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One Out of Two Kids is Home From Camp and How Much do You Tip a Counselor?

If we’re friends on Facebook you might have seen my status updates. Alexander was gone for a week and Jane is still surfing her summer away and will be home soon. It’s easy having her gone because she’s older and she’s been leaving us longer than he has. Having Alexander gone was like missing a limb, having Jane gone is akin to missing birdsong, you have to be quiet to notice it’s absence.

Mr. G and I went to the Ports of Call to get Alexander from the boat that would bring him back from Catalina and I panicked a little because I didn’t have a gift card for Alexander’s counselor. I happened to have a $50 bill and I figured we’d find that young man, shake his hand and send him off to college with some beer money. When the got off the boat I forgot all about the counselor and delighted in seeing our son. He was happy, dirty and tired. Clearly camp was a success.

On the way to the car we stopped to talk to the camp director and I asked him where the counselors are. He said that they were back on the island. I asked him how I was supposed to give him a tip. I tried to give the director the money to send along to Alexander’s counselor and he said, “We don’t do that here, it’s an East Coast thing.”

I’m a tipper (but then again Mr. G and I have both survived off tips for many years at many jobs) and at the kids’ day camp I’m good for about 75% of one day’s tuition to each of their counselors and any specialists who spend a good bit of time with them. I met a lady who is in her early 20’s and lamented the fact that she would get hundreds of dollars to spend at Starbucks from the camp she worked at. This year I gave Target gift cards, in years past I might have given cash or the dreaded Starbucks card.

My question is do you tip your child’s counselors? If so how much (not really as a dollar amount but maybe as a percentage)?


5 thoughts on “One Out of Two Kids is Home From Camp and How Much do You Tip a Counselor?”

  1. Sorry, not ‘an East Coast thing’. We were not allowed to tip our kids’ counselors for sleepaway at our camp (day camp yes). And after having kids that were counselors for many years and grossly underpaid for work done and cost of camp equation I would be a big supporter of the gift card. The beer money, not so much.

  2. I buy gift cards for my kids teachers during the holiday’s.  We had many camps this summer and I did not give any gift cards to any of the counselors or teachers. I never even thought of it. 

  3. So funny that you posted this!  I just had this conversation with a friend last week.  She grew up on the East Coast and asked how much she should tip our kids counselors.  I felt terrible that I had never thought to tip them!  We asked some other parents and it seemed like the “tippers” all grew up back East.  I joined them and tipped too.  They work so hard and get so little.

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