Parents can expect their children will experience all of this. But there are some things that happen at camp that parents aren’t told about…
We had a HUGE raccoon population around the camp. Big families that would get into gang fights at night. It was well understood that you couldnt leave a scrap of food out at the campsites, especially not in the tents, because they were just sewn canvas sheets on platforms that werent sealed at the bottom.
One night, someone came back from town and brought us a big box of Tim Horton’s donuts, which the staff devoured before lights out. One girl got one with powdered sugar on it and, not having mirrors, didnt realize she got a bunch on her face. Hours later, she woke up in bed with a feeling of weight on her chest and a tickle on her chin. There was a big, fat raccoon on top of her, LICKING THE POWDERED SUGAR OFF HER FACE. She screams, her tentmate jumps up, flicks on the flashlight and starts screaming too. The raccoon hops down and leisurely exits through the side of the tent. We didnt see her until lunch the next day, presumably because she spent 12 hours or so scrubbing her face.
One time at church camp, I pretended to act demon-possessed so the hot youth pastor would lay hands on me.
I had a child who told us her stomach hurt day one of camp. This is usually from homesickness but we asked her if she’d gone to the bathroom that day. She said she hadn’t gone in awhile, so we took her to the infirmary. Turns out she hadn’t pooped in a MONTH, her parents knew, and would not authorize the infirmary to give her medicine. Poor kid had to eat so many prunes because her parents wouldn’t let her take laxatives.
One year, a bunkmate snuck in like 5lbs of bacon. When our two counselors snuck out of the cabin for the evening, she starts fiddling around with stuff and waking everyone up. Suddenly we smell cooking bacon and somebody turns the light on to find her with this whole freaking griddle set up on her top bunk. And the cabin smelled like bacon for a couple days, so we got in a ton of trouble. The counselors wouldnt have ratted us out, because then theyd have to explain why they werent in the cabin, but every morning there is a bunk inspection done by senior employees. Even with all the girls showering in the morning and the horrendous odor of 50 different body products, there was no way to hide the smell of bacon.
It was a Jewish camp.
I once had a camper that was a competitive, nationally-ranked, rock climber. I came back to our cabin one day to find her about 15 feet in the air, scaling our chimney. I was so surprised and impressed that I didn’t even punish her.
I’m a summer camp counselor, and I constantly made one of my campers clean the table in the mess hall because she reminds me of the girl that bullied me for years in school.
Summer church camp for 13-14 year olds. We were supposed to have a dance the last Saturday night. The rock band they hired had changed their name between the time they were hired and the night of the event. So all of the church kids are rocking out to “Phallic Cymbol.” The counselors insisted we pronounce it, “FAY Lack.” But they weren’t fooling anyone.
I wanted to prank a group of counselors in the woods, so I ran off the trail to sneak up on them. I accidentally stepped into a wasp nest on the ground and got stung over 30 times… karma.
I was in 6th grade and was spending my first summer at Boy Scout camp. I woke up in the middle of the woods with only my shorts on. No glasses. No shoes. No shirt. I had sleepwalked and was terrified I was lost forever. I wandered towards the only light I could see. It wasn’t my campsite. I was walking around saying “hello?” Trying to get someone to wake up. Luckily one of the adults heard me and helped me find my camp.
I went to camp once around 8 or so years old.
I had a crush on the cutest girl. Her friends came over and told me she liked me.
We got paired up at dinner that week and the “fun” rule for the night was we had to feed each other, we couldn’t feed ourselves.
I was so shy that I cried until they moved me to some guy.
I was working in the kitchen, and starting about the second day I started finding rubber gloves with the fingers cut off stuffed into random hiding places. Every day there would be a few more until finally I asked the counselors to ask their kids about it. The male counselors came back an hour later shaking their heads with handfuls of rolled up rubber glove fingers. The boys had been making DIY condoms.
My favorite comment from the director: “Who had the pinkies?”
I worked at a Boy Scout summer camp for several years. For some reason, teenage boys love to poo on floors and smear it on the walls. One time, we were cleaning a bathhouse, and we found an empty toilet paper tube with a turd inside of it. As far as we could tell, this ingenious little kid had decided to make a poo crayon, and use it to draw his crappy drawings on the wall.
Used to play a game called “Bites”.
An anonymous food item was placed in a paper bag and two people would bet how few bites they could eat it in until someone caved.
