Thursday, July 25, 2013

Summer Camp and Friendship

When I was 10 years old I went to camp for the very first time... with a friend. I went back the next year... with a different friend. When I was 13 years old I went to a different summer camp for the first time... because a friend asked me to go with him.

But, when I was 14 years old I went back to camp... without a friend. Well, I did know the friend that brought me as a 13 year old was going to be there again, but I also was pretty sure three or four other guys from different cities and states were going to be there again as well. And even, hopefully, one of the counselors that was there the year before. Man, that guy was awe - some.

summer camp and friendship
That was a big year for me. A big shift in what summer camp was for me. Because among all the other great parts of camp like the fun, the games, the songs, the adventure, the faith development, and the experience of independence to name a few, (to be honest as a kid, mostly the fun) summer camp was a significant place of friendship. And, not only just maintaining current friends, like I mostly did all year at school, but it was a place of new friendships.

There must be something about the shared experience at summer camp-- laughing, learning, pushing ourselves to the limit climbing over mountain after mountain. Or, maybe like the time one of our fellow cabinmates entered into early hypothermia while backpacking and the counselors and campers (all 13-15 years old) had to work together to solve the crisis at hand while in the middle of the wilderness... Maybe it is things like that that make summer camp a place where friendships are made and maybe that is part of the reason why those friendship seem to last.

I still have close friends that are even to this day, in my 30's, my camp friends.

The American Camping Association recently posted a short article with a bit of research into summer camp and friendship. You can check it out here if you want more.

Do you have a story of summer camp and friendship? Share it in a comment below!
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