I learned about 85% of what I know from camp. Maybe more.
Sorry, Mom, Dad, siblings, and teachers, but it's the truth.
Whether as a camper, where I learned how to swim or build a fire or shoot a bullseye, or as a counselor where I learned to soothe a homesick kid, take a fish off a hook, entertain 60 kids crammed into the showerhouse during a tornado, or identify a venomous snake. Or as an ad staff member where I became well-versed in parent phone calls, CPS reports, human resources, and buttering up the important people like the registrar, maintenance crew, and kitchen ladies (b/c let's face it -- those are the people who truly run any business). I've got skills that no college class could ever teach me.
More than anything, however, I learned the best skill possible. Flexibility. And it's totally a learnable skill because, as a nervous-nellie kid, I liked knowing what was going to happen. I relished my routine, and I took comfort in the normal. I still do, and I totally prefer it, but the reality is that when you work with kids, "normal" goes out the effin' window fast. Because, honestly, nothing at camp will ever go according to schedule. At camp, you're dealing with anywhere from 75 to 150 different personalities, wants, and needs at any given moment. Then you throw in things like rental groups, rainstorms, and random acts of WTF, and camp becomes a recipe in "What the hell are we supposed to do now?"
Well... here's what you do.
You just do. You do what you can with what you have, and if you do it with the right attitude, with the right people around you, sometimes shit just works out.
And that's pretty incredible.