->''All the counselors hate the waiters\\
And the lake has alligators\\
And the head coach wants no sissies\\
So he reads to us from something called Literature/{{Ulysses}}''
-->-- '''Creator/AllanSherman''', "Hello Muddah, Hello Fadduh! (A Letter from Camp)"

Summer camps in fiction are usually run like the company from ''ComicStrip/{{Dilbert}}''. The environment seems to be sentient and out to get you (mosquitoes chase you across camp, perfectly-timed inconvenient rain, etc.) The food is as bad as cafeteria food. In sports, there's a handful of super-jocks who treat it as SeriousBusiness and reduce everyone else to terror. Arts and crafts are so boring you want to be back in school. The bathrooms are outhouses that require a full nature hike to reach. The teenage counselors are either awesomely stupid and actually take the "camp spirit" and "camp traditions" seriously (often bordering on PointyHairedBoss), or treat the camp as their own personal vacation spot with the campers' welfare as an afterthought, or in some cases are out-and-out bullies who sadistically terrorize their younger charges. Usually, though, there's at least one counselor who tries to make some of the awkward kids feel better.

Usually, boredom drives all the campers to insanity (if they weren't that way to begin with, as the hero's bunk-mate always seems to be). The only fun they have is messing with each other, leading to an EscalatingWar in no time (and brutal hazing if some of the kids are new). If the camp is co-ed, the kids will all wind up with crushes on each other that serve as object lesson in how LoveMakesYouDumb (and nobody ever manages to hook up).

Despite all this though, the students and counselors will always band together at the end of the summer to take on their hated rivals: the affluent summer camp across the lake. There will be a competition of physical challenges that pits the poor underdog campers against the rich arrogant campers, which the underdog camp will win, or take down to the wire, thanks to a combination of what they learned over the summer and [[HeartIsAnAwesomePower their own unique talents]] that they thought made them [[RagtagBunchOfMisfits weird outcasts]].

In older stories, the camp was always some outdoorsy place with a fake-Indian name (for American camps, at least). Modern stories are more likely to have a specialized camp (like weight-loss camp), which is just as awful as the old camps.

Unlike the BoardingSchoolOfHorrors, these places tend to be played for laughs. Compare HorribleCampingTrip. See FatCamp for a more specialized type of summer camp.



[[folder:Comic Strips]]
* ''ComicStrip/{{Peanuts}}'' did this every summer, sometimes with insane specialized camps like Sally's "Beanbag Camp" (where all you do is lie in a beanbag, watch TV, and eat junk food) and even a fundamentalist Bible camp.
** One year's storyline has all the gang filling out applications to ''get out of'' going to camp. Everyone has their application is accepted, except (naturally) Charlie Brown, who gets a letter informing him his request has been turned down, and "therefore, you are to report to the bus stop at 0800 hours."
** The TV specials ''It Was a Short Summer, Charlie Brown'' and ''He's a Bully, Charlie Brown'' take place at summer camp.
** The feature film ''WesternAnimation/RaceForYourLifeCharlieBrown'' has the gang attending camp and getting involved in a river raft race against a gang of {{Jerk Jock}}s.
* Surprisingly averted in ''ComicStrip/{{Calvin and Hobbes}}''; an arc where he goes to a Boy Scout camp features ''none'' of the usual disasters that plague his family's yearly {{Horrible Camping Trip}}s.
* ''ComicStrip/{{Foxtrot}}'': An extended arc of strips dealt with Jason and Marcus attending the science camp Camp Bohrmore. While several of the usual disasters occur, most of them were brought on by Jason's own actions.

[[folder:Fan Works]]
* In [[Fanfic/Swing123AndGarfieldodiesCalvinverse the Calvinverse]], ''Fanfic/CalvinAndHobbesTheMovie'' is set in Camp Pine, where Calvin battles aliens. An episode of ''Fanfic/CalvinAndHobbesTheSeries'' revisits the location, now with [[BearsAreBadNews bears.]]
* ''Fanfic/CampNightmare'' is about Calvin and Hobbes going one of these. [[spoiler:[[FromBadToWorse It doesn't end well]]. ''[[NightmareFuel At all]].'']]

