"The Toughest Job You Will Ever Love"
That's what my camp director told us on the last day of camp after 11 non-stop weeks of being a child. I mean being a camp counselor.
And honestly if he would of said that on the first day of camp I would have looked at him, with a raised eyebrow, thinking 'Americans are so cheesy' but after approximately 73 days of being cried on, confided in and launched shaving foam at, I could have thrown my arms in the air and shouted 'Halleluiah' (now who's the cheesy one) but didn't at a last attempt to savour any dignity I had left.
So what is the fuss about being a Camp Counselor and why do tens of thousands of adults from all around the world sacrifice their summer to work in a Summer Camp across the US each year?
I asked myself the same question and came up with these reasons why being a Camp Counselor is 'the toughest job you'll ever love'
1. Your daily schedule looks a little something like this:
Eat French toast and maple syrup, sing cheesy pop songs you could never admit you liked back home, make friendship bracelets, race kids down water slides, eat candy, zip line across a lake,sing more songs, get a tan at the pool, eat more candy, have a camp fire.
Beats wake up, work, sleep.
2. You meet some of the best friends you've ever had.
Cliche hey, but it's true. It doesn't matter what you do at home, where you come from or what you wear, all that matters is that right now you are all currently watching the kids do impressions of you in absolute hysterical tears.
You spend everyday all day with people that were strangers just a few weeks before and laugh,cry and share with them like you have known them your whole life. You wear matching t-shirts, make each other friendship bracelets and gossip over late night smores (and only then do you remember you are actually 24 and not 14) instead of sitting in your trackies watching Bridget Jones and stalking your ex on Facebook.
3. Staff meetings consist of sitting crossed legged on the floor in your pyjamas with candy and pop.
4. The biggest event of the summer is no longer your long weekend off work its COLOR WAR (noticed how I spelt that the American way..)
The single most important event of your life. Well, that's at least what it seems at the time.
What team will you be in?
Did you pack enough red, yellow, blue and green clothes?
Who will be captains?
What will the theme be?
What team will win?
There's no time to think, just run, run to the basketball court, hula hoop to the pool, cycle to the zip line and shout like crazzzyyy.
'Holy moley Guacamole, Avocados are GREEN'
Oh and don't forget to involve the kids too
5. Your office looks a little something like this:
6. Being 'on duty' includes getting a great tan.
Well if you are a lifeguard that is.
Which you should be.
Everyone wants to be one, so much so you even have honorary lifeguards that will come and 'help' on their down time.
You get the best tan, the best office and the best team. Inside jokes include 'tube me' and 'compact jump' and if you can deal with the hundreds of kids hurtling towards the pool on 'all camp swim' you can deal with almost anything on the outside world.
7. You get paid to go to theme parks.
Need I say more?
8. Somehow it is acceptable to eat your weight in fried food.
10 pancakes for breakfast, 10 grilled cheese sandwiches for lunch, 10 packets of Oreos, Mexican for dinner and then a late night dash to Applebees for a milkshake, fried mozzarella sticks, and cheesecake.
I'm not exaggerating.
9. You will sing 'Call me Maybe', 'Lean on Me' and anything 'One direction' related 12,435 Times a day and LOVE IT.
You will most probably have a choreographed dance routine you do in unison with 500 other kids as well.
10. Your work uniform will be tie-dyed camp t-shirt crocs and a backpack.
And you would have honestly never felt so stylish.
11. You come home with a lot of useless skills that will probably never be used again, but are so awesome.
Making sculptures out of bread, French braiding, eating 20 Oreos at once, the ability to make a song out of a sentence, back flipping, impromptu game maker, child donkey.
12. Getting "Messy" takes on a whole new term.....
Don't forget your travel insurance
13. Your perception of a 'real job' no longer includes an office and a big salary
If anyone tells you camp isn't a 'real job' tell them to work 18 hours a day with only 3 days off a month sleeping in a tent with excitable teenagers.
When you get home you will no longer crave money and recognition, working will now be something you want to enjoy.
This is as 'real' as your gonna get.
14. You get letters from home
You will also never forget your camps address after you plead with everyone you know to get them to send you some Cadburys Chocolate and PG tips (even though you know camp will confiscate them as soon as they reach the camp mail box)
15. Days off are spent shopping in Forever 21 and eating as much peanut butter related foods as you can.
Because everyone has a peanut allergy in camp.
16. You get paid for it.
Ok nothing to shout home about, but you get free food and accommodation too so really you only spend your salary on unnecessary novelties in Wal-Mart and late night treats in Applebees.
Oh and sometimes you get to have a Walkie Talky too- The ultimate possession of power.
17. No more Monday morning blues.
Who even cares what day it is? Today you are sneaking your campers to a 'forbidden' part of camp without telling the staff potentially getting yourself sacked if anyone was to find out, and then raiding the snack bar all while dressed head to toe in black.
Well, that's what the campers think anyone.
18. The kids are pretty awesome too
Really, we hate to admit it, but one of the best things about camp.
You get hundreds of new admirers within minutes of meeting them.
They all want to borrow your clothes, take pictures with you, ask questions about your personal life, and take you back to live with them and their parents.
You get the chance to watch them learn and grow every day and genuinely miss the things they come out with once they're gone.
They stalk your Facebook and like every status until you see them again 9 months later and then they question you about every photo they saw with a guy next to you in.
And then by some bizarre speed up in time, they become, or are becoming camp counselors themselves, and you find yourself getting all proud and emotional.
19. You get a visa to travel for up to 4 weeks after camp.
Vegas? San Fran? New York? You choose.
20. Camp is the only place in the world you become the 'best version of yourself'
( credit to another Capital Camps director for that one)
You jump up and down, wearing the-most-ridiculous costumes, covered in paint with screaming kids pulling at each of your limbs all while your jaw hurts so much from smiling. You wear no makeup, haven't showered in days and have a sunburnt nose, yet you wouldn't want to be anywhere else in the world. You are surrounded by people from all around the world, yet have never felt so at home and your 'worries' have dissolved into the cotton candy air of camp.
Yes, it's a tough job, you will get approximately 6 hours of sleep a day, get told to take a break after bursting out crying when you are told it is your turn on night duty, clean up sick, be told something heartbreaking, and get a few scars along the way.
But you would have never felt so alive, so appreciated, so loved, and this is why being a camp counsellor is the toughest job I've ever loved.
So what are you waiting for? Hop on the bandwagon and apply to be a Camp Counselor in the USA this summer!
Want to work abroad? Become an English Teacher with a TEFL qualification (no degree needed) enter COFFEELIFE30 at the checkout for an extra 30% off!
Have you guys been to Summer Camp? Did you love it as much as me? let me know below...
About the Author (I don't like that word, let's say Gypsy!)
Sarah is a Twenty-something travel blogger and digital nomad who lives a constant life on the road travelling, scuba diving, volunteering and drinking coffee. A self proclaimed 'Global Gypsy' her website and work as a Dive Master have kept her exploring the world for the last 3 years. Where is she now? Who knows.. follow her on the ride of life on her Facebook page to find out.