If I got a dollar for every time my camper asked me “Why?”, I’d be the richest camp counselor ever. Or maybe even the richest person ever (look out, Bill Gates). I love my campers, but sometimes I feel like the one who needs to check in to the nurse. The same repetitive questions may test your patience and push you to your breaking point, but they definitely keep summer interesting. Shoutout to campers for annoying the crap out of your counselors with questions, but all in all, we love how you make us feel like you’re our own kids by the end of the summer. It’s true: First they’re sour, then they’re sweet.
1. Can I have a piggyback ride? Will you carry me?
Don’t underestimate the weight of a seven year old. He may look small, but he doesn’t feel that way after you carry him uphill in 90-degree weather for 10 minutes. On the plus side, you’ll finally achieve that killer butt you’ve worked so hard for, no squats needed. “They always ask me for piggy-back rides, they ask countless times,” sophomore Lane Brodie from the Wheeling Jesuit University said. “I’m just like ‘No, you can walk. God gave you legs for a reason.’ The only time I carry them is when they’re hurt or being loud and I need to carry them out of assembly.”
2. When is lunch? Can I eat now? Why not?
With the number of times kids say, “I’m hungry,” you’d think they’re 16-year-old boys going through puberty. Apparently, kindergarteners need to eat every 30 minutes, too. For some reason two snack times a day on top of lunch still never satisfies the ever-hungry stomach of a child.
3. Can I drive the golf cart?
I’m not sure why six year olds think that you can trust them to operate a motor vehicle. Sorry kids, rules still apply at summer camp. Honestly, I barely trust my campers to walk from the bathroom to our classroom without disappearing or causing trouble.
4. Why do we have to do this?
From the group game of capture the flag, to going down the waterslide, to taking a bathroom break, you can always count on “Why?” to follow your every command. “One week I had [my campers] make paper fish… The project was simple enough [but] I had one little girl who honestly was just not down with the idea,” Temple University sophomore Courtney Bradshaw said. “Every couple minutes she would ask a different question like ‘Why are you cutting the fish like that? Why can’t I use this marker? Why can’t I use more glitter? Why are there no more googly eyes?’ I wanted to bang my head against the wall.”
5. What are we doing next?
The attention span of children amaze me. They’re worse than a puppy on Adderall when a family of squirrels dashes across a tree. Five minutes after every new activity they never fail to ask, “What’s next?” “It’s like I’m being interrogated because the questions come super fast; once you answer one, another appears,” University of Wisconsin-Madison sophomore Anna Inveiss said. “It’s like wack-a-mole with questions.”
6. When can I go home?
*They ask you 15 minutes after they arrive at camp* You think, “Is it me? Am I scaring the kids away?” Don’t worry, your campers love you and their camp experience, but sometimes they forget how much they love both. At least that’s what I keep telling myself.
7. Can I go to the nurse?
Kids think that every bump and scratch needs a nurse’s attention. Even the invisible injuries that counselors always double check. Sorry, but your foot pain from our hike in the woods does not require 911. “We had like two hang nails this week and of course they needed to go to the nurse to get a band aid…they go for the smallest reasons,” University of Maryland sophomore Ariana Donaldson said. “I love when they have invisible cuts…the ones that I cannot seem to find, but they swear they are there because they need a band aid.”
8. Is that your girlfriend/boyfriend? Are you married?
It’s camp, not E-harmony. Campers like to think that every time you talk to another counselor that must mean you guys date, and they have no shame in asking. And, no I’m not married. I’m 19.
9. Can I go to the bathroom? Can I go to the bathroom again?
You can’t possibly need to pee again. You just asked five minutes ago. But, taking another trek to the bathroom will avoid any dreaded “accidents,” so here we go. “These kids ask to go to the bathroom so many times,” Inveiss said. “Last week I counted and this one child asked to go to the bathroom 23 times…in one day.”
10. Can we go inside? *goes inside* Can we go outside?
On hot summer days, campers (or all of your campers) never fail to beg you to go inside to the cool air conditioning. Once you take them inside, they complain that they feel bored within five minutes, and they beg to go back out. Oh, the joys of counselor-hood.