Fantasyland: We, The Staff

By Emily Jean

The final question on the application reads, “Why do you want to work at Summer Camp?” Nearly everyone writes some cliché bullshit along the lines of “Camp is my home away from home” or “I really want to embrace and explore my Jewish roots.” That’s the sort of sappy crap the directors look for during the hiring process. Each summer, they employ a staff of us ranging from seventeen to thirty – everyone on the verge of futureless and bringing the single-and-ready-to-mingle mentality of a sexually desperate high schooler. So let’s be honest here. If we were all to answer that question truthfully, we would collectively type: 

“I want to work at Summer Camp because I want to get laid. Yeah, my ancestors are Israeli and sure, the lake is sorta cool, but it would really be ideal to meet at least one decently attractive person who I could go bang when the campers go to sleep. I want to go skinny dipping at the sail dock, get wasted in the pavilion, and roll up a joint with my badass co-counselor over on the cliff jump. I’d like you to pay me to incessantly flirt with my unit leader during cabin activities, and send me on river trips where I can have orgies in the designated tent for horny staff only. Basically, you can count on me to discretely dip out of Shabbat dinner to have a threesome, while still genuinely pretending to concentrate through the Shema at the service after.

I will obediently check in at curfew and then peace out instead of returning to my sweaty cabin. I can promise you that I will illegally purchase alcohol on my days off and sneakily store it in the duffel under my bunk. Most likely, I will buy and sell weed from that weird new CIT and then end up smoking a bowl with him in the woods behind the rock wall. I’ll haul dank and dirty sleeping bags onto the roof of the dining hall and play midnight spin-the-flashlight overlooking the water.

Just a heads up, those dander allergies I put down on my medical form? That’s to cover up for my bloodshot eyes after I go blaze with the ski director. And those terrible migraines I will regularly suffer from? Those are due to the mere seven hours of sleep I will average a week. Also, I will definitely communicate via the staff lingo. When I say to Mordecai, “Hey, let’s go do laundry on our period off,” I really mean,“Hey, let’s smoke a fat blunt when I’m done with this lifeguard shit.” My day off spent outside of camp will really be code for crashing at Judah’s lake house after getting hammered into oblivion. Noah asking me if I’m on duty one night may actually be an invitation to Pound Town, Holy Land. And let me say, that’s a first class ticket right there. Noah is one hot mensch.

Thanks so much for your consideration, Administration. I think the camp experience is the final missing piece to solving this puzzle of what-am-I-doing-with-my-life-holy-shit, and would provide a safe and bubbled environment for me to defy general laws and expend my sexual energy. Looking forward to hearing from-”

Then, we’d reach the character limit for the text box. The limited space for our words would tell us that they obviously don’t want this answer. So, naturally, we type the preferred alternative. Shrugging, I type up the standard, cookie-cutter response. It’s the one that’ll actually get me hired. And at the end of the day, it’s also the real reason why I want to work at Summer Camp.

“I love working with kids. They go to camp to make friends, fall in love, cry, get in trouble, laugh, get their hearts broken, learn to ski, flirt, and experience summer with absolutely no limits. Truthfully? We, the staff – we go for the same reasons. We’re still kids ourselves.”

Emily JeanEmily Jean is a guest writer for Tumbleweed Diaries. She is a current senior at Columbia College Chicago working towards a Film & Video major and a double minor in Dance and Fiction Writing. An artist passionate about story, Emily finds inspiration in a variety of creative concentrations and draws from each to construct engaging characters, compelling relationships and authentic narratives. In addition to generating screenplays and short stories, Emily has a strong acting background in both live theatre and independent filmmaking and is a proud member of BoomCrack! Dance Company, a performance-based hip hop company in Chicago. Emily hopes to continue collaborating and developing her creativity as she pursues a career in the arts.

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2 thoughts on “Fantasyland: We, The Staff

  1. Love Emily Jean’s writing for its humor and honesty. She brought me right along on her path through her mind and on the job, all while being thoroughly entertained.

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