Welcome to the final part of my Summer Camp Glossary. This covers the letters O through Z. Some letters I got creative so just go with it and enjoy the back end of the alphabet.
O is for…
On Duty (OD): After the lights go out and the campers should be going to sleep, there are a small group of staff members that are on duty to make sure everyone is safe. This responsibility is rotated around all staff members throughout the summer. So you would probably do it 3 or 4 nights over the entire duration of the summer.
P is for…
Photos: You will cherish all the photos you take whilst at camp. Now, at my camp, there is an amazing human whose job is to take pictures. They travel around the property taking pictures of everyone enjoying camp and capturing the memories of the summer. I would suggest being in as many photos as possible, because you will want the pictures for the future. Plus, it takes the pressure off of you to take photos all the time, win-win.
Activities that begin with P:
Q is for…
Questions: Campers are so inquisitive! They will ask unfiltered questions about everything and anything. No topics are off the table. They will ask about your days off, your friends, your love life, your life before camp and everything else.
R is for…
Rest Hour: Camp directors know that camp is a high energy place, so they added an hour to rest in the schedule. It is literally an hour to chill, nap, take a breath. We have ‘rest hour’ after lunch, that way you can let your food go down before getting ready for a fun filled afternoon! And who doesn’t love a designated chill time?
Round Up: Exactly what is said on the tin. This is the time 30 minutes before the campers lights out. This time is where you literally round your campers up and get them back to the cabin and ready for bed. At this time I found it so fun to hear about what had happened throughout the day. The younger the kids, the more hands on you will need to be at this time, as getting into the swing of a nighttime routine takes more moulding.
S is for…
Showering: Showering is a whole new experience at camp. Showering in a shower house, a building separate from where you sleep, is something I have never really experienced before and to most it comes as a huge shock. Showering becomes a social occasion, privacy goes out of the window and you will find your favourite stall.
Top tip: buy a pair of flip flops just for showering/walking to and from the shower house.
Specialist: If you are instructing an activity at camp, you are a specialist. At my camp you live in a cabin with campers and you are like a working parent. I was a specialist at the beginning of my camp career and I thought it was the best of both worlds. You get to do something you love whilst getting to know campers and staff across the whole camp, not just your one cabin. Plus, on your downtime, you get to try all the activities too.
Staff Rec: This is something I love about camp. After the camper lights out, there are a small group of staff members whose job it is to host creative activities/games for all staff members. Many fun times are had during these activities. It is a place where you can make friends and maybe win some prizes too.
Stargazing: Truly magical experience. In the city, it is very rare to look up at the night sky and see the stars, but at camp it is a fantastic pastime. The sky is so clear and looking out for shooting stars is beautiful. Definitely top three experiences at camp.
Activities that begin with S:
Sail, Ski, Slip & Slide, Sports, Swim.
T is for…
Teams for life: Now this is a huge thing at my camp. There is a CWP called Walden Games - basically a 2-day sports day/olympic type program - where campers and staff are split up via 4 teams, these are your teams for life! These teams represent four different countries. Siblings are on the same team and team loyalties run deep. Campers and staff feel immense pride when talking about their team and it is true they will stay with you for life.
Town Night: Speaking of tradition, this is something my camp does during pre-camp to help let off some steam and to help get to know people after a long pre-camp. The whole staff gets transported into the local town and spends an evening however they would like. Getting a good meal, having a few drinks and dancing the night away is how I would like to spend my evening. Definitely lots of fun and full of stories.
Trip: Meaning Canoe trips. This is tradition at camp, going off site and exploring national parks in Ontario. Right from the youngest age group, everyone has a camping experience out of your cabin under the stars enjoying going back to basics. If you are a counsellor you get to experience this with your cabin!
Activities that begin with T:
Tennis, Tetherball, Theatre.
U is for…
Unit: A unit is an age group of campers. These campers live together in their own area of camp, kind of set up like a village. Every unit has multiple cabins for campers and staff to live in with a communal campfire, shower house, and a head staff cabin. Every unit has its own charm and unique atmosphere.
V is for…
Video show: At camp we have an amazing group of talented staff that spend their summer filming everyone and compiling it into two hour long video shows - one at the end of first month and one at the end of second month. These shows are filled with montages and skits that capture the summer’s atmosphere and fun.
As a bonus, when you are missing camp in the winter months they send out the video to all campers and staff. This definitely helps with the campsickness.
Visitor’s day: Visitor’s day is a monumental point in the summer, it is the halfway point. The fourth Sunday of the session is where families are invited to come up to camp for the afternoon. It is a fun afternoon filled with excitement, happiness and love.
Activities that begin with V:
W is for…
Wake Up: I previously spoke about music being played campwide and different times of the day. Wake is up the first music you will hear on a daily basis. At 7:45am every morning, the music plays across camp for everyone to start their day. A member of the head staff gets on the microphone to announce birthdays, the weather, to play their favourite songs and give a countdown to breakfast.
Walkie Talkie: Camps can be a big place, and everyone is doing their thing. There is no cell service and people are always on the move. So how do people communicate with each other? Walkie Talkies are the key. My camping experience is that the head staff each have a walkie talkie for organisation purposes, finding different campers or staff, and emergencies. They have a love hate relationship with them. People that do not have one they want one, and for those that have one, they want to get rid of them - over.
Waterfront: For me, the showstopper of camp is the waterfront. When I think about camp, the first image in my mind is the view of the lake. On a hot summer’s day it is refreshing to jump into the lake and cool off. Campers get to spend at least one period every day down at the lake!
Activities that begin with W:
X is for…
eXploring: Now I could be scraping the barrel, but after camp travels are all about exploring. City hopping, exploring the sights and adding to an incredible summer experience. Many fantastic memories have happened whilst travelling and I would not change them for the world.
See one of my travel itinerary to give you inspiration: North America Travels.
Y is for…
Yellow School Bus: You might think the iconic big yellow school buses are just American, but you would be wrong. They are also around in Canada and they are a huge bucket list item for anyone’s summer travels.
Activities that begin with Y:
Z is for…
Ziplining: Z was hard, but an activity at camp is Ziplining, and it is so much fun. As someone who isn’t great with heights but loves thrills, ziplining is something I absolutely loved! Zipping through the trees is a fantastic reward for conquering the initial jelly legs of being so high!