What to Expect at Camp

What Should I Expect At Camp? Many people ask us this question each year and thanks to New Jersey Easter Seal Camp Merryheart for allowing us to reprint this fine depiction of camp work.

As you approach a position in camping, probably the single most important thing to realize is that it will not be like anything you’ve ever experienced! In most ways, that’s a good thing. But there are some things that may be unpleasant surprises, too. The following list is your “Cliff’s Notes” to the summer/weekend. What you should expect and some things you shouldn’t. We are confident that 99% of volunteers who have worked with us would wholeheartedly agree that these lists accurately describe camp.


What should I expect?

  • To have fun.
  • To make some of the best friends you have ever had.
  • To be exhausted.
  • To feel good about the work you’ve done.
  • To learn a lot about others and myself.
  • To find out how strong your sense of humor really is.
  • To be frustrated.
  • To work very hard.
  • To laugh.
  • To do some of the most embarrassing things I’ve ever done – and to have a great time doing them.
  • To be outdoors – a lot.
  • To gain more from the experiences than I bargained for. Much more.
  • To never have thought a camp session could go so slowly and so quickly at the same time.
  • To miss home and occasionally wonder why I came.
  • To work very long hours.
  • To learn.
  • To wonder when you will be able to do some things by yourself (laundry, writing a letter)
  • To hate the sound of your own name.
  • To feel needed.
  • To cry when it’s time to say goodbye

What I shouldn’t expect…

  • To be on vacation.
  • To be asked to do things you’re unable to do.
  • To be allowed to have a “camp romance” at the expense of the campers you are working with.
  • To be bored.
  • Hotel accommodations.
  • A lot of privacy.
  • Things to always go how you plan them.
  • To have my own needs met, all of the time.
  • To be told what to do and how to do things all day long.
  • To be free to do whatever you wish to do, even on your own time.
  • A lot of contact with the outside world.
  • To ever regret your camp experience.



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