Tag Archives: camp cheer

Secret Summer Camp Chant


The informant’s mother used to say this phrase as a playful thing to her children. While my informant generally liked this chant for its nostalgiac purposes, her mother used it in a variety of ways at her childhood summer camp. Though I lacked the mind to gather where her mother was from, my informant is originally from California.


In summer camp, my informant says her mom learned to use the chant as a sort of password in order to get into other campers’ cabins, sit with people during meals, and participate in activities. That being said, I was able to record it during an interview for folklore collection.

Main piece:



I’m sure that my informant has remembered this piece her whole life because it has been reminiscent of her childhood (and because it sounds good rolling off the tongue), but the purpose it served at her mother’s summer camp allows us, as folklorists, to take a deeper look into the social lives of children. In acting as a password as a sort of key to participating in different social settings, the phrase likely created an ingroup and an outgroup which would have contributed to the children’s social hierarchy. It’s important to note, though, that my informant told me kids at this summer camp would all eventually learn the chant–after a few days of confusion followed by some practice. Thus, it must not have simply been a tool for exclusion, but a right of passage into becoming a recognized camp member.

The Senior Bugaloo

So I guess there is one that is always passed down. The rest, each year, every village comes up with their own. All the kids, we uh, you grow up at the camp. And the seniors, sing this cheer, and inadvertently you learn it ‘cus you hear it so many times.

Senior campers are the best,

we party while the others rest

we continue to rock, we continue to roll

because we’ve got spirit and we’ve got soul
all day long we’re hanging around
all night long we’re partying down
senior campers are really cool
we don’t have to go in the pool
Mohawk boys are really lame
Seneca girls always complain
Cayuga cubs you better run
Onondoga girls are no fun
some walk high and some walk low
but senior spirits gonna really something something
with an R U L and a big fat E
gonna rule this camp til we’re CITs
we’re number one,
so we can’t be number 2
now cmon everybody let’s do the senior bugaloo
context of the performance:
I asked the informant, one-on-one, if he had any camp songs that were passed down, knowing how much this camp was a part of his life, and this was the one he immediately thought of. He couldn’t remember it all at first, and had to sort of pause, close his eyes and think a few times, but was very excited when he got it.
thoughts on the performance:
Seniority is a big part of a lot of teams, and apparently this camp as well. The younger campers seem to look up to the older ones and, as the informant, learn their cheer inadvertently, but never speak it until they are of that age. He explained after how the group that cheers this is the oldest group of campers before you can apply to be on the staff.