10 things your kid won’t tell you about summer camp.

summer camp storiesAs a parent of a camper, you’ve spent countless days (or weeks, or months) researching summer programs for kids  in pursuit of answering the question “Which summer camp is right for my child?” (and, congratulations…you’ve obviously come to the right place.)   Very carefully, you planned your summer schedule to coincide with summer camp pick-up and drop-off days, Visiting Days, and Horse Shows (for the parents of our little equestrians).  And…let me guess…the night before summer camp started, you dedicated yourself to the cause of trying to pack an ungodly amount of clean underwear, sunscreen, and clothes you may never see again into your kid’s duffel bag?

So now they are here at The Greatest Camp in the Universe but you’re still not sure if they’re eating enough, or showering enough, or making new friends, or recording their experiences in that journal you gave them.  By now, you have probably sent them a BunkNote or two or seven, and sent snail mail and care packages aplenty.  You’ve probably checked the summer camp photo gallery in hopes of glimpsing their sweet little smile.  How unfair it seems then, after all this careful planning and worrying and letter-writing and phone calls, that when you ask your child, “How is summer camp?” all they reply with is “It’s fun.”

After 109 years in the summer camp game…we’ve learned that your child is extremely likely to have a brilliant summer here at Pok-O-MacCready, but less likely to divulge all the details with you.


1.  “Mom?  Who’s mom?”  It’s so surprising how quickly your kid will get sucked up into the outrageous fun of summer camp, that any initial feelings of homesickness will be but a distant memory.

2. They’ll have made up a secret handshake with another camper before the end of the first day.  Your kid will have an easier time making friends at summer camp than you think, and you will soon discover how impressively independent they have been all along.

3. Lord of the Flies.  Your son may shun clothing and will fight tooth-and-nail to avoid showering at summer camp.  summer camp clubs

4. Nice effort with the labels on all of your kid’s belongings…but it’s still going to get mixed up with other campers’ stuff.  But don’t worry…if we can decipher their name on an item that’s been left behind here at summer camp, we’ll send it home.  Except stinky socks.  We won’t touch those (and, you’re welcome.)

5.  Summer love interest.  Especially if your kid is a teenager, he or she may have developed a summer camp crush this season.  But they probably won’t tell you about it (so don’t ask.)

6. Mealtime mayhem.  They will not tell you exactly how many times they’ve opted for peanut butter and jelly at meals while at summer camp because the truth will shock you.  They also won’t tell you they’ve eaten zucchini bread or meatloaf because they don’t want YOU to know they don’t mind the stuff and it’s actually kinda good.

7. They sometimes approach swim class with great disdain, begging not to go in to the freezing lake…and at the end of class they’ll beg to not have to come out.  They’ll get scared senseless with the occasional Homestead ghost story.  They’ll make tie-dye t-shirts and their hands will be all the colors of the rainbow for days.  While at summer camp they will play some of the most confusing and wonderfully bizarre games ever created.  We think it’s hilarious…and they absolutely love it.

summer camp friends8. They desperately want to come back next summer.  According to the American Camp Association, the typical summer camp child return rate is about 60 percent, and 92 percent of campers surveyed say the people at summer camp ‘helped me feel good about myself.’

9. Your child will suffer from a “post-summer-camp funk”.  When summer camp is over, your kid will walk around like a zombie for 2 to 3 days mumbling incomprehensible summer camp slang.  They will play strange games at the dinner table to determine who will clean up that night’s meal (and F.Y.I., when you say the word “tonight” at the dinner table, they will break out into song).  They will tell you lots of stories involving people you’ve never met before who have strange nicknames like Chipper, Tink, and Garbanzo.  And when you ask them for clarification with a befuddled look on your face, they will say “You wouldn’t get it….it’s a summer camp thing.”

10. We work at summer camp because we love your kids–and we’ll probably do it again next year. (According to the ACA, the average return rate for summer camp staff is 40 to 60 percent.) Jobs at summer camp are way more fun than jobs in the “real world”.  And really…let’s be honest:  summer camp is worlds more fun as a counselor than it is as a camper.

-adapted specially for Pok-O from the original summer camp article in Reader’s Digest.
-Pok-O-MacCready is an American Camping Association Accredited Camp.


Pok-O-MacCready Camps
1391 Reber Road, Willsboro, NY 12996

Located in New York’s Adirondack Mountains

[email protected]

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