Summer Camp Politics

My brother-in-law is setting up our large kiddie pool as I type. I can swim from one side to the other in 4 seconds, but it’s nice to have a small escape from the fore coming humid days of July.

Friday was the end of my first day of work. I get to camp a little before 8:30 am and leave about 5:30 pm–so I’m there for the majority of the day. I get paid less than minimum wage (as does most of the young counselors) but the whole thing seems to be perfectly legal since they’re known as one of the best summer camps in the state.

My sister used to compare her work environment to high school, but at my camp I’ve been introduced to what they call “camp politics”.

I’m one of four counselors part of the musical theater program there, and apparently our group is not a favorite of the other counselors. My friend Sally tells me a lot of people trash talk about our program and the director, Sue. I’ve had one girl complain about JMT (Junior musical theater) to me, of course I don’t get too offended, but I wish they had actual reasons for hating the arts so much. She just kept telling me that it “sucks”, she hates it, many kids dread going, and they should have kept the old schedule that way the campers who take JMT only take JMT the entire day and don’t do anything else.

How our schedule is set up for the campers is that they try different classes/activities during their day, and pick an activity they like to do in the afternoon (JMT is every afternoon for two hours).

I don’t get how people can hate musical theater so much. Especially when all we basically do is play group games, draw, and just sing a song or two occasionally. My friend Hailey who has worked there for a few years also doesn’t like it is because some of the songs are “kiddish”…but the campers are like from 3 to 10!  Should we switch to singing Fur Elise with our kindergartners right before drawing trees? We’ll just switch our production for the summer to the Phantom of the Opera.

The real drama started when two of my campers dropped after the first day, and Sue was a bit dramatic. She asked who their counselors were, and after I told her two names she started going on how they have always had “a negative energy” towards our program and that she sensed some “foul play” going on. She basically believes they have it in their personal agenda to slowly disable JMT.

Apparently, she’s known around camp as “a bit crazy” and “strange”.

The bigger rumor I heard a few days ago is that many of the counselors believe that Sue finds children who are possibly “gifted” (in the arts) and talks to their parents and ultimately forces them to take JMT so they have no choice to chose otherwise.

JMT is honestly the most stable, fun, less chaotic, part of my day. I really like all the other counselors in JMT, they’re genuinely nice, politically aware, interesting conversationalists, and honest.

When I work with my counselors in the 5th grade (the age group I follow around in the morning) they’re nice, but never let me know what I’m meant to do and occasionally include me in things. I’m really just an assistant so I’m supposed to float around and do whatever needs help. I occasionally end up lost somewhere or doing nothing for a whole hour. I always end up assigning myself tasks, finding things beyond our group to do, which is fine–self initiation is good. But annoying at times. They are just not very helpful or considerate all the time. But considering some counselors just disappear during their shift or scroll through Instagram all day, I’m still pretty lucky with my group. My sarcasm helps me fit in once in a while so it’s all good.

Ahhh I have more to share about camp! But I’ll save it for the next entry to not overwhelm your brains about paranoid drama teachers and musical hating counselors.

Have nice afternoons!




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