Counselor Tools

Adding Personality to Your Cabin at Camp

Being a resident (sleep-away) camp counselor is one of the most enjoyable and rewarding jobs out there. It can also be very stressful with the long hours and the camper management.

For me, each session brought on butterflies in my stomach. I was always worried that my campers would not like me or wouldn’t listen to me, even after I figured out how to successfully manage a group of kids.

One of the things I decided to do was set myself apart from the other counselors by doing little things like setting up a chore chart, learning some jokes and riddles, learning a couple of magic tricks, making a welcome sign in front of the cabin with rocks and pinecones, finding a couple of good stories to read at bedtime, etc.

Something I used to do, that was a camper favorite, was to add Christmas lights inside the cabin. Sometimes I used white lights and sometimes I used colored lights. Either way, it gave the cabin character and was nice not to have the awful overhead lights on that most cabins have.


Take a tape measure and measure out each wall. Add them up and get a get ya some Christmas lights. (Personally, I prefer the white ones. I like to turn them on instead of the cabin lights in the evening.)

Noma/Inliten 48150-88 Holiday Wonderland Clear Green Wire Christmas Mini Light Set, 300 Count
  • Holiday Wonderland 3 x 100 Lights Clear String To String Light Set
  • Set On Green Wire


Get a lamp dimmer. Christmas lights will work with a dimmer so that you can make them as bright or as dim as you like.

Lutron Credenza Plug-In Dimmer FOR Halogen and Incandescent Bulbs, with Locator Light, TT-300NLH-WH, White
  • For use with up to 300 Watts of incandescent and halogen bulbs only
  • Dims table and floor lamps to suit any activity


You need to hang the lights up, so either get some finishing nails (your camp may have these or you can get some at the hardware store) or get some Command Decorating Clips. Hang them up near the edges of the walls and ceilings around the room. Make sure to tell your campers that these are not to be pulled on or played with.

3M Command Decorating Clips, White
  • Damage-Free Hanging
  • Holds strongly


Plug in the dimmer to a wall outlet. Then plug-in the Christmas lights to the dimmer, and voila! Turn them off anytime you are not in the cabin and while you’re asleep.

The cost of this project will be around $40 unless you can bring some Christmas lights from home. Believe me, $40 is money well spent for this cabin decoration that will make everyone smile.

I don’t have any pictures from when I was a counselor, but if you use Google Images and search for ‘decorate bedroom with christmas lights’ you’ll get the idea.

If you do this, I would love to see photos. I’ll even add them to this post. What other ways can you decorate the cabin?




  • Awesome! I love adding window/door stickers to my cabins. If your camp has themed days or weeks, plan ahead and bring themed decorations or make them with your cabin during crafts or free play. Also, decorating is just as much fun with a STAFF CABIN as it is with the kids!!!

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.