Five Things Movies Get Wrong about Summer Camp

Five Things Movies Get Wrong about Summer Camp

When the term ‘summer camp’ is brought up a lot of people will get a slew of images in their heads that range from the usual fun and hilarity to the downright nasty and possibly horrific since the typical summer camp experience has been used by Hollywood to show everything from the wild and zany to the downright trauma-inducing movies that a lot of us have grown up with. But there are plenty of things to take note of that real summer camps might get shut down for since the behaviors, the actions, and the hard to believe storylines that some movies have brought to us have been hilarious, but hardly ever real. I get it, that’s a huge downer for a lot of people that have enjoyed summer camp in the past, but the fact is that camps that host large groups of kids, whether they’re grade school age or older, tend to run on a very strict set of rules that are often set up by state mandate and by the camp itself since these places are responsible for the safety and well-being of a lot of kids, and as such, they need to hire staff that is at least halfway-competent and able to handle the job.

Here are a few things that Hollywood gets wrong about summer camps.

5. Counselors can ‘hook up’ with each other. It’s usually frowned upon but hard to stop.

There’s not supposed to be any hanky-panky between counselors but if two people are really bound and determined to hook up during the summer it’s hard to stop them. The thing is though, if they’re camp leaders and are responsible for a group of children, or all the children, then they need to be available at all times. Some camps have played fast and loose with this rule in the past, but what you’ve seen on Meatballs and in other movies isn’t exactly allowed in a lot of camps since it can create a lot of problems that can range from mundane and easy to fix to disruptive and worth firing someone over.

4. It’s okay to be super-competitive and exclude other campers. Nope, not in this era.

Being competitive is fine and all since it can inspire a lot of campers to do their best, but one has to be aware of how far a kid can be pushed and do their best to accommodate everyone as much as possible. It’s best if parents figure out which camp is best to send their kid to since sending a kid that’s interested in science camp to a football camp isn’t the best idea unless they’re into both ideas, at which point it might be kind of a hard decision. But assessing a camper’s comfort level and learning how far they can be pushed during camp activities has become a big concern since these days it’s almost certain that people might think ‘lawsuit’ if it feels as though their kid is being unduly pressured into something.

3. Sure, order a pizza. Just kidding, that’s not going to happen.

Camps will usually have their food supplies stocked and might allow snacks to be brought in by the campers, but don’t get the feeling that you can just order up Dominos or get GrubHub or Doordash to service your culinary needs whenever the mood strikes. The whole point of camp is to get away from this kind of stuff and to keep campers satisfied by serving them meals that aren’t always the greatest but will keep them fed and give them the kind of experience that they don’t typically get at home. So yes, if you’ve seen Heavyweights, sorry to inform you, but delivery services typically don’t extend to summer camps.

2. Counselors can use ‘motivation’ towards the campers. If it’s actually positive motivation then yes.

Referencing the movie Heavyweights again, this is a big no-no for counselors since motivation is great if it’s positive and it’s aimed at getting the campers pumped and ready for each day or for certain activities. But counselors are not allowed to yell, verbally, or emotionally abuse a camper, or even make them feel uncomfortable. A lot of camps frown on counselors swearing around the campers since it sets a bad example. But if you’re a counselor and you’re anything like Tony Perkis from the movie then it’s likely you won’t last a single season since kids come to camp to have fun and enjoy themselves, not to be terrorized by out of control counselors.

1. Breaking the rules gets a camper a time out. Some camps will request your parents to come and get you.

Some camps are going to be pretty forgiving of troublemakers and might have their own methods for trying to sort out the problem in order to understand if anything is bothering a truly rowdy kid, but there is a good chance that if you act up too much that the camp will call your parents to come get you. After all, the counselors have a bunch of other kids to think about and if a kid is really determined to be that disruptive then it’s best to remove them from the situation. Camps will do whatever they can to solve the problem, but don’t think that a time out with a bunch of Disney movies is going to be the solution.

It’s camp, it’s supposed to be fun, but it’s not prison, and certainly not supposed to be ‘counselors gone wild’.

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