because if there is one thing teenagers and young adults are infamous for, it’s being stupid. Really stupid. How stupid, you ask? Well, that’s the entire article; I’m not about to get into it in the very first paragraph.
So, from my extensive and cringe-eliciting research, I have found that camp counselors deal with body fluids as often as registered nurses probably do. From vomit to feces and urine, if it comes out of the human body, there is probably a poor counselor’s story dedicated to it.
From a camper sleeping in a puke-crusted sleeping bag, a fact that was only revealed due to the smell, to the midnight shower pooper that preferred to relieve himself there because of the lack of toilet paper in the restroom (revenge is a dish best served in as a steaming pile of sh*t, I guess), these testimonies cover the gross gamut.
My favorite – okay, favorite is a strong word… The most disgusting story I stumbled upon was when a small child needed to use the restroom, went in, and returned with fecal matter on his chin. Upon inspection, the horrified counselors discovered that the entire outhouse-style stall was completely covered… They promptly closed the door and left the dirty cleanup to the lifeguards that were stationed close enough to the restroom, and who would have no choice but to clean it up (due to the smell).
It’s not just the campers, though. A drunken camp counselor, upon realizing that his bladder was too full to visit the restroom or maybe due to his intoxication, thought that he was already in the restroom and proceeded to urinate on a sleeping camper. This incident strangely stigmatized not the counselor, but the camper who was known for the rest of the summer as Aaron I’m-Not-A-Urinal (last name redacted for anonymity).
Dirty, dirty campfire stories
When you visit Camp Hanky Panky, don’t forget to pack condoms, along with your sunscreen, bug spray, and aspirin. Some of these counselors’ stories read more like Fifty Shades of Grey than My Summer at Camp. It makes sense, too. I mean, you have a bunch of hormone-raging teenagers/young adults with no Internet, TV, or other entertainment making friendship bracelets (not a euphemism). It’s summer, after all – the most lovemaking-instigating season of all: you and your camp buddy can easily isolate yourselves, and it’s a lot more fun than reading The Da Vinci Code for the fourth time.
My favorite story has to be that of the young woman who was vying for the attention of a gorgeous hottie. They left the bar (on their day off, thankfully – no camper deserves to be urinated on… again) and ventured into the woods. There they found a fallen tree to become the support for their lovemaking session. This young lady’s takeaway from the “engagement” was that it was amazing, but also a leaf and twig-covered affair.
And it’s not just counselors.
In recent years, sleep-away camps have been havens for teenage heavy petting and hookups. Although it is technically against the rules, counselors will oftentimes look the other way because of the inevitability of teenage trysts. Teenagers are sneaky little bastards, and constantly trying to keep tabs on them would be an endless, mind-numbing, and maddening experience. In religion-specific camps, meanwhile, it might even be encouraged to help people of the same religion meet and hopefully marry. The logic behind not allowing but not prohibiting hookups is excused under the premise that restricting such behavior would detract from the summer camp experience… I must’ve gone to a very different camp as a teenager.
Yes, beyond the sex, drugs, and alcohol, the other thing I’m sure you’re curious about is how much money counselors get paid. Well, they get paid like crap at around $7.50 an hour, but there are benefits (including the one mentioned in the above entry). Of course, that money is going straight into your pocket because room and board is covered (in most locations) and other than condoms, drugs, and alcohol, your expenses will be minimal. You might even be able save some money on soap and shampoo… Oh.
You are in the untamed wild, so it’s only natural to negate some items of personal hygiene. That’s why I avoid the untamed wild because not smelling like a pungent ball of body odor and not having to squat over an open pit for number two is pretty high up on my priority list. But this article isn’t about me… and yes, the horrible truth about being away from civilization for an extended period of time is that you can be a bit lax with the personal upkeep. Of course, on the other hand, if you are going to be hooking up so frequently, you might want to keep your… um… underbrush in check – just saying. The best thing about all of this is that others (including the campers) will also slip into this “mountain man” routine, thus making the entire place a pungent mix of hundreds of peoples’ morning breath and sweaty body odor! Oh, joy!
So, judging from the response of campers, counselors have a real impact on the kids they interact with during one of the most arguably awkward times in a child’s life and one of the most awkward social situations most will experience. They interact with these campers on a daily basis and inadvertently become mentors, confidants, and friends to the young people they supervise. On top of everything else, tell me a job that pays you to canoe around a lake all day?
Were you ever a camp counselor? Share your experiences with us in the comments section below – you can leave all the juicy details in there, too!