Camp Names

Summer staff 2021

When we are born, our parents give us the name that they see for us. Sometimes, those names are passed down through a family. Sometimes, it is the gut feeling they have. For my family, my parents workshopped the name “Hannah” for me throughout my parents’ pregnancy, and when I was born, they decided to go with “Hayley” instead, thinking that it fit a little better of who I was becoming before their eyes.

For some of us, the name and identity we were assigned at birth do not sit well as we begin to develop, so we choose a different name. For some of us, we choose to take or hyphenate our spouses’ name upon marriage. All in all, it is not very often that we engage in the practice of choosing our own names.

At camp, our staff go through a renaming process, where each gets to live into a chosen name. Some of them come from legends and jokes; some of them come from hobbies and interests; and some of them choose us. For example, I became “StingRey” as I was first stung by a bee at an open house event at DuBois Center. I think stingrays are cool animals, and Rey from Star Wars is one of my favorite movie characters of all time.

We welcome Fog, Nala, Kermit, Bubbles, Ringo, Thunder, Gizmo, and Lemon to our counselor team this summer, and welcome Sharkbait, Simba, Mango, and Kiwi to our leadership team!

What’s in a Name?

Meredith and Rachel

Twig, Sparkle, Pastor Skippy, Simba, Kayak, Nurse Bandit, Sparrow, Mr. T, Shark Bait – What’s with all the weird names? Since 2011, “camp names” have been the norm for summer staff and volunteers at DuBois Center. Some are silly and pulled from… who knows where. Others have stories and traditions behind them. To avoid inhaling pollen and dust, Nurse Bandit wears a bandana over her nose and mouth when driving around camp. Pastor Skippy, who loves Ryanpeanut butter, has been a camp chaplain for decades at a variety of different camps and his name has traveled with him.

We use “camp names” during the summer at DuBois Center because they are FUN, and because sometimes there are just too many Rachels and Ryans running around. Real names are shared on the last day of each camp, and they are listed on the sign-out sheets when parents pick up their children at the end of a session. If a counselor senses that a parent is nervous about not knowing their “real name,” the leader might take them aside and share that detail in advance.

What’s in a name – a lot of silliness and camp fun!

Camp Names Explained

Finch, Sparkle, Pastor Skippy, Kayak, Nurse Bandit, El Padre, Banana, Squeak, Shark Bait – What’s with all the weird names? Since 2011, “camp names” have been the norm for summer staff and volunteers at DuBois Center. Some are silly and pulled from… who knows where. Others have stories and traditions behind them.

Banana (Daisy Mercer) was first introduced to a new way to open bananas during summer staff training. To avoid inhaling pollen and dust, Nurse Bandit wears a bandana over her nose and mouth when driving around camp on a Gator. Pastor Skippy, who loves peanut butter, has been a camp chaplain for decades at a variety of different camps and his name has traveled with him. It’s a tradition!

We use “camp names” during the summer at DuBois Center because they are FUN, and because sometimes there are just too many Ryans and Merediths running around. Real names are shared on the last day of each session and they are listed on the sign-out sheets when parents pick up their children at the end of a camp. If a counselor senses that a parent is nervous about not knowing their “real name,” the leader might take them aside and share that detail in advance. What’s in a name – a lot of silliness!