How To Be A Good Camp Counselor

Every year, hundreds of American students look forward to the end of the hectic school year and the brief respite that summer provides.  Many of these children’s parents have full time jobs or drug habits and multi-week stays at a summer camp are a win win. While away at camp, friendships form, hormones rage, and children become older weirder children. A good camp counselor can be the difference between a summer they’ll always remember, and a summer they will want to forget.

  1. Wear a mask on the first day. Lots of your campers will be nervous when they first arrive. For many of them this will be their first time away from home.  Try and loosen things up by wearing a fun mask on the first day of camp. Use facebook to find out what some of your cabinmates parents look like.  Send a photo to and get your custom mask!  You don’t want to confuse or scare the kids, who have just seen their parents drive away, so make sure your mask has some wacky defect or silly infected wound so the kids will know it’s JFF. (Just for fun!)
  2. Show, don’t tell.  Many older Americans have fond memories of camp that involved letting loose, rebellion, and not quite playing by the rules. Make sure YOU are the one who sets the tone and your young charges will follow suit. Demonstrate how to defecate in the woods, smoke marijuana, and terrorize the kid who brought the Twilight novels.
  3. Be a good listener. Without their familiar support system, many campers will turn to you as a de facto therapist or surrogate parent.  Do your best to be available, listen, and judge accordingly. Children are not good decision makers and sometimes you will need to be the one to tell them that wearing a t-shirt to the lake is for pussies.
  4. Don’t be a cockblock! (Or a vaginal thwart!) Young love is a magical thing that can die without the proper nourishment. If you’ve noticed some tentative hand-holding, playful teasing, or good-natured fingering, don’t put out the flame. Organize a game of manhunt, a movie night, or a twister tournament and sit back and wait for your save the date.
  5. Don’t parody the summer’s top pop songs. As a kid at camp, nothing is lamer than your counselor bringing out her acoustic guitar and the Lost and Found box and then launching into “We Found Gloves in a Boatless Lake.” Today’s campers are much more sophisticated and nostalgic than that. Try a meta-parody of any number of Weird Al Yankovic’s classic songs.
Cow Tips!
* Kids need to know where the boundaries are. Dress in a way that displays what is just beyond appropriate.
*If you can’t remember a campers name, completely ignore them.

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