EVERYTHING I KNOW, I LEARNED AT SUMMER CAMP
This summer will be the first in 13 years that I'm not spending at sleepaway camp as a camper or counselor. Camp has helped shape who I am, so I decided to share some of the things I've learned at my favorite place in the world ☺️🌳
- •Knowing that you are a role model for someone is one of the best feelings in the worldThis can be anything from noticing a camper has started wearing her hair in a bandana the same way you do, to having a camper ask you for life advice a year after you were her counselor. When I was a camper, I remember doing small things to try to be like the counselors I looked up to or thought were cool, and I love that now I'm on the other side. Being a role model reminds me that what I do is so important and reminds me to be the best version of myself.
- •Life is too short to sweat the small stuffThis is especially true at camp. Campers only spend one week at camp, but on staff, I've spent up to two months at camp. In both cases, summer always slips away and before I know it, I'm driving home from camp until next year. Camp goes by so quickly and there's honestly no time to worry about trivial things in life or stress over things you can't control. Everything always works itself out, and living in the moment without worrying about things beyond your control is the best way to live.
- •You don't "need" makeup, and you certainly don't need makeup to feel prettyI wear makeup most days during the year, but I almost never do when I'm at camp. Usually when I don't wear any makeup, I feel like I look substantially worse. However, this feeling goes away at camp. After a few days at camp, the desire to pencil in my eyebrows, cover up eye circles, and put on mascara goes away. When you're not surrounded by made up people, you stop setting unnecessary standards for yourself and appreciate your natural beauty. Corny af but true, and it's a great feeling.
- •A well-timed jump in the pool can make up for a lack of showeringI originally adopted this piece of wisdom because some campers are less into the idea of "showering" than others, but I'd be lying if I said I'd never rationalized my own lack of showering at camp this way... Chlorine is a great cleanser! It won't make your hair look good, but it will kill all of the germs on your body and in your hair. Also, chlorine is a perfectly acceptable smell at camp, so there's really nothing to lose.
- •There are more important things than nice clothes and makeupThis is similar to the earlier point on this list, but I can be very superficial in a lot of ways. I love shopping and purchasing nice makeup and clothing and I love feeling put-together. At camp, however, none of that is really a thing. Judging someone for what they're wearing at camp would never happen, and when I have teenage campers, it's always one of my goals to help them realize this and embrace it, at least for the brief time they're at camp.
- •Take advantage of being youngI'm 21, so I'm still young, but I look back at camp and I miss the days when I didn't have anything to worry about. I'm glad that I worked at a summer camp for so many years, because I feel like it was my way of staying young for as long as possible.
- •You're never "too cool" for anythingI think this is one of the most powerful impacts you can have on a camper. At the beginning of the week, there are always teenage girls who refuse to sing along at the campfire and don't do activities at Lake Erie because they want to lay on the beach without ruining their hair. But if they look up to you, and they see that you don't think you're too cool for camp activities, a lot of the times they'll step out of their shell and have some fun. They never regret it and it makes me so happy.
- •Technology is nice, but so is taking a break from technologyCell service at camp is a complete joke, so there isn't much of a choice here. However, being out of the loop is refreshing! Everyone else at camp is in the same boat so there's really no need to use your phone. This is coming from me, and I typically view my phone as an extension of my arm.
- •Sitting around a campfire with a guitar is something I have always and will always loveSome of my favorite camp memories are from jam sessions around a campfire at night with someone playing the guitar and everyone singing along. It feels so peaceful and it just makes me so happy.
- •Summer camp has the potential to teach you so much about yourself and help you grow immensely as a personCamp Fitch Forever ❤️
- •Summer camp taught me to love children unconditionally. Great lesson for a stepparent!Suggested by @karenelkinscohen