Camp Lessons I Learned After 20 Years at Camp

camp lessons

This is a guest blog post by Samantha Townley, our wonderful director of Senior Outpost and Outpost After School Care. Click here to read Samantha’s previous post, You Know You’re a Camp Counselor When…

Why does camp matter? Why does it seem to make such a huge impression on our lives? Why do “camp people” think it’s so important for kids to go to camp? Well I can’t answer for everyone else, but for me, it all starts with the thousands of camp lessons I learned over my years of camp life.

I’ve been going to camp for around fifteen years, and each year brings new lessons. Sometimes, I learn the same thing over and over again, and other times, one moment leaves an impression on the rest of my life. Here are some of the best lessons I’ve learned over the years.


  • Being yourself is cool.
  • Everybody wants and deserves a good friend.
  • There is nothing wrong with a little bit (or a lot) of dirt.
  • If you work hard to earn something, it feels a lot better than if it was just handed to you.
  • It’s okay to lose and to fail.
  • Ask questions.
  • Trying to look cool doesn’t work. Eat your spaghetti with your hands.
  • The best of friends don’t have to talk every day, they just know they’re there.
  • Don’t make judgements based on others opinions – form your own.
  • You may not be the best at something. It’s okay, and it doesn’t make you a less valuable person.
  • Being a leader means more than just being in charge.
  • It’s hard to give up being a camper.
  • Sometimes, campers are very wise.
  • Take time to get to know every camper.
  • Group secrets and inside jokes are the best.
  • When things don’t go as planned, a sense of humor can usually save the day.
  • Friendships that start at camp are unlike any other.
  • If you get to know them, its hard not to like every one of your campers.
  • Calling your campers “your kids” will confuse a lot of people.
  • The people you work with can become your best friends.
  • Sometimes, all a person needs is a hug.
  • Mornings are not functional without coffee.
  • Acrylic paint NEVER comes out of hair.
  • Paint your body from head to toe, let the campers make you into a human sundae, roll around in the mud, and wear your duck dynasty pants to high ropes course.
  • Summer will go by faster than you think every year.
This is just a short list of the thousands of lessons I’ve learned at camp. I’d love to hear what else you’ve learned, so share comment and let me know!


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