Thoughts from a (swim) camp counselor

Or a “saint” as my friend called me earlier today.

Even though this is my first time as a swim camp counselor, this is not my first summer dealing with munchkins.

For anyone who wants to work with kids, as a teacher, coach, etc, or people who want to have kids on their own some day, I’d suggest working at a day camp at least once in your life. It exposes you to all different kinds of kids.

In the end, the way you have to treat them is still the same: firm, fair, with sympathy, and no favorites (unless, of course, they are your kids).

Here’s a list of some of the types of kids I have encountered along the way:

  • The kid who is “too cool for school”
    • This kid always looks “miserable” and when you see them smiling they immediately frown
    • They never have fun unless their friends are with them, and if they’re not, they’re sassy as anything
    • Everything “sucks” or is “no fun”
    • And my personal favorite quote from the summer, “[Camper’s name here] you have to uncross your arms for this activity”
  • The Troublemaker
    • The classic pain in the butt
    • This is the kid who never pays attention, then feigns the innocent act when asked to do something because, of course, they have ZERO clue what is going on
    • Then, when you try to reprimand them, they turn around and walk away (or go underwater if you’re in the pool)
    • This is the child you say the same thing to at least 6 different times a day and it still does not make contact with their brain
  • The Know-It-All
    • The kid who knows everything and refuses to take instruction
    • They tend to wonder why they’re in a certain group/level and why they’re not at the top
    • They believe that they can do it all, without any help, and will come out on top/in first place
  • The Level-5 clinger
    • The child who hangs on you ALL THE TIME
    • Whether you’re in the pool, walking, or sitting down, they are hanging all over you
    • They’re always the first to grab your hand and any time you try to pull them off, they throw a fit
  • The Cry Baby
    • The child who, even after the FIFTH week of camp, still doesn’t want to leave mommy or daddy
    • It’s the same thing every morning at drop off and continues until about 10 or so then they calm down
    • This happens everyday for the entirety they are in camp
  • The Sneaky Cry Baby/Tattletale
    • This is the kid who will rough house with other kids, then they get hit, and suddenly it’s a big deal
    • It’s “okay” if they hit other campers, but when it’s returned to them, they get hysterical and “tell” on whoever did it
    • They usually provoke everything
  • The Kid who knows all the Counselors
    • This is the kid who is usually the oldest of the group and usually, in regard to swimming, is the most advanced
    • They think that since they know the counselors on a different level than some of the younger campers, they can get “special treatment” (which includes getting away with certain things or switching out their ice pop)
    • These kids can be more sneaky than the cry baby
  • The Questioner
    • My personal favorite, because this was me as a kid (apologies to any of my teachers reading this)
    • This kid always has a question to everything their superior/teacher/coach says
    • “Why are we doing this?” “Why can’t we to that?” “When are we going to do that?”
    • Who, what, when, where, and why are their best friend and your worst nightmare (again, sorry to those I pestered :D)

This is what I have observed and dealing with so many different types of kids is definitely preparing me for my own (which is a very, VERY long time away). Hands on training before the actual test is always a good thing. After all, practice makes perfect.


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