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Camp Terms

Here are some common terms that we use at camp and refer to throughout this camp resource website. As you may know, camp sometimes has a language of its own! See a common camp term or word that’s missing? Submit your own to add to our camp knowledge.

Camp Counselor: A camp counselor is someone who is responsible for a cabin of children during a week of camp. Typically camp counselors are paired with a “Co” counselor to assist with the weeks duties. A good camp counselor is someone who is able to guide their campers through the week, engage with each of their campers, and helps each camper experience a memorable time. Camp is a place where adults are expected to leave their egos at home (you never know when you will be asked to sing a song, roll around in mud, or eat a bowl of spaghetti with a spoon).

Camp Director: Generally the paid staff member who is responsible for overseeing the facilities, staff, and programs. This position may be seasonal (such as summer only) or year-round. This position may also include on-site housing.

Camper: A camper is a child who is attending camp and is there to enjoy themselves. They are typically between 8 – 14 years old. Many campers attend camp every summer.

Campfire: a high-energy, camp-wide gathering usually at the end of the camp day. Often times campfire is held outside (around a fire!), at night, so campers can gather around the warmth, sing songs and share stories, and look up at the beautiful endless night sky.

Chant: a shorter version of a song, often a few words or a few lines meant to be said loudly and proudly! A camp chant can be competitive like There Ain’t No Flies on Us or repetitive and dreadful (in a fun way) like Announcements.

CIT/LIT: This is a term used to describe campers who are in transition to leadership roles. “CIT” refers to Counselor-in-Training, and “LIT” refers to Leadership-in-Training. Camps may use these terms interchangeable; the former may have more of a focus on the transition from camper to camp counselor, whereas the latter could refer to a general teen leadership program at the camp.

Devotions: A quiet, thoughtful time at the end of day for campers to reflect. It is a great time to recap the events of the day, discuss the theme of the day, and share personal challenges or highlights.

Icebreakers: An activity or game designed to welcome (often) strangers together who will become members of a group together; often these are team-building exercises.

Mealtime: when we eat! Generally this is the time of the day when the entire camp gathers together for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and sometimes snack times and evening late-night snacks or dessert.

Session Director: This position may be a paid or volunteer role. For camps that have volunteer directors, their role is to plan and implement the camp session including, recruiting volunteer camp counselors, assisting with camper sign ups, and supervising camp counselors and assistant directors during the camp session.

Skits: A short informal performance intended to entertain, educate or inform. Usually a sketch comedy or improv performance. Sometimes camp skits can have a meaning or allegory, like The Twilight Zone’s Beauty is the Eye of the Beholder. Or, camp skits can be funny with a light-hearted punch line like the Invisible Bench.

Song: a set of words, usually with a chorus and verses, set to music or meant to be sung. A camp song can be interactive like Pop See Ko or repeat-after-me like boom chicka boom.

Theme: A subject, idea, or thought meant to characterize and define your session; ties all the pieces together.

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