May has flown by, and with June comes summer camp. Honestly, it snuck up on me. I was surprised to realize that, next week, I'll be sweating and playing Human Fooseball with a bunch of other teenagers under the viciously hot Texas sun. It's fun, I guess, and I'm looking forward to it. But there are several aspects of camp I don't necessarily enjoy, and I know I'm not the only one.
First is the lack of sleep. I'm not like most teenagers. I tend to go to bed early (ish) and wake up early (ish). While waking up at 7:00 every morning is nothing I don't already do, staying up until midnight is a test of my ability to keep my eyes open. And that's under normal circumstances. When a full day of physical activity, broiling sun, and socialization is thrown in, I'm exhausted by ten.
I've found two solutions to this problem. First, wear earplugs--and bring extra just in case you or someone else needs them. Second, bring an extra t-shirt that you don't plan on wearing. This t-shirt is preferably plain and soft, without beads or sparkles or anything that could irritate your skin. Simply place it over your face when you go to bed and fall asleep before the lights are out. Or, you could always buy a sleeping mask. Whatever lends buoyancy to your aquatic vessel.
Another plague of camp is the fact that you have to carry things around with you. Not very many things, of course--just a water bottle, probably a notebook, and maybe some snacks. If you decide to buy anything from the camp store, you're stuck toting it around until the next time you're scheduled to be in your cabin. Last year, I invested in a camp knapsack. Any old backpack, tote bag, or satchel will work, but I like my knapsack because it's light and roomy. It's also nice to have something that goes on your back or across your body (like a crossbody satchel) so you're less tempted to set it down somewhere and forget about it.
If you're camping in the woods, odds are, there will be bugs. Here in Texas, we have three-inch-long grasshoppers, mosquitoes the size of small birds, and more types of spider than I care to count. Bug spray will work, but my mom found a citronella bracelet at Walgreens last year. I just put it on my ankle, forgot about it, and spent the entire week bug-free. Personally, I also think that citronella smells great.
Have I mentioned the heat? Texas is notorious for its high temperatures, but since summer camps obviously occur in summer, heat is almost guaranteed. I'm still not very good at beating the heat. I tend to do whatever outside work I need to do in the mornings and evenings and stay either inside or at the pool in the afternoons, but that's not an option at camp. Unless you get heatstroke and are banished to the nurse's cabin, you're stuck outside during the hottest times of day.
Drinking water is one of the few ways to stay cool. My camp has water coolers situated at all of the outdoor activities. I bring my own water bottle so that I'm never without hydration and refill it when needed throughout the day. My water bottle of choice is a simple disposable one so that if I lose it, it's no big deal. Sports drinks are also great and help replace your electrolytes.
Your choice of clothing in the heat is paramount. I, like everyone, recommend light-colored, light-fabric, loose-fitting clothing. Do not, under any circumstances, wear a tank top under anything. It's not only another useless layer, but also very tight-fitting, which doesn't allow heat to escape. If you can, wear workout shirts--and, if you don't need pockets, workout shorts. Just make sure they're up to dress code.
And as far as sharing a bathroom with seventeen other people goes...I can't give you much advice. Just try to shower at a time of day when no one else showers, even if it means going to dinner with wet hair.
What are you looking forward to at camp this year--or, if you're an adult, what's your fondest memory of summer camp? And have you found some workout pants with pockets? Let me know in the comments below! God bless you, dear readers, and don't forget to like us on Facebook!
M. J. Piazza is a Jesus-loving, dog-walking country girl who just so happens to write books.