I saw a kid eat an entire can of spam in 4 bites, a kid eat an entire head of lettuce in 8 bites, and a kid attempt to eat a sleeve of saltine crackers in 4 bites. It was a super fun game but we had to stop playing when a parent complained.
I was a daycamp counselor and one day for Choice Time, I had decided to go for a hike with the kids to what we called the Ridge, a far hike, up a hill, but really calm and relaxing with an awesome view when getting to the top. As we got to the top of the mountain, all of a sudden two GOATS started running at us! I didn’t know what to do, so I took off running back down the mountain, with the kids following me, I ended up falling and that was what made all of us stop together and start laughing at the situation. We looked back and saw the goats staring at us and they went back the other way.
The one and only time I went to a stay away summer camp (we were very very poor and I only got to attend because I won a scholarship) it was the next to last day I fell and injured my arm, because Im a klutz.
The counselors called my family to let them know, well…they attempted to call. The line was disconnected. Being very confused they asked me repeatedly if the number was wrong and then they tried the other emergency number they were given and were told that my parents werent available. Much concern at this point, but being an 11 year old and it being the pre-cell phone days I didnt exactly have a rollodex of family numbers with me for them to try, so they did what they could with my arm and figured it wasnt a major emergency and I was going home the next day anyway.
Well the next day rolls around and my family… doesnt come. The pick up time comes and goes and the counselors are getting more than a little worried. They try all of the numbers again with the same results and are freaking out when my father rolls up, a good 4 hours late, when theyre about to call the police. Why was he late, oh because they were busy…moving…and forgot about me.
My family moved while I was at summer camp and forgot about me. The counselors were nearly about to drive me home, or have the police drive me home. To the place that was no longer my home. Because my family moved. In the 4 days I was at camp. And didnt tell me. FOUR DAYS.
I work at a summer camp, and for snack we put chocolate frosting and sprinkles on hot dogs.
I was a camp counselor and was away from the cabin for a meeting or something. Came back and found my campers had ganged up on the loner of the group and were holding him down while another had a sock stretched over his arm trying to shove it down his throat.
They were all chanting “Give him the saucy whale! Give him the saucy whale!”
Years ago I was arts and crafts director at a day summer camp. There was a portopotty outside the arts and crafts cabin, since the bathrooms are a hike away. And I had the youngest group at the cabin, one boy asks to go to the bathroom and so I brought him out to the portopotty… waited a few mins and then he slowly cracks the door open and says “umm I think I missed the toilet”. He then emerges covered in poo, not just like on his butt, but his hands, his legs, his back, his head, behind one of his ears. Like I have no idea how it was even possible for him to get covered that much… then I gave his counselor my dish detergent (closest thing to soap at the cabin other than hand sanitizer) and he sat under the water fountain washing himself with help from his counselor for all of the arts and crafts class.
It was awful, but also so funny and confusing.
We had a camper one week that was a bit of a drama queen. One night around 2 am, two campers banged on the door to the counselor’s cabin sobbing hysterically. We rush over to the other cabin to find one little 9 year old girl laying on the floor thrashing and saying she was having a seizure. After convincing her she wasn’t, we found out that she had pretended to sleep walk across the cabin, flickered the lights on and off while in a “scary voice” telling the other campers that her dad was going to break out of jail and kill them all. Let’s just say it was a very interesting conversation we had when both her parents came to pick her up on the last day of camp.
I went to camp in Louisiana, which is of course a whole state filled with swampy things that want to kill you. I was taking canoeing lessons with fellow campers, and we were doing the bit where you purposely tip the canoe and practice getting back in. There we were, all bobbing around in the small pond, when one of the campers held up a little wriggly mass and said, Look! Are these worms? The counselors face blanched, and he screamed, WATER MOCCASINS! EVERYONE OUT OF THE WATER! I think I actually levitated.
They were babies. A freshly hatched batch, I guess, given that they were all in a mass? *shudder*
One day Id been assigned clean-up duty in the kitchen and stepped backwards to avoid another camper and I felt my hair stuck on something. I reached up to detach from whatever it was, and felt some soft, squishy and somehow crackly things stuck to my head. There was a counselor standing nearby so I asked her for help because I couldnt figure out what was going on. She gave me a sort of grimace and then I realized I had walked backwards into fly tape that had been dangling from the ceiling. There were countless dead and dying flies trapped in my curly hair.