[[folder:Films -- Live-Action]]
* ''Film/CampNowhere'' is about a gang of kids who will do anything to avoid being sent to summer camp, up to and including their own fake camp.
* The ''Film/{{Meatballs}}'' films are all over this trope.
* Parodied in the film ''Film/WetHotAmericanSummer.''
* ''Film/AgeOfSummerhood'' is a coming-of-age dramedy set and filmed at a real Canadian camp.
* The 1961 film ''Film/TheParentTrap'' starts out at a semi-utopian version of one of these. Fortunately for the audience, things get more amusing.
* Pugsley and Wednesday are sent to camp against their will in ''Film/AddamsFamilyValues''. The novelization of the film exposes the exaggeratedly perky camp's dark side: the counselors seem to be covering up campers' accidental deaths.
* The whole movie ''Film/DaddyDayCamp''.
* ''Gorp'' (1980) is set at a Jewish summer camp in the Catskills.
* ''Film/FridayThe13th1980'' popularized the summer camp settings among the {{Slasher Movie}}s in the early 80's, with such examples as ''Film/TheBurning'', ''Film/SleepawayCamp'', ''Film/{{Madman}}'' and ''Bodycount'' [[FollowTheLeader following suit]].
* The 1985 made-for-TV film ''Poison Ivy'' starred Creator/MichaelJFox and was set in one of these.
* ''Camp Cucamonga'' (1990) is another made-for-TV example.
* ''Film/LittleDarlings'' involves two teenage girls making a [[TheBet bet]] as to which of them will be the first to [[SexAsRiteOfPassage lose her virginity]] at a summer camp.
* ''Indian Summer'' has a group of adults returning to the summer camp of their childhoods at the invitation of the camp's retiring director.
* ''Film/CampRock'' is set at a summer music camp.
* A classic theme in France:
** ''Nos jours heureux'' (2006) is a comedy about a group of kids and the adults who try to keep them in line for a whole summer.
** ''C'est pas ma faute!'' (1999): in this one the main character isn't in summer camp but fights against the children who are during his holidays. Summer camp life, though, is still the same.
** ''Scout Toujours...'' (1985): a group of unruly scouts manage to break their crazy scoutmaster's leg just before summer camp, so they end up with a guy who has no experience with children. Of course it's played for laugh and everything works out fine in the end.
** Although most Summer camp movies are comedies, ''La meilleure façon de marcher'' (1976) is the exception. It's a very screwed-up movie about bullying in a closed environment, in which one camp counselor accidentally sees another dress up as a woman and leverages the information to psychologically torture him for months. The children, of course, notice nothing.
* ''Film/NudistColonyOfTheDead'' has a Christian bible camp, complete with silly songs. Camp Cutchagutsout happens to be built over the remains of a cursed nudist colony retreat.
* In ''WebVideo/{{Fred}} 3'', Fred goes to a camp called Camp Iwannapeepee.
* ''Film/ConfessionsFromAHolidayCamp'' was about a summer camp with lazy workers and a barking owner who is pressured into creating a beauty contest.

* The novel ''Literature/IWantToGoHome'' by Creator/GordonKorman is about a SociopathicHero who we root for because he's the only smart person in his comic-opera summer camp. The entire place is flooded on ''visiting day'' because of a beaver's dam. When the waters subside, the PointyHairedBoss says "and so, another successful visiting day draws to a close." One of the counselors can't believe he's hearing this, and the head counselor explains, "that's his visiting day speech. He only has one, and it doesn't cover floods."
* Creator/JeanShepherd wrote a wonderful short story about two weeks in a summer camp ''Revenge of the Mole People''.
* Too many ''Literature/{{Goosebumps}}'' books to list.
* Camp Harvest Moon which the young campers aptly take to calling ''Literature/CampZombie''.
* In ''[[Literature/BrasAndBroomsticks Spells and Sleeping Bags]]'', Rachel goes to one of these, though the camp's problem is not so much with the camp as it is the fact that [[spoiler: her witch cousin wants to switch bodies with her.]]
* The whole point of ''How To Survive Summer Camp'' by Creator/JacquelineWilson. Stella actually ends up semi-enjoying her holiday - not that she'll admit to it.
* The book ''Camp Camp: Where Fantasy Island Meets Lord of the Flies'' by Roger Bennett features hundreds of pages of campy photos taken at various Jewish summer camps within the past several decades.
* ''Literature/TheMagickers'' is set at one of these crossed with a WizardingSchool. The camp counselors actually want to set up a ''proper'' WizardingSchool, but with their current budget and location, a summer camp is the best they can do. It's actually a fairly fun place, though not above some of the usual camp issues (like wild animal problems).
* In the ''Literature/AmericanGirl'' series, Molly attends one of these, and has to conquer her fear of swimming underwater in a game of capture the flag, all while dealing with the AlphaBitch.
* ''Literature/TheSummerIsEndedAndWeAreNotYetSaved'' is set at a summer Bible Camp. It's all good cheesy fun [[spoiler:until the resident priest decides that the children need to be sent to heaven before they lose their innocence]].

