Adam Avitable as a camp director, Halloween 2007

Summer Camp Rules As Written By A Very Honest Camp Director

1. Diving is prohibited, unless your lifeguard is one of the teenaged counselors who is too engrossed talking to other sexually frustrated counselors of the opposite sex to give a shit about the methods by which you choose to enter the rarely chemically treated brackish mosquito breeding ground we are legally allowed to call the camp pool.

2. Cell phones are not allowed on camp property and only emergency phone calls may be made from the sole telephone located in the camp director’s office. This allows us the time to mitigate any non life-threatening injuries, sexual harassment complaints, and other issues of a litigious nature, in hopes that you will forget about them by the time your parents arrive to pick you up.

3. All prescription drugs will be surrended to and dispensed by the camp nurse daily or on an as-needed basis. All illegal drugs will be provided by Stan, the 45-year old counselor with his own room behind the kitchen, who always smells like your teachers’ lounge on Friday afternoons.

4. Outside food and drink are prohibited, unless you managed to sneak some by our completely lackadaisical inspections, in which case your stash of Snickers and Red Bull will make you one of the most popular people in camp. The only exception is if you’re one of our few overweight campers, and then we apologize in advance for the behavior of the older, larger camper (or counselor) who will be relieving you of your dignity and possessions with a modicum of physical pain and personal humiliation.

5. Appropriate clothing must be worn at all times. Exceptions will be made in the case of female camp counselors aged 18 and older, who will be encouraged to wear clothing so entirely inappropriate as to set unhealthy beauty standards for the female campers and spark the early onset of puberty for the male campers.

6. The cabin across the lake is off-limits, but not because of that story we told you that first night by the bonfire where the old maintenance man went crazy and murdered the entire camp and left their bodies to decompose within the walls of that very cabin. Mostly, we’re just worried about tetanus.

7. No pillow fights or towel flicking will be tolerated, unless the male counselors decide to team up and teach a valuable lesson to that one camper who is a complete shit and talks back to everyone.

8. Treat all counselors with respect, even that one that your dad calls “that Goddamn punk” because he has long hair, tattoos, and drives sixty miles an hour down your street on his way to his house every day.

9. After lights out, campers must remain in their beds so that the counselors have time to get black-out drunk and go skinny dipping in the pool. Any camper caught out of bed after lights out will likely be called “little dude” and invited to drink a warm beer that has probably received its fair share of backwash.

10. Campers must participate in all activities, including but not limited to Sticking Paper, Wooden Sticks, and Cotton Together with Elmer’s Glue; Getting Ear Infections from Lake Parasites while Learning to Swim; Holy Shit, We Really Let Kids Shoot Arrows and Rifles; Random Activities We Lump Together and Call the Ropes Course; Barely Avoiding Child Labor Laws by Calling “Kitchen Duty” and “Camp Cleanup” Volunteer Work; Looking for Cool Bugs and Finding Poison Sumac Instead; and The You Kids Have an Unsurprisingly Complete Lack of Talent Show.

11. No profanity is permitted, but mouthing “I want a vacuum” to each other across the room is acceptable.

12. Treat the camp as you would treat your home, unless your parents are divorced and you live with your bitch mother and asshole stepfather. In that case, treat the camp as you would treat their home if they promised to buy you a brand new Xbox if you go 30 days without killing any household pets or setting anything on fire.

Adam Avitable as a camp director, Halloween 2007
My Halloween costume, October 2007

(This piece was originally submitted to McSweeney’s and published here only after it was turned down for publication. Which is okay- it just pushes me to keep trying!)

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12 Replies to “Summer Camp Rules As Written By A Very Honest Camp Director”

  1. Madge

    Very accurate. I was a camp counselor in the summers during college in the early-mid 80s. I thought that cabin across the lake was just for counselors to go have sex in? And you forgot “No screaming”, because the counselors have hangovers.

  2. Stephanie

    I crushed on Stan when i went to camp. He taught me all about good touch bad touch. That was okay, wasn’t it?

    P.S. You prob don’t remember me Adam, i was formerly the Shoewhore. I lost my sense of humor back then, but in dropping a dickhead husband recently I have somehow found it. Glad to see you are still here.

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