A Day in the Life of a Camper

There’s no such thing as a “typical day at camp.” As the following vignettes from four very different summer programs attest, every camp is different.

That’s why it’s so important for parents to carefully research available programs and to match their children with the ones that are best suited to their personalities and interests. Each of these descriptions, written by a camp insider, offers a glimpse of what really happens at camp.

Saint Mary’s School Sports Camp

Raleigh, NC

I was excited but nervous this morning as I was getting ready for my first day at sports camp. I got there 20 minutes early because I couldn’t wait to start camp. At first, I was extremely anxious about meeting new people, but, once I got to camp, my worries disappeared.

I met some other campers who also arrived early, and the counselors encouraged us to play together with the basketballs and the beach volleyballs. It was so much fun! After all the campers had arrived, we separated into our assigned groups and met our group counselors and group mates. The counselors and staff were awesome. The counselors of my group were incredibly nice and funny. My group came up with some cheers to show the others that we had a ton of camp spirit!

Then, we were off to our stations and activities. Our first activity was basketball. I learned lots of skills, including dribbling and passing. We even got to play a big game with my group. Next, my group went to the soccer field to learn the basics of soccer. I learned how to dribble and kick a soccer ball. Then we played a mini soccer game. That really taught me how to work as a team in order to score.

When soccer was over, my group went to the mystery station. That was one of my favorite parts of the day because we didn’t know what the mystery station would be until we got there. After the mystery station, we ate lunch. There was a whole variety of food to choose from, including peanut butter and jelly and turkey sandwiches. Today, I had turkey sandwich. It was yummy! I ate and talked with my new friends and my funny counselors.

After lunch, we relaxed for a while. We watched a movie and made some cool bracelets. Then, we had swim time. I swam and played different swimming games with my group mates and counselors. When swimming was over, it was time to go back to our group areas to wait for our parents to pick us up. That gave me time to say good-bye to my new friends and counselors.

The next morning, I arrived at camp a little early again. I got so excited when I walked into the gym and saw my new friends from the day before. Some of the girls were talking about how much fun they’d had as overnight campers. They had gone out to dinner with the other boarders, and then they went to a Durham Bulls game and got a behind the scenes tour! They were talking about their fun activities planned for the rest of the week. I hope I can be a boarder next year, and I really hope I can come to school here one day.

Camp Winding Gap

Today is my first whole day at camp. We woke up early this morning because all of us are so excited about all the activities we are doing today. When we arrived at camp yesterday, we took a tour, met a lot of the animals and found out what all the programs are about. Then we signed up for our first three days of activities. I want to do horseback riding while I am here. I get to do that later this afternoon.

But first, we are all going down to Flag Ceremony and then we’ll go eat breakfast. It’s really cool how all the counselors sit at the heads of our tables, and we can sit anywhere we want to. My cabin is going to be the “Hoppers: today, so we sit right next to the counselors and “hop” up to get the food. After all-camp silly songs, we go back to the cabins before our first activity period. In the mornings we can do three activities. It’s really nice because we aren’t rushed; there is plenty of time between activities in case we have to change clothes.

This morning I am going to the Farm Animal Program to help feed all the animals. There’s even is a brand new litter of puppies! After that, I have guitar lessons, and then I am going to the Climbing Tower. Then, for 15 minutes before lunch, everyone does “farm chores.” The Hoppers (that’s me) set the tables for lunch while the other cabins do sweep the porches, exercise and pick up trash.

After lunch, we go back to the cabins for Rest Hour. All the cabins are in the shady woods. so it is nice and cool. After Rest Hour I have my swimming lesson. At first I didn’t want to go, but now I am so glad I did! We don’t just do boring strokes over and over, we get to play very cool games with really fun instructors.

Next the whole camp takes a break from the hot afternoon at the Camp Canteen. We are allowed to get snacks and drinks, and we all hang out together in the shade. It’s a great time to talk with all the counselors and my friends from other cabins.

Next is the last activity of the day, and today I get to go the Riding Program. Tonight we’re having a cabin cookout. We’ll learn to make a cooking fire, and we’ll help prepare the meal. After dinner we are making s’mores and playing some games together as a cabin group so we can get to know each other. After such a terrific first day, everyone will be ready to sleep so we can do even more fun stuff tomorrow!