[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* ''Series/MrBelvedere'': Although not played comically in the very least in "The Counselor," due to Wesley's frightening encounter with one of the counselors who touches him inappropriately. Wesley reveals his encounter in front of his parents, and it's curtains for the counselor.
* The entire premise of ''Series/SaluteYourShorts.''
* ''Series/{{Psych}}'' combines SummerCampy with a SerialKiller plot that also makes fun of horror movie tropes.
* ''Camp Runamuck'', a short-lived '60s sitcom.
* ''Series/HiDeHi'', was a not so short-lived sitcom set in a English holiday camp.
* The Creator/DisneyChannel series ''Series/{{Bunkd}}''.

* ''Magazine/{{MAD}}'' has also done this every summer. One old piece from the 70s had a camp where the only medical supplies are aspirin and calamine lotion, so every sick and injured camper goes untreated...until we meet a lucky boy who's "got poison ivy, and a terrible headache from worrying about it." A more recent strip had ButtMonkey Monroe sent to a camp that made him long for the CrapsackWorld back home.

* The classic novelty/comedy song "Hello Muddah, Hello Fadduh! (A Letter from Camp)", by Creator/AllanSherman, is a boy's letter to his parents where he complains about his stay at one Camp Granada, sung to Ponchielli's ''Dance of the Hours''. Ultimately subverted. Once the rain and hail end, the boy ends the letter with, "[[spoiler:Muddah, Fadduh, kindly disregard this letter!]]"
** The Swedish version, reinterpreted by legendary Swedish singer/songwriter Cornelis Vreeswiijk,and the Norwegian version, which is largely based on Vreeswiijk's translation, takes it [[DarkerAndEdgier one step further]]. In both versions, one of the first things the kid tells his parents is to send him more money because he lost all he had on gambling. Both versions also suggests that the kid himself is responsible for a lot of the camp's shenanigans. The Norwegian version has the kid gleefully admitting that he's taken up smoking and tried cannabis while on the camp, and the Swedish version ends with him announcing that he and his cabinmates are off to burn down the neighbouring cabin.
* "Les jolies colonies de vacances" is basically the summer camp anthem, in which a child writes home to explain how AWESOME summer camp is (the food sucks, the counselors are drunkards, they all swim in the river where industrial waste is being dumped...)
* The titular boy-scout camp of the Homer and Jethro song "The Battle of Kookamonga" may have been of this type. A boy was mad at being sent to camp, but changes his mind at the events of the song, [[spoiler:chasing a troop of girl scouts]].
* "Camp Werthahekawee" by Ray Stevens.

[[folder:Puppet Shows]]
* ''Series/SesameStreet'':
** The Season 14 (1982) opening week of episodes, where Big Bird goes to Camp Echo Rock for a week of fun and life lessons. Each episode opens with video of the camp bus on the way to camp, and sound cues of a cheesy, kiddie camp-type song ("Pean-a budda, jelly!") interspersing a banjo-mixed version of the main theme. The scenes themselves represent the traditional summer camp: A wooded area where Big Bird and his new friends including an Anything Muppet named Rusty engage in the requisite swimming, hiking, trying new foods, dealing with homesickness, etc. It is implied that Big Bird spends two weeks at camp (as one of the scenes deals with him writing a letter and wondering what's going on back home), although just three full episodes and parts of the other two -- Big Bird leaving in Monday's opener, saying goodbye to his new friends on Friday are devoted to his time at camp. Camp Echo Rock, by the way, was actually Bear Mountain in upstate New York, and it is presumed that Echo Rock is in that same vicinity.
** A children's record, "Camp Oonie Koonie Cha," was released in 1981, featuring Big Bird and Oscar at camp. Also, a photo spread and a summary of the "Camp Echo Rock" episodes were published in the June 1983 issue of ''Sesame Street Magazine''.
** Camp Wannagohoma, a series of skits starring Grover that aired starting in the early 1980s. Here, Grover is a camp counselor who attempts to teach his campers about nature, survival tips and the like, but always gets his facts wrong, leading his more knowledgeable charges to correct him.

