Rachel Paige
Updated August 26, 2014

It’s that time of year when campers pack up their trunks and head home, after what was a presumably, a life-changing experience. I wouldn’t know—I never went to camp, although I wished I had. Summer camp seemed to be a rite of passage for all younger kids, and coming back to school with an uneven t-shirt tan, and a wrist full of friendship bracelets, and so many stories seemed like the best thing ever. The closest I could come to experiencing the glory that was camp, was by watching movies. Those pop culture touchstones taught me that the best part of camp was the tail-end of it—when the talent shows, color wars and big co-ed dances took place. Here’s what else happened at the end of camp, at least in movies.

1. The campers save the day!

Who would have guessed that a bunch of athletically challenged campers could go head-to-head with the actual athletic camp and come out on top? I never would have believed in that underdog camp story, so it’s a good thing I saw it in a movie, or two. (Yes, you Meatballs and Heavyweights.)

2. You can even find your long-lost twin sister and trade places!

It’s so cool that even though you might have been separated since birth, your separated parents are still so in sync that they manage to send you to the same camp an ocean apart. Plus, both you and your twin are world-class fencers. What are the odds? They’re actually pretty high if you’re in The Parent Trap.

3. There is a hot-dog eating contest.

Because why wouldn’t there be?

4. The incredibly dreamy dance instructor will totally fall for you.

And you’ll fall for him, even though your parents strictly forbid it(okay, Dirty Dancing isn’t a sleep away camp movie, but they’re still in the forest, away from civilization, without Wi-Fi, so it’s camp in my book.).

5. You will leave camp with life-long friends, guaranteed.

It’s best before camp to set a time and a place to meet ten years in the future, and everyone will of course show up. Just, remember to agree to a meet time of nine am, so everyone will be there by nine thirty. Yes, I am referencing the best camp movie of all time,Wet Hot American Summer.

6. The talent show, guys!

There’s also a really good chance that the end-of-summer Final Jam will be the best place to showcase your talents, and you just might get to record a song with the Jonas Brothers Connect 3. Summer camp (specifically Camp Rock) is clearly the best place to blossom into the stage performer you were born to become.

Plus, your end of summer talent show might be so good, Stephen Sondheim might show up. (Yes, your eyes do not deceive you, that really is Anna Kendrick on the original camp rock movie, Camp.).

7. You find a way to raise an enormous sum of money

In another, “you saved the camp!” move, it’s understood that even if your camp might be financially challenged, if you rally enough of your friends together, remember what summer is all about, and build a bonfire, you just might be able to keep your camp open for another summer. Because camp isn’t about money, it’s about friendship. See Camp Rock 2: The Final Jam for reference.

Is there such a thing as adult summer camp? Or is that considered being a camp counselor? Looking ahead to next summer, is there any camp looking to hire a very pale adult who is actually very good at braiding friendship bracelets and streaming TV shows? I’m available.

(Images via here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here.)