The People You Meet At Young Life Camp

I've been involved with Young Life for the better part of 14 years, and have been to / worked at my fair share of camps. During all of the weekends/weeks/months spent at camp, I've realized that there are certain "characters" that show up every time, without fail. Let me introduce you to them... (this is not to be taken toooo seriously, but it is just true enough to be funny.)

FRANNIE!!! #thelodgeonleslie

1) The Camp Musician - The camp musician is the most sought-after person in camp. Yes, everyone comes to know and love the speaker and the program guys, but the person they really want to play frisbee-golf with is the musician. They could be a cool 26-year-old straight out of Nashville, or a 40-something dad of 3, it doesn't matter, they're the coolest guy in camp. (And for that week, a huge celeb.)

2) The Work Crew boss who's barely hanging on because it's week three and she hasn't left the laundry room in 4 days and she's really trying to be all "OH BOY" and everything but someone please bring me a Cheerwine Slush!

3) The Cute Program Guy - There's always that one guy on program that all of the high-school girls fall in love with, and also try to set their single girl leader up with (especially if they've already tried and failed with the musician). And let's be honest, the single girl leaders have probably already had a conversation in a quiet corner of the leader lounge about both the cute musician and the cute program guy. I digress, the cute program guy is quite often playing the part of the villain for the week, which I think just adds to the allure because of the whole bad-boy thing. Also, the cute program guy usually seems to know that he's the cute program guy (reluctantly or not) which makes him avoid all contact with camper girls and single girl leaders at all costs.
Burnsville YL at Carolina Point - Summer 2015

4) The Camp Speaker that learns almost every camper's name and a little bit about them every. single. week. HOW DOES HE DO THAT?!

5) The program guy who's got a black-eye and a broken finger because he got a little too carried away with the Obstacle Course sell during week 2. - I guarantee you all just thought of someone specific. I have a friend who was supposed to swing on a rope from the back of the stage and break through a giant paper screen at the end of the camp tour video, but something happened and he wound up flying face-first into the crowd. Instead of trying to catch him or break his fall, the sea of high schoolers parted and he landed on the floor. On his face. Whoops.

6) The Good Looking Head-Leader and/or Good Looking Spouse - These people get a separate category from the cute program guy because they're the ones that the campers spend all week trying to figure out who the heck they are. They might make an appearance in the dining hall for meals, in the back of the club room, or even at the pool, but since they aren't up front, they are a mystery to every high schooler that week.

With Emily and Caroline Fontenot at SharpTop Cove this
past summer (2015).
7) THAT Girl Leader - You know the one. She has all the appropriate YL Leader swag - Kavu cross-body bag (when I was in college, it was a MountainSmith fanny pack on steroids), chacos + chaco tan, 107 different colors of Nike running shorts, the cutest one-piece at the pool, a water bottle covered in YL stickers, a stainless steel coffee mug, an impressive stack of assorted bracelets, and a big giant DSLR camera with a neck strap she bought on Etsy. She's the first to volunteer for anything and you better believe she was in the "Example Group" during the square dance. All the other girl
leaders kind of wish they were her, or at the very least wish they were her bestie because she's also probably friends with at least 3 people on the assigned team, which instantly makes her cool by association. You can most likely find her at the pool or the craft cart because she's just finished having some "really sweet time" with one of her girls over a milkshake from the snack bar or while browsing for earrings and t-shirts in the store. I've been that girl. I've also seen those girls and wished I was more like them. #ComparisonIsTheThiefOfJoy - or did you not see that written in her enviably incredible and pretty and cool and all the things handwriting on the front of her journal when she took it out to take notes during the leader meeting?

8) THAT Guy Leader - He's basically the guy version of that girl. He's the effortlessly cool, chaco tanned, Kavu visor wearing guy doing backflips off the blob, encouraging any and everyone around him on the camp hike, and always talking his guys into wearing something ridiculous to meals. During the week his facial hair changes shape daily, at least one guy in his cabin goes home with a horrible mullet, and he somehow manages to get his arms around 5 high schools guys at once when they stand up at Say So. He's the first to volunteer to pray at leader meetings and all the single girl leaders have a crush on him too because "he's everything I've wanted in a guy - he's such a spiritual leader." He's done summer staff or been on assignment so many times he could run every ride single-handedly, while commandeering the pits, and leading music at club at the same time. All the other guy leaders either LOVE him, or roll their eyes when he walks by - either way, he's the star of entertainment night, goes harder than anyone during any all-camp game, and is probably best friends with everyone on program (even if they'd never met before that week).

9) The Summer Staff guy who might as well be an intern. You know. He's the one who's maybe a little bit older than the rest of the summer staff so he hangs mostly with the interns. OR he's the one who came for 1st session and you look at your watch and realize it's 3rd session and he never left. I did a summer staff double header once. I was that girl.

Some of the girls from Summer Staff 2005 at Frontier!
10) The leader who didn't take away their high school friends' cell phones and now the kids in your cabin are mad because they "saw someone on their phone by the smoke pit, so why can't we have ours?". Don't be that leader.

11) THAT Camper - All you leaders know exactly who I'm talking about, and a kid's face might have even come to mind just now. That camper comes in many different forms. It could be the girl who spends the last 2 hours of free time every day primping for dinner, the guy that always has a posse of girls around him, the blob king, the kid who basically lives at the infirmary, the guy who's always got his guitar out on the porch of the dining hall, or the dance-off hero from club. There's always that kid, and while some of them may get on your everlasting nerves, at the end of the day you can't help but love them and cry the hardest when they stand-up at Say So because you're a Young Life leader and that's just what you do.

Honorable Mentions:

- The Assigned-Team kids! Every girl in camp is on a first name basis with all 38 of them by the end of the week.
- The kids that spend all week around the smoke pit. Blob? What blob?
- The leader that spends all week napping in the leader lounge. Wait, I have to hang out with my high school friends? Nah... they're fine.
- The leader who gets injured in the pool during their first 2 hours of even being at camp multiple years in a row. (I'm looking at you, Ben Johnson.)

There are so many other characters that show up to camp every summer, but these are some of the funniest (to me)! Did I leave anyone off the list? Do you know someone who is one of these characters, or have you been one yourself?? Tell me your thoughts in the comments!


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