* An obscure example: the off-off-Broadway kids musical ''Everything About Camp (Almost)'' is a {{Troperiffic}} look at everything that can go wrong at camp. In a typical scene, the new kids are sent on a SnipeHunt, and one of the kids is suspicious. He discovers that not only is he required to go anyway, but he's required to pay for the privilege of going. As with most examples of SummerCampy, it's played entirely for comedy.

[[folder:Video Games]]
* Camp Whispering Rock in ''VideoGame/{{Psychonauts}}'' has the bad food (Ford ''really'' can't cook), cheesy arts-and-crafts, the JerkJock bully, and more preteen hormones running rampant than you can shake a stick at... But since the counselors are frackin' super spies out to teach the children how to utilize their psychic powers, that pretty much makes up for everything. Including the pyrokinetic cougars and [[BearsAreBadNews telekinetic bears]] in the woods.
* ''Friday the 13th'''s Camp setting is revisited in the [[VideoGame/FridayThe13th NES Game]].
* ''[[VideoGame/LakeviewCabinCollection Lakeview Cabin III]]'' is set at a summer camp which has fallen on hard times following certain... ''incidents''. While one of the StoryBreadcrumbs you can find is a pamplet welcoming new conselors, it's unclear whether the four protagonists are employees or just some hard-partying teens taking advantage of the cabins. Either way, their stay doesn't end well.
* ''VisualNovel/WeKnowTheDevil'' features a Christian summer camp with the typical gross food, terrible accommodations, and annoying counselors. Not so typically, however, the characters are given semi-magical radios and are sent to a cabin to possibly fight the devil.

[[folder:Web Animation]]
* [[http://www.homestarrunner.com/tgs11.html One issue]] of ''WebAnimation/TeenGirlSquad'' had three of the girls going to "Camp Firstbassawassa", which had recently installed "working toilet paper" ("I'm gonna miss the oak leaves"). Whats-Her-Face's bunkmate turns out to be an emaciated, diabetic raccoon girl, the boys' camp across the lake turns out to be a "Cosplayover Camp" inhabited by nerds like Sci-Fi Greg, and Whats-Her-Face and the Ugly One get killed by a chainsaw-wielding "Maniac in a Speedo!"
* The premise behind the Creator/RoosterTeeth series [[WebAnimation/CampCamp Camp Camp]]. Camp Campbell started out as a normal (if somewhat poorly-run) camp, but the rising popularity of modern technology led founder Cameron Campbell to diversify the camp's activities. The series itself focuses on the exploits of campers Max, Neil, and Nikki, as well as their annoyingly cheerful counselor David.

[[folder:Web Comics]]
* Taken UpToEleven in ''WebComic/CampWeedonwantcha'', as ThereAreNoAdults and all supplies (which vary from feral cats to whistles) are air dropped into the camp. [[spoiler: The name is also [[MeaningfulName meaningful]], as all of the "campers" have been literally abandoned by their families. Also, several deaths are implied to have occurred.]]
* The "Summerteen Romance" story-arc from ''Webcomic/ParadoxSpace'' has [[Webcomic/{{Homestuck}} Karkat]] writing a story with his friends attending a summer camp, [[FramingDevice and forcing Dave to read it]]. [[TheMovieBuff Karkat]] naturally filled it with nearly every stereotype of this trope, including an antagonistic rival camp, a borderline-insane camp counselor, [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin summer-based romance between teenagers]], [[spoiler: mysterious deaths]], and [[TheLastOfTheseIsNotLikeTheOthers paternity tests for lakes]].

[[folder:Web Original]]
* The long-running Livejorunal roleplay ''Roleplay/CampFuckYouDie'' is set in the titular (and accurately named) camp.

