Summer Camp Horror Stories

Summer camp is supposed to be filled with fun activities, new friends, and life-long memories. And how summertime is portrayed in movies, the season definitely seems like a 24/7 adventure. Although accidents can happen anywhere, these summer camp horror stories prove that summer camps aren't spared the worst tragedies and terrifying incidents.

Just about every person who's gone to summer camp has memories of terrible mosquito bites and poison ivy. Leaving camp with scrapes and bruises or even a busted bone doesn't seem so surprising. Though exact statistics are not known, it's estimated that as many as a hundred campers perish every year while away for the summer. Our list compiles wrecks, swimming tragedies, fires, and heartbreaking events that all took place at summer camp. Other horror stories involve food allergies as well as the general negligence on the part of counselors and supervisors. 

There are serious risks you should consider when you send your kid off to live with strangers for a few weeks. Before you decide on a camp for your kids, make sure you've done your research. Laws regarding summer camps vary from state to state. That means you need to ask the tough questions when it comes to the safety of your child. 

Do any of these stories make you think twice about sending your children to summer camp?


  • Counselor Dispatched By A Falling Tree

    Camp counselor, Annais Rittenberg, was crushed by a tree that toppled over onto a campfire circle at Yosemite National Park. No children were hurt, but four other female camp counselors were harmed and two had to be hospitalized following the incident. 

  • Camper Struck By Lightning

    13-year-old Ethan Kadish was struck by lightning while attending the Goldman Union Camp Institute. He spent 145 days in the hospital after suffering a traumatic brain injury caused by lightning. 

  • Teens Almost Perish Because Of Faulty Smoke Detector

    An overloaded electrical outlet caused a fire that almost led to the death of a group of teen girls and their counselor at Camp Pontiac. The smoke detector in their cabin failed to go off until flames had almost fully engulfed the cabin. One of the girls in the cabin noticed something was wrong when the bedside table fan turned off.

    She saw the flames at the ceiling of the cabin and alerted everyone. 

  • Teen Drowns At Summer Camp

    15-year-old Jacob Waxberg perished during a nighttime swimming session at a summer camp in southwest Michigan. His family then sued Lake of the Woods Camp. According to the Waxberg's lawyer, Todd A. Smith: "There are regulations which prohibit swimming in darkness which were clearly violated by having Jacob, and other swimmers, in the lake after 10 p.m. on this summer evening."

  • Boy Scout Falls Under Truck At Camp

    Bruce Rhiddlehoover, known to friends as "Rocky" perished while performing his nightly chore of collecting trash. According to Utah National Parks Council Scout Executive David Pack: "He slipped and fell underneath the tires of the trailer that was carrying the trash."  

  • Summer Camp Shut Down After Kids Get Sick

    67 kids at a summer camp in Washington came down with Norovirus. Kids began getting sick and the camp had to be evacuated. This virus spreads within 24 to 48 hours and lasts for up to three days.