(Photo by Lindsay O’Neil)
Summer Camp Friendships
By Maylin Rowe
Being in a new environment is exciting. No parents to tell you what to do, only a sea of possibilities in forming new friendships, while the great outdoors give you an added sense of freedom, and all of the activities leave you breathless… this makes summer camp the perfect opportunity to learn about yourself.
Maybe it’s your first time away from home, or maybe you’ve ventured out a lot; either way, it’s time to put what your parents have always taught you into practice. It’s time to learn about what you value in the friends you make, and it’s time to learn about the kind of friend you want to be to others. While it seems like camp offers you unlimited freedom, it’s the kind of freedom that should you lead you to growth. You’re suddenly beset with such a variety of different people, and you’re given a variety of opportunities, but what you do with those people and those situations is uniquely you.
You’ll see cliques and outcasts. Know that even in the cliques some people feel lonely, because they had to conform in order to fit in. Know that the outcasts probably have something in common with you. You’ve probably heard it’s best to “be yourself,” but you probably haven’t heard why: the reason is unique to every person, but to be yourself means to carry what your parents taught you, your experiences, and your interests with you wherever you go. And because it’s unique to you makes it important – you have insight no one else does. That’s why you should “be yourself,” because no one else sees the world through your eyes. You might make friends that share many common interests, but what you should also be looking for is those friends who can show you something different about the world. No one person should limit your perspective, but wherever you find friendship, know that it isn’t about quantity but quality. If you make just one friend, that makes keeping in touch so much easier. If you make a lot of friends, your chances of seeing some of them again increases. Whatever friends you make, or whatever you learn along the way, know that summer camp is fleeting and you should use the time well.
So while you’re learning about yourself and making friends, take time to look for the outcasts and ask them questions to find out who they are. They’re on a journey just like you, and maybe you can help them on their way, or maybe they’ll help you; either way, you’ll both be impacted by the opportunity that summer camp brings.