From books, to movies and TV shows, to online groups, you are surrounded by resources and media specific to your work. We believe that it’s just as important to delve into topics that are adjacent to camp, which is why we put together this list of non-summer camp podcasts for camp directors.
Whether it’s a single episode, or an entire series, podcasts engage and educate in bite-sized chunks. They’re great to listen to while exercising, driving, or doing chores around the house or at your camp.
If you’re looking for a podcast related specifically to summer camp, you have many options to choose from. Searching through thousands of options can be a little more overwhelming, so we did the digging for you and put together this list. From activity inspiration, to self-care, to the great outdoors, we think these eight podcasts are worth a listen.
This podcast brings original stories and songs written by kids to life, by getting well-known actors and comedians to adapt and perform them. This means that a kid could craft an amazing story, and then have it read out loud by Julie Andrews, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Dax Shepard, and so many more. Just let that sink in for a minute.
As a camp leader, it’s important that you think like a kid sometimes, which is one reason why we think this is a great addition to our list. It’s completely entertaining to hear these stories read aloud by some hilarious adults, but in a way that still allows you to tap into the magical imaginations of kids. Story Pirates is also a great podcast to listen to with children, and could come in handy for a fun indoor activity.
Can’t-miss episode: David Schwimmer’s performance of Cheese Quest is an adventure to jump into.
Songs are a huge part of camp culture—they bring joy, continue tradition, and allow kids to get creative. The magic behind just a single song is clear to us, and it’s the essence of Song Exploder. In each episode, host Hrishikesh Hirway talks with a musician about one of their songs, and how it came to be.
Whether it’s one you love, or one you’ve never heard before, it’s truly fascinating to learn about the process. Scrolling through the episodes, you’ll find artists from all genres and all eras, so you’re bound to find one to start with that syncs with your taste. Then jump into episodes about musicians or songs you might not know too much about. We especially enjoy how this show highlights every person involved, not just the person famous for singing the song.
Can’t-miss episode: Fleetwood Mac is an all-time great, and this episode about Go Your Own Way shines a light on a classic tune.
In addition to being a leader in the camp industry, you are also a human. While you’re a pro at the camp stuff, there are probably small everyday things where you could use a little advice.
Life Kit is designed for exactly those times. You don’t necessarily have time to dive deep into a subject, but you don’t want to completely ignore it either. Honestly, sometimes you don’t even know where to start or who to ask. Life Kit’s experts cover topics such as pronouncing names correctly, choosing sustainable clothing, and asking for a raise. What we love is that everything is helpful, practical, and actionable.
Can’t-miss episode: We’re smitten with this episode featuring Deb Perelman of Smitten Kitchen, and her tips for kitchen organization.
Scary stories are a summer camp staple, and if you’re a fan of horror, Nightlight should be in your rotation. The tales are all written and read by Black authors and performers, and they’re complete with the voices and sounds you’ve come to expect. That it’s an anthology series means you can leave off and pick up whenever and wherever, without the required listening of a long-form series.
The stories you tell to kids around the fire might be limited, which is why we think Nightlight makes sense for camp directors. Take off the storyteller hat for once, and let someone else guide you through the world of ghosts, ghouls, and other monsters. We also enjoy the interviews with authors as nice breaks from the fear factor.
Can’t-miss episode: Families are complicated, whether they are human or vampire. That’s the premise of Ujima, one of our favorite stories.
Jim Kwik is a brain expert and his short podcast is designed to help listeners gain important skills in very little time. Yes, Kwik is really his last name. He is perhaps best known for his speed-reading prowess, but his useful brain advice isn’t limited to that area of expertise.
Your brain is your greatest asset, according to Kwik, and his podcast is designed to help you get the most out of it. The proof is in Kwik’s own experience. He developed many of his strategies after a childhood accident left him learning-impared. It’s that personal element that makes Kwik’s podcast stand out.
Can’t-miss episode: Creativity keeps camps going, and this episode about how creativity can also be healing really hit home for us.
For nonprofit camps, sometimes you need that perfect combination of expert advice and commiseration. Enter Nia Wassink and Brittny Wilson. They bring decades of experience in the nonprofit sector to their podcast, and provide important takeaways on topics such as board development, fundraising, event planning, and burn-out.
What we love most about the Nonprofit Reframe is the conversational approach taken by the hosts. They talk about their own experiences and share both successes and failures, and you legitimately feel like you’re friends with them. While their language may be explicit on occasion, you never doubt that their aim is to empower and support nonprofit professionals.
Can’t-miss episode: Learn about balancing diversity and tokenism in this episode about boards of directors.
Sometimes we need to challenge common misconceptions in order to live our best lives. The Happiness Lab aims to do just that, by questioning outdated ideas of what we think we need to be happy, including money, better jobs, and more vacations. Instead, Yale professor Dr. Laurie Santos combines research and stories to shift how we think about happiness entirely.
The course that Dr. Santos teaches is called, “Psychology and the Good Life,” and it is the most popular course at Yale. If this podcast is any indication, it’s because the lessons are relatable, the advice applicable, and the goals achievable. Driving toward happiness is important, but understanding the psychology behind it doesn’t hurt.
Can’t-miss episode: In this episode about bad habits, Dr. Santos talks with a scientist and an army doctor about how they’ve kicked their own.
Outside Magazine is one of our favorite places to read long-form articles about nature, environmentalism, and adventurous people who do amazing things. The Outside Podcast takes this same content and brings it to you in episodes that are usually around 30 minutes long. This makes it ideal for taking a short podcast break.
While you will get the expected stories of wild animals, mountain climbing, and outdoor survival, the podcast has more expansive topics. It veers into the politics of nature, outer space, how bodies respond to and recover from accidents, and more.
Can’t-miss episode: So many to choose from, but this story of conservationists trying to save the monarch butterfly was particularly gripping.
(Pod)Cast a wide net
Whether you’re looking for advice you can apply to your job at camp, fictional tales to entertain you, or inspiring stories of real people, podcasts are the perfect medium. They don’t ask for too much time, you can listen while doing other things, and if you don’t like what you hear, just push pause and try something new. We think this list is a good starting point, but what we love most about podcasts is that there are so many you’re bound to find the perfect one.