By Rebecca Root
“This one counselor got fired because of this.”
“This other time they had to leave because of this…”
When working at a summer camp, it can often seem like there are so many rules and risks that could potentially get you into deep (lake) water you can’t keep track. With a 100+ little eyes and eavesdropping ears hovering around unruly counselors all day, it’s understandable why there are so many dos and don’ts.
Usually, at orientation, this list of rules is accompanied by horror stories and outlandish tales of past contract terminations. Whether these are meant to shock, discourage or outright appal, the stories linger in the minds of counselors throughout the long 8 weeks. With precious summer months in a hot and hip country at stake, it is imperative that all is done to avoid being the subject of one of these stories.
However, this doesn’t mean that the summer is lost to discipline and decree, it just means you have to be careful when bending, twisting and breaking those rules. Hide your forbidden phone, break the curfew and eat an extra load of ice cream. As long as you can conceal your bad behaviour then all will be fine.
Aside from the obvious rules on safety and security, the bulk of camp rules tend to surround three main themes and these themes can easily be addressed.
1. Access No Area
There are bound to be places that the directors tell you are off limits. This could be the woods at night time, the lake without supervision or the large rec after hours. If temptation seems to be pulling and it is a must to visit these off limits zones then number one priority is to make sure you stay safe.
Number two priority is to not get caught. At night, wear dark colours so you blend in. Obviously keep noise levels down and make sure you are not being followed before heading to your location. Most importantly, if you do get caught, have a pre-thought up excuse as to why you are in said no-go area that will get you off the hook. For example, I lost my earring or I’m sleep walking could work, emphasis on ‘could’ there.
2. Curfew breaking
While this should by no means be a nightly occurrence, it is guaranteed to happen at some point. Whether it is to keep gossiping down at bunk 2 or to keep kissing up at bunk 15, the trick to curfew breaking is not being seen on your return. Make sure you check that the coast is clear, walk quickly and quietly back to your bunk and ensure no sneaky eyes are going to report you the next day. This is where sweets should be purchased as a form of bribery.
3. Forbidden items
Mobile phones, chewing gum, extra cookies… there are some things that camp just does not prohibit inside the bunk and there are just some things counselors can’t live without. Keep these items covert by hiding them in suitcases or in pillowcases so that during bunk tidies they are less likely to be found. Only use or consume these when minimal to no people are around and if caught, play dumb.
These tactics may not save you every time but they may help in keeping your rule-breaking on the DL.