There’s a lot to love about summer — beach days, music festivals, the establishment of ice cream as its own food group — but there’s one thing that’s not always fun: getting your period at summer camp.
We asked our LOLA community to tell us their stories about having their period while at camp. Some recall getting their first-ever period in an unfamiliar setting; others share memories of learning how to use a tampon from fellow campers.
Read on for the summer period stories of past campers, as told in their own words.
Making a splash
“I was 11 and had just started my period that year. It was my third period ever and I hadn’t started using tampons yet. So the water park day at camp rolls around, and I’m HEAVY. I was such a nervous wreck. I went to my cousin and asked her to teach me how to put in a tampon. So there we were in the restroom by the pool. She tried to teach me but it wouldn’t work (I was sitting down, I know now that I needed to be standing or squatting) it hurt so bad and I eventually gave up and wore a pad, which was very uncomfortable.” —Isabelle, 16
The camp gyno
“I remember when I was around 16, I needed to go in the pool during camp [while I had my period]. I had never worn a tampon in my life! I was absolutely terrified and in a rush. Shaking, I called upon the proclaimed ‘camp gyno’ (also my good friend) for help. She came into my bathroom stall to literally show me how to properly insert a tampon. I had no idea how to correctly and least painfully do it before her. I don’t know what I would’ve done without her! Thankful for all those camp gynos in the world.” —Linzy, 19
Say a little prayer
“It was a [summer] retreat with my church. My period had started the day before camp, so at least I knew it was here. I was having fun on night one with all my friends when I realized the building we were in had NO RESTROOMS… [and] to go back to the cabins, you had to have one leader and two campers. So I told a leader and everything was good, we all went back… That night during dinner, the leader practically SHOUTED to me: “HEY! Is it time to change out your tampon?” I was so unbelievably embarrassed. 😂” —Trista, 16
Ready to flow
“I was so afraid I was going to get it [at] camp and not be prepared…that I brought two huge packs of maxi pads with me for two summers before I even got my period!” —Ruta, 24
Never look back
“It was my first time ever going to camp! I begged my parents for months until they finally agreed to let me go. I remember packing up my bag and being so excited the whole way there. About three hours later, we finally turn into the camp grounds. I remember jumping off the car and getting ready to run to the front office when my mom yells “WAIT COME BACK!” I walked back super confused when she tells me I had a stain on my shorts and it looked like I had gotten my period. Me being young and confused, I started BAWLING my eyes out. I ended up going home. Never went back to summer camp after that.” —Domonique, 20
The last straw
“So I had just gotten my first period a couple months before going to camp. To my unfortunate surprise, I got it again while at camp. I had never used a tampon so I just wore a pad the entire week. Then, of course, we had water events lol. So I wore a big, clunky pad in my underwear with shorts over haha. Then I had to immediately change after we got done so I didn’t have to run around with a water-filled pad all day. As soon as I got home from camp, I told my mom it was time I started using tampons.” —Rachel, 20
“Getting my first period on the third day of sleepaway camp was very upsetting. I was pretty young and too embarrassed to tell my friends. I told my counselor and she brought me to the infirmary, where they allowed me to call my mom. I kept it a secret the whole summer and made up excuses [to explain] why I couldn’t swim for the first few days. It was one of those moments where you think to yourself, ‘why me?!’ When I returned, I learned that two of my home friends had also gotten their periods at camp. It was nice to know I wasn’t the only one.” —Marni, 28
Know a girl who’s headed to camp this summer and might be expecting her period? Surprise her with LOLA’s First Period Kit — our keepsake box filled with tampons, pads, and liners made with 100% organic cotton — and give her a different kind of story to tell.