Surviving Summer Camp

Art Camp? Band Camp? Cheer Camp? Sports Camp? Church Camp?

Here at Michaela Mag, we are intimately acquainted with the joys (and sometimes pain) of summer camp. On one hand, you make friends and memories that may last forever. On the other hand, you’re often crammed into a shady dorm-room or cabin with who-knows-how-many other females and subjected to more forced bonding than you could ever need in your lifetime. Here are some tips for how to survive summer camp with your sanity intact.

1. Remember the essentials:
Camp comes with many hazards: bugs, sunburn, insect bites, headaches….so make sure you come prepared. For any outdoor, overnight camp you go on, remember to pack:

  • Sunblock lotion
  • Insect spray
  • Sleeping bag/pillow
  • hoodie
  • socks (seriously, if you forget these, you’ll seriously regret it)
  • walking shoes
  • flip flops/shower shoes
  • bathing suit
  • Umbrella
  • Pain relieving pills (like Tylenol)
  • glasses
  • Any prescription medications
  • a whistle and a flashlight
  • any camp-specific supplies (sports gear/art gear/ etc.)
  • extra cash
  • digital camera

Also, it’s helpful to bring along a sheet of paper with the following information:

  • Your name
  • Emergency contact information
  • Health insurance info
  • Allergies/illnesses
  • Prescription medication information
  • These things will make your time at camp much easier.

2. Make a Plan….
Because I’m an extreme introvert, the idea of spending an entire week socializing made me want to crawl into a hole. But, I survived, in part, by making a plan of attack. For me, that plan was to make sure that…regardless of what other girls were doing…I would be curled up in my sleeping bag–alone–by a certain time each night. The first night of camp, I would try to find someone who felt the same way so that I didn’t feel alone doing this. Whatever your deal is with camp: make a plan for it. This may mean finding a roommate ahead of time, scoping out the girls who are less likely to get on your nerves to get to know, finding a quiet spot where you can spend your alone time when you need it, calling friends or ‘rents at a certain time each day, or stuffing food you actually like into your suitcase. Whatever it is that will maintain your sanity, make a plan to incorporate it into your camp survival plan.

3. …But be open
Not everything that I encountered during camp was fun: loud campers, drama, food I didn’t like, rain, and forced ice-breakers were some of the things that come to mind that were decidedly not fun. But…I found that when I took a deep breath, silently repeated to myself “It’s only for a week…” and plastered on a fake smile, some of the things about camps that I once rolled my eyes at became bearable, and I got to meet some great people. So be open, step out of your comfort zone and embrace the crazy that is camp. That way, on the last day, you’ll look around and see that ‘camp’ with all it’s quirk becomes your home away from home.

4. Work Hard
If you are at a themed camp (sports camp, cheer camp, band camp, art/music camp, etc). work your tail off. Camp is the place where you learn fundamentals and routines so keep your head in the game, show up and be ready to work. By working hard during camp, your post-camp life will be much easier.

5. Help Out
Whether it’s kitchen duty, helping others find where things are, or simply being a friend to someone who is homesick-help out during camp when it’s needed. You know you’re awesome, and helping out is a way to expose others to the awesome that is you.

6. Follow Up
Do not forget your camera. I repeat, do not forget your camera. Take pictures, get names and numbers from new friends and follow up–either on Facebook or by phone. That way, the friends you make at camp can be friends that last forever. Also, if you ended up loving camp, consider volunteering to be a counselor or leader next year. This way, you can be involved in making sure others have had as awesome a time at camp as you have!

Let us know: What camps are you off to this summer? What are your tips for surviving?

Image Copyright: kakigori / 123RF Stock Photo

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