I loved camp but I can still remember the sinking feeling in my stomach and occasionally I still start to panic if I feel something fall or fly into my hair.
Nature director caught a rattlesnake, then killed it and fed it to the staff (surprisingly delicious) and kept the skull as a trophy. Once a camp dog humped a female counselor to completion (he was neutered shortly after). Honestly, I have too many to choose from. Yes, all the same camp.
So one day, all the boys from the dormitory, me included, started a huge pillow fight. At one point, I dodged a pillow by jumping under it. While I did dodge the pillow, the same cannot be said about the desks corner my face landed on. So blood started flowing from near my right eye and the other kids were so scared of me that they ran away instead of helping me out. So I walked outside until a camp instructor finally spotted me. I was sent to the hospital and got about 4 stitches a few millimeters away from my right eye. I got both a Mr Freeze and an eye patch I had to wear for a few weeks out of this, so Id call this a win.
When camp was over and my mom saw me, the first thing she did was to lift my eye patch, afraid that I had lost an eye. I went to the same summer camp for the next 8 years without any other major incidents. So while I may have become a calm, soft-spoken, wise boy soon after; for that one summer camp, I got to be a badass, eye patch wearing, rock throwing, pillow fighting terror for a short while.
I worked up at a camp up in the woods of New Hampshire, and my campers were a bunch of wild ones with ages ranging from 11-15.
There was one kid who literally refused to shower, for nearly 5 days, until he finally decided to head up to the shower area. Keep in mind, this is in the middle of the woods. He didn’t come back down for a while, and me and the other counselor had to go up to the shower/bathroom area to check on him. Upon entering the bathroom, the floor was covered in a thin film of brown liquid.
Being the ninja that I am, I jumped on the sink to avoid the disgusting liquid. I called the kids name, while the other counselor went outside because the smell was too much. Turns out, the kid clogged the toilet and thus 5 days worth of mushy camp-food was overflowing onto the floor. The kid was in the shower, and seemed to have no idea of the mess he made. When he was done (I was still standing on the sink), he just kinda walked out and said “hey”, ignoring the rather large inconvenience of feces covering the floor.
Me and the other counselor ended up cleaning the bathroom while the kid just hung out in the cabin.
I was 10 my first summer at sleepaway camp. It was co-ed with a counselor on duty (we referred to them as ODs) at all times to make sure we didnt go into each others tents. That summer there was an ongoing rivalry between girls side and boys side.
We took unused tampons and dipped them in red bug juice (that super sweet canned juice they serve at camps) and then in the middle of the night snuck over to boys side. One of the counselors proceeded to loudly read the directions for inserting a tampon via megaphone while we yelled and through the tampons at the boys. Then we stole back the OD hut. It was glorious.
My first year as a staff member, I woke in the night to bloodcurdling screams. I mean the stuff of nightmares. They went on and on, flashlights were turning on all over camp, it was terrible.
It turns out that an earwig had crawled into a girl’s ear while she slept, and was moving around in her ear canal. She could hear it, but couldn’t do anything about it. The nurse got it out quickly, but she was in shock for the rest of the night. The camper slept with cotton balls for the rest of her stay. I hate earwigs.
As a small child (maybe 5-6 years old) my parents sent me to a summer day camp on weekdays called Camp Tee-Pee. It was a dump with a dirty pool, apathetic teenage couselors and general horrors abounding. One of them was the pond on the property, that, under no circumstances, were we to attempt to swim in. A counselor would demonstrate why by picking up a leaf or small twig and dropping it into the water from the rickety dock. Immediately a swarm of water snakes would surface and fight over the bit. I, along with every oter kid there, got that message loud and clear. The second danger was that there was a wasps nest right alongside the trail leading up the hill into the woods where we would first gather in the morning before heading out on activities. The counselors (again, who could give a crap about our safety) would have us run quickly by the nest, two by two, and every single day one or more kids would be stung. (This was back in the 1960s, too, so no parents ever got mad or sued.) Now, if you did get stung (I did, a couple times) that meant they would put calamine lotion and a bandaid on the bite. However, there was a rule that no one wearing a bandaid could swim in the pool, which, even though disgustingly dirty, was the camps only saving grace. Good times!