20 Life Lessons Learned at Camp

1. Snipes cannot be caught with pie pans and wooden spoons.

2. You’re never as fat as your bathing suit makes you feel.

3. If you aren’t leaving camp with a new, previously unknown talent (like making a blue ribbon-worthy goat bleat in a state fair animal skit) that you didn’t have before you left home, you’re not trying hard enough.

4. Each campfire is as unique as a snowflake and equally as beautiful.

5. If you want to make leather rounder nametags and your best camp friend wants to learn the line dances to “The Lion Sleeps Tonight” and “Sugar Sugar,” leave the rounders for a rainy day.

6. When you do make a leather rounder nametag, don’t let the cute Goth boy make yours unless you don’t mind being known as “Deth” for the next few summers.

7. There is nothing as comforting as sharing a blanket of stars with your friends.

8. Alone, we all sing horribly. Together, we’re a symphony.

9. After you gather the courage to jump from the high dive and make the plunge, everything in life gets easier.

10. Even if the hand next to you in the dark is sticky, wet or cold when the camp sings “Taps,” don’t try to get away. They might be your next best friend having a bad day.

11. Take lots of pictures and hug your cabin mates (even the weird ones) often. Chances are, you’ll never see them again.

12. Hang out with people you don’t know. They’re more like you than you think.

13. Proper fire-building skills are equally as important as proper fire-extinguishing skills.

14. It’s easier to make a friend through a warm fuzzy even if some people are more deserving of a cold prickly.

15. Like candles dipped at the log cabin with a counselor dressed as a pioneer sporting neon jelly bracelets, each year’s camp experience melts into the last and makes beautiful light in the back of your memory during dark days.

16. Fish do not eat moldy cheese, saltines stuck to a hook with bubblegum or shoelaces with magic marker eyes.

17. Act out a skit with boys wearing makeup and no one remembers. Act out a skit with feathers, a water gun and a Barry Manilow song and no one forgets.

18. T-shirts made with permanent markers at camp, with inside-joke phrases like “Funner” and “Downstairs,” should not be worn in civilized society.

19. If the boy you ask to dance tells you to dance with his friend first but his friend looks a little weird, take the chance. He might be the funniest, sweetest guy in the entire camp.

20. Camp memories built on laughter and friendship last longer than anything you can make in the arts & crafts building -- except leather rounders with your name spelled wrong.

Beth Morrow is a teacher, author and Senior Week Program Director at Camp Hamwi in Danville, OH, though several of these lessons were learned during her formative years at Camp Ohio. Share your own camp life lessons here or with her at beth@bethmorrow.com