On the day you dropped off your camper, after you were met with a tunnel of jumping, cheering counselors, a staffer came up to talk with you and told you the name of your kid’s counselor. Was it “Sneazer Salad” or maybe “Band of Butters?” You may have been wondering, “Why in the world do they have such a strange name?” and perhaps you looked around and noticed everyone’s name tags had weird names on them. Well that, my friend, is their camp name.

Camp names are given the summer a counselor or program staffer starts working in a previously-shrouded-in-mystery-but-about-to-become-known-by-you in a 7 minute process called the Name Game! During training after every lunch and dinner a new staffer is brought on stage to be asked a series of questions. The first questions are usually about what school that person goes to and what they’re studying. Then everyone else on staff in the “audience” gets to ask questions. Some favorites are “What’s your most embarrassing story?” or “If you could ride any creature into battle, what would you choose?” and even “If you had to eat your way out of a swimming pool filled with food, what food would you hope it was?”

As this is happening, everyone is trying to think of a clever way to put their stories together into a name. One example is how our program director, “Squirrels,” got his name. He told us a story about how he and his roommates came to have a pet squirrel named Boaz. We loved it and definitely wanted to use it. Another important detail is that Squirrels had been making people laugh since he got to camp. When somebody said they had a name, we yelled, “Sell it!” and they stood on their chair to try and convince everyone that what they were about to suggest should be his name. They talked about how Squirrels is a really fun guy, brought up his squirrel Boaz, and said we should name him “Squirrels Just Want to Have Fun!”

We. Went. Crazy. which is the appropriate reaction if you love a camp name, so when it had been confirmed no one else had that name, it became his! That name will stay with him for as long as he works at camp.

Now that you know how we get camp names, can you guess how these counselors got theirs?

  • “Stick to the Status Whoa”
  • “SoYa Think You Can Plants,”
  • “Churranimo”
  • “Spit A Little Mud on the Tire”