Day Camp Micro-stories

My job as a day camp counselor ended a few days ago. I can’t even begin to tell you everything that happened over the summer, so I’ll stick to telling short little micro-stories about the fun and sometimes insane times I had with my campers.

Story 1: Fish hooks are for fish, silly

One of my kids got a fish hook stuck in his leg, if you can believe it. Here I was just sitting on my lifeguard stand doing my job when this boy comes running up to the stand. I half ignored him at first, because I was trying to focus on scanning (waterfront lifeguarding is the opposite of fun). But I heard him say something to the effect of, “Mumble mumble mumble in my leg.”

At that point, I looked down to see him clutching his thigh. “I got a fish hook stuck in my leg,” he repeated.


I quickly had the other lifeguard take over total coverage for me while I dealt with the hook. Unfortunately, it hadn’t poked all the way through, and the barb was too big for me to pull out. His mom came to get him a little while later to take him to get it removed. He was back the next day. Tough little guy.

Story 2: The rocket

On the lighter side, a couple of my campers found an unwrapped (clean) tampon and had no idea what to make of it. “It’s like a little rocket!” my boy camper exclaimed with joy. I had the worst time trying not to laugh my butt off as I took it and threw it away. The best part was that I got to tell his dad about it at church that Sunday.

Story 3: In which I hurt myself

On Tuesday (fricken’ Tuesday!) of my last (LAST) week of camp, I somehow managed to get my toenail yanked off during a field game. Let me revise that. I somehow managed to get my toenail almost all the way yanked off. See, it was sticking straight up, hanging by the smallest of bits of skin on the left side of the base.

Are you cringing yet? Now imagine how I felt.

Of course, given that this was the last week of camp, I wasn’t at all willing to go home early. I loved my campers and I didn’t want to say goodbye before I absolutely had to. So I decided to stick it out. Have you ever tried hiking with your toenail torn off? Don’t.

For whatever reason, I wasn’t allowed to tell my campers what happened. So of course, that was the only thing they wanted to talk about. Eventually, I got fed up with the questions and told them that an gator got into the lake and bit my toe off and the hospital had to sew it back on. The kids didn’t believe me (I think), but they did mostly stop asking questions.

Story 4: Skipper

At the beginning of the summer, I resolved to not have these kids butchering my name all summer long. I’ve worked with kids before, so I know that “Susannah” can be both impossible for their minds to remember and hard for their mouths to pronounce. So I gave myself a nickname.

My group was called the First Mates, so I decided to call myself “Skipper.” After a week, the name stuck fast. As the summer went on, a few funny things came of my nickname.

First, one of my campers was mortified when he accidentally called me “Stripper” instead of “Skipper.” Of course, I couldn’t let that go, so I teased him until his ears turned pink and then let him off the hook. You should have seen the look of relief on his face.

One of my younger campers loved to play UNO in the evenings. He was a wild little guy, and every time he skipped me, he would yell “Skip Skipper!” at the top of his lungs. It was great to let everyone around us know I was getting trashed at UNO by a six-year-old. I have about ten different stories about this camper alone, but I’ll save them for another time.

Finally, one of my campers came up to me and said, “I have a gift for you.” I’m not sure what I expected, but it was not a five inch long brass plaque with the word “Skipper” engraved on it. 0712161928I was touched and a little confused, but I thanked her and gave her a hug anyway. I’m going to hang it on the door of my apartment when I get there in a few days.

That’s about all I have room for in this post. I’m sure I’ll think up some other stories to tell you about in the future. But for now, know that I had an awesome summer. I’m really going to miss my campers, especially the ones who came every day.

I should be posting a bit more regularly now that I actually, you know, have wifi. In about a week, I’ll probably have a post about my new apartment. Can’t wait to show you all.


Do you have any crazy stories from your summer? Let me hear them in the comments.


Camp Clumsy

If you didn’t already know this, I am incredibly clumsy. Therefore, I tend to hurt myself a lot. It’s not always something big. I might just jam my fingers or develop a bruise of unknown origins. But it happens All. The. Time. At camp, my clumsiness is even worse.

At home, I tend to stay locked away in my room writing or reading (my family calls my room “The Cave”). I don’t get injured very often then. However, at the summer camp where I work as a lifeguard, I’m almost always up and moving about. I’m not allowed to bring my laptop with me, so I’m forced to leave my bunk and socialize, which, if I’m being honest, is probably good for me. I go on hikes, play with kids, play billiards, and generally wander around. Of course, there’s also the pool where I work. It has lots of slippery surfaces and sun exposure and random really heavy umbrella stands (I skinned my right thumb the first week trying to move one of the stands), so of course I’m going to hurt myself there. In addition to the skinned thumb, I also got badly sunburned on my shoulders, thighs, and the tops of my feet that first week. The shoulders and thighs weren’t so bad, but the pain from the feet was radiating down the inside of my feet making it a bit difficult to walk.

And then there’s the bugs. This don’t have as much to do with clumsiness on my part (although, I have stupidly wacked myself in the face in an ambitious attempt to kill a horsefly. Curse them!), but they are still something that cause me extra pain and frustration. We’ve got mosquitos, horseflies, deerflies, wasps, and plenty of giant spiders. Of course, that’s only listing the ones that bite and/or sting. The mosquitos and spiders actually bother me the least. We’ve got a truck that sprays stuff to kill mosquitos, and unless you spend an inordinate amount of time in the woods, the spiders won’t bother you. Mainly, it’s the horseflies and deerflies. The wasps, especially the mud daubers will leave you alone for the most part, but the horse and deerflies are aggressive little things. They will chase you all the way from wherever you came from to wherever you’re going. If they don’t bite you, it’s because you or someone else killed them. Their tenacity would be impressive if it wasn’t so annoying. Also, I’ve about decided that I’m allergic to deerflies.Every time one of them bites me, I get massive one or two inch welts in the same spot. I’ve got one on my foot right now that driving me up the wall!

The point I’ve been trying to make here is that I get injured a lot. It’s not always my fault (but it usually is). My friend and fellow lifeguard, Sharon, actually has a specific look for those occasions of pain and humiliation. It’s something between consternation and pity. I see it quite often, usually accompanied by the phrase, “Oh my word.”

Every summer since I started working at camp I get to the point where I promise myself, “I’m not going to get hurt this week.” This week, it didn’t work out (not entirely my fault; someone ran over me while trying to tag a kid), so I’m going to have try harder next week.

Ugh. Pray for me.

My Future Laptop Withdrawal

I work for one of the most amazing summer camps ever. They do an amazing job of showing kids a fun time while teaching them the love of Christ. I’ve met some of my best friends there and have had many of my own adventures. But every place has its drawbacks, and unfortunately, I will not be able to bring my computer along for the ride this year. I’m sorry, faithful readers, but come June, you’re going to have to get used to not seeing posts from me very often. Don’t worry. I will be returning to the usual semi-regular posting schedule as soon as the summer is over.

To combat my laptop (and writing) withdrawal, I’m going to be working on a comic that I’ve been planning. Right now, I’m trying to up my usual cartooning skills. I’ve drawn this little guy for practice.

His name is Jay.

His name is Jay.

What do you think?