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Ah summer school, the activity invented by educational institutions wherein the amount of content normally reserved for 15 to 18 weeks is ground down, dehydrated, vacuum sealed, and divvied out over the course of 28 to 42 brief days.

Don’t get me wrong, sticking in an extra class before the next semester has its benefits, but it’s not for everyone. Does spending your summer in a beautiful place with rock solid people doing fulfilling work sound like a better time than sitting under fluorescent lights or doing endless online quizzes? Stay tuned. Here are 3 reasons why being a camp summer staffer is more beneficial than taking summer classes.

1. You’ll Almost Certainly Make More (and Better) Friends

The next time you hear about two people starting up a deep and substantive friendship by discussing Partial Differential Equations, or the Expansion of Western European Civilization, you let me know. I’m not saying it can’t happen, but here’s the thing: meaningful friendships aren’t formed by sharing knowledge, they’re formed by sharing experiences.

At camp, you get to share unique, meaningful experiences with other amazing people who were willing to step out of their comfort zones to serve a purpose bigger than themselves. Sound like the type of folks you might want to have as friends? Great, cause that’s only the beginning. After having experience after experience, you may wake up to find out the hooligans you’ve been doing life with for the past month or two look less like friends and more like family. It won’t be perfect, but it sets you up for solid relationships that will mean more to you than Equations or European Expansion ever could.

2. Camp is Basically Recess

You haven’t forgotten about recess right? You haven’t forgotten those fleeting minutes of freedom and exploration? Well, your summer linear algebra class sure did, but Camp didn’t. In fact, games, fun, and exploration are a huge part of what Camp is about. On one level, those enjoyable activities foster deeper relationships and break down personal walls in people’s lives – leading to a deeper level of vulnerability and potential life change. On another level, if people don’t enjoy themselves, they won’t come back to Camp. If people don’t come to Camp, then I end up standing in a line outside the unemployment office in the snow, and nobody wants to see that. The point is, Camp provides a number of opportunities to cut loose and have some wholesome, unfettered fun. Hey, maybe algebra can compete, but I doubt it.

3. You Will Be a More Interesting, Attractive Individual

Allow me to peer into your future for just a second. Mmmm, yep, there it is. After this next summer is over, you’re going to have some people come up to you, and they’re going to ask you questions:

“How was your summer?”

“What did you do?”

You’re going to have to answer those questions with something. That “something” may be super interesting or super lame, but the good news is that you get to decide now what you’re going to tell those people later. For instance, you could tell them that you “took some summer classes” (an acceptable answer which will garner a polite “oh, and how was that?”) or you could say that you “navigated a sheer cliff face while leading a group of young adults along a Via Ferrata, got down and dirty serving the guests of a non-profit organization, and saw the next generation experience God in a whole new way – maybe even for the first time” (not to mention you would be saying all this while rocking a sweet suntan).

Which story do you want to tell?


About the Author

  • Alan Henson is an employee of Eagle Adventure Camps. He has a bachelor’s degree and does not hate higher education nearly as much as this article might lead you to believe. Any mistakes in this article are probably his fault.
  • Lester Monsey contributed great ideas to this article. He’s an all-around good guy and can grow a thick, luscious beard.