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* In the ''WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons'':
** A darker-than-usual example in Camp Krusty, where the kids are used as slave labor. The tie-in video game ''Escape From Camp Deadly'' featured, among other things, a hide-and-seek game where Bart is Team A and Team B consists of everybody else (that, as well as a very lethal FoodFight).
** Homer and Marge met each other for the first time as kids on two neighbouring summer camps[[note]]Although Homer was actually ''working'' at his camp, because his dad was too cheap/poor to pay to actually attend.[[/note]], but because of mistaken identity, didn't realize it until later.
* The entire premise of ''WesternAnimation/CampLazlo,'' where most of the humor comes from the happy-go-lucky main character actually enjoying the place.
* ''WesternAnimation/SouthPark'' has a weight-loss camp where Cartman is the OnlySaneMan who isn't impressed by the dancing mascot and his perky teenage sidekicks. Unusually, the ending suggests that even though the camp is stupidly run, they mean well and should be supported.
** They revisit the trope in a later episode called Crippled Summer. The camp is for handicapped children, a boy cheats at all of the tournament events, and oh yeah, Towelie is employed there.
* Camp [[MeaningfulName Wannaweep]] in ''WesternAnimation/KimPossible'' is a SummerCampy in flashbacks (and is responsible for pretty much every one of Ron's neuroses and phobias). By the time of the show, it's no longer SummerCampy and has become an abandoned camp of horrors.
** In a later episode we see Camp Wannaweep reopened and is back to it's SummerCampy status, this time as a cheerleading camp [[spoiler:which Ron discovers is ''still'' a camp of horrors]].
* "Flappy Bob's Happy Camp Learnatorium" from ''WesternAnimation/TheFairlyOddparents'' is this, with two overly-eager counselors that are obsessed with making normally fun things as boring as possible.
* In ''WesternAnimation/AsToldByGinger'', the special ''Summer of Camp Caprice'' (sometimes split up into 2 episodes for TV airings) is about Ginger, Dodie, and Macie's annual trip to Camp Caprice, an all-girls camp. Problems arise when Courtney decides to go to prove that she isn't high maintenance. Meanwhile, Darren and Miranda are at a military camp run by Miranda's father. Camp Caprice subverts this trope, but the military camp does not.
* In ''WesternAnimation/DanVs'', Dan and Chris met at Camp [[IDontLikeTheSoundOfThatPlace Atrocious]] ("It's even worse than it sounds!"). The sole counselor is a SocialDarwinist who believes MiseryBuildsCharacter to an utterly insane degree. The campers are divided into two cabins based on how strong he thinks they are, with whichever holds the "spirit stick" essentially being in charge and allowed to do anything (even steal from the other and eat all the food). Even when Dan and Chris manage to get the stick for their cabin he decides they "cheated" because they outsmarted them instead of taking it by force, so he locked the entire cabin in a tennis court for the remainder of their stay. [[spoiler:Dan and Chris break everyone out, their cabin takes over the camp entirely, and as Dan and Chris leave it's implied the other campers ''murdered'' the counselor by making him the target for WilliamTelling by campers who never used a bow before.]]
* Camp Campingston Falls in ''WesternAnimation/HomeMovies''. Dear Gawd. A vile place in the middle of nowhere where two embittered, sadistic failed drama coaches divide their time between setting monotonous, wearying tasks for their unlucky charges ("Braid the twine in the hot Summer's dirt! Braid the hard, unmalleable twine!") and deliberately encouraging the victimization of selected outsiders ("RABBIT TROOP SUCKS!"). Small wonder that when Brendon, Jason and Melissa decide to "burn some bridges", we're 100% on their side. ''Let There Be Devil Music!!!''
* The ''WesternAnimation/{{Daria}}'' episode "Camp Fear" features a reunion of campers from Daria and Quinn's previous trip to Camp Grizzly. Daria has several poor memories of the experience, including having a horse run off with her on it, tossing her into the river. (Nine stitches were required.)
* The titular ''WesternAnimation/CampLakebottom'' is this. Two of the three counselors are a [[OurZombiesAreDifferent zombie]] and a [[BigfootSasquatchAndYeti sasquatch]], even.
* [[DeconstructedTrope Deconstructed]] in ''WesternAnimation/BarbieInRocknRoyals''. The story take place in two summer camps, but unlike most depictions [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2-2aeohoiFI they're dreamy places.]] So much, that everyone is impatient to be back there, [[spoiler: and is willing to avoid both camps to shut down.]]
* ''WesternAnimation/CodenameKidsNextDoor'': In ''OPERATION: C.A.M.P'', Numbuh Two and Numbuh Three are sent to Camp [[MeaningfulName Lemmeouttaheah]], where they discover that the insane councilor has brainwashed all the kids to employ them as slave labor to make cheap souvenirs.
* This is the premise of the animated series ''Camp Candy'', which was created by comedian and actor, Creator/JohnCandy (who also voiced the head counselor).[[note]]He also [[DoItYourselfThemeTune sang the show's theme song]].[[/note]]
* ''WesternAnimation/CampWWE'' features kid versions of Wrestling/{{WWE}} personalities at a summer camp.