Camp Flintlock

7 a.m.

What’s that noise? Where am I? What’s this around my neck?

Oh, yeah. That’s the necklace I made yesterday out of animal bone, glass from Europe and leather thong. I can’t wait to tell my parents about how the Colonial settlers traded beads, knives, and other things with the native Indian peoples of America.

I thought this camp was going to be different, but — Wow! — it’s more different than I thought. Oh, here comes the counselor to wake us up.

10 a.m.

I can’t believe all the things we did in just one morning. After wakeup, I was on the team that collected “squaw wood.” (Squaw wood is small, fallen limbs for starting fires.) One team was chopping wood into kindling, one cooking breakfast, and another doing other chores. I’ll enjoy it when my team cooks breakfast tomorrow. We learn how to make a fire, and we get a special medallion when we pass the Fire Safety class. For breakfast, we had scrambled eggs, grits, oatmeal, hoe cake, fresh fruit, butter, preserves, and side meat with brown sugar in it. Yum.

Later, we shot the Flintlock Musket. I’ve never shot a gun before, but I hit the target. It was cool. I learned about 18th-century weapons: the difference between a smooth-bore musket and a rifle, how black powder guns are loaded from the “muzzle” instead of the “breech,” and especially about gun safety. After that, we made real moccasins.

2 p.m.

I’m going to wear my moccasins for the rest of the week. They’re very comfortable. I’ve made lots of friends; the counselors help us work together. We’re going to perform a talent show act that we practiced during free-time today.

7 p.m.

We’ve done so much, and there are still three days left. I made a felt hat. It’s magic the way you can turn wool fibers into a felt hat, pouch or shoes. I learned to throw the tomahawk, too. It almost stuck in the target; maybe I’ll get lucky on Friday.

At the camp store, I bought an arrowhead, a folding fan (for Mom), a mouse hawk (for my little brother), some toy soldiers, and a chess set (for Dad). I wonder what I’ll buy today? I think I’ll at least get a bamboo flute; they’re only a dollar!

I have to go. It’s time for spinning and weaving. Mom and Dad aren’t going to believe it when I tell them that I can cook, clean, spin, and weave now.

10 p.m.

It’s been a great day. I really enjoy the readings about the men who were captured by Indians. I’d better get some sleep so I can have fun tomorrow!

Surf Camp at Wrightsville Beach

After seeing the movie Blue Crush, learning how to surf was all I could think about. So I signed up for Surf Camp at Wrightsville Beach. During our drive from Raleigh, images of waves and beaches filled my thoughts with anticipation. I was about to explore four different islands, go canoeing, tour a real sea turtle hospital and an aquarium, and fish the gulf stream on a charter boat. I couldn’t wait!

When we arrived at UNC-Wilmington’s Suites, my heart raced with excitement. After unpacking my stuff, we sat down for orientation and got to meet everyone. I could not believe that there were five instructors for the 15 of us beginner surfers.

I simply could not wait to get to the beach, but it seemed that all the director wanted to talk about was, safety this and safety that. Shortly after, we drove down to Wrightsville Beach and got on a pontoon boat and headed to Masonboro Island. The boat was loaded with more surfboards than I had ever seen! After a sweet boat ride, we lathered on some sunscreen and grabbed our gear. This island was so cool, it did not even have a house or dock on it, and we were practically the only people there.

I was ready to hit the surf, but Rick, the director, started talking about safety again. We learned about rip currents, marine life and the buddy system. Then, we paddled our surfboards on the sound side of the island. This was actually pretty cool because I learned how to handle my surfboard without being in the waves.

After waxing our boards, we broke up into really small groups and spread out along the surf. I had two other girls in my group, and we had our very own instructor, so I felt very safe. For the next couple of hours, Jen, my instructor, picked out waves for us to take and pushed us into them. Jen was so encouraging that after a couple of waves I was standing up and surfing all the way into the beach!

After an incredible day, we returned to campus, took showers and went out to this great restaurant to eat. We actually got to pick our meal from the menu. Later that night, we watched some video of our day surfing. I don’t think I’ve ever laughed so hard. By 10:00 p.m., we were all so tired that everyone went to sleep. Just think: This was just the first day! We’ve got six more to go!