Camp Woodland Blog

Why Are Camp Friends So Special?

Posted by on August 3, 2018

With only a few days of camp to go, it is obvious that campers and counselors are very much aware that our time together is all too quickly coming to an end.  There is a closeness now that we didn’t feel just 6 short weeks ago. For many, camp is the one time of the year that brings friends back together and so every precious moment of this final week is cherished and imprinted in our minds.

There is something about camp friends that is different from friends from home. Although it is hard to pinpoint the exact difference, camp friendships tend to be more genuine and often last a lifetime.  I decided to see for myself and ask Woodland campers of all ages, “Why are camp friends so special?”  Some answers are similar, others are different, but all encompass the spirit of Woodland and the friendships that are formed in the “Northwoods.”

One of the younger campers I asked observed that camp friends are special because “It is never, ever, ever awkward…even if we are just hanging out and doing nothing. It is comfortable and natural.” Another shared that “you can be yourself.”  Camp friends become “sisters over 6 weeks – it seems like you have known them since birth” and “they don’t judge you.”

Several girls around 12 and 13 years old, mentioned that camp friends  “know everything about you” and “rely on you because you go through everything together.”  Another camper piped in with, “you can’t hide anything from friends you live with for 6 weeks.”  One camper commented that, “at school I can’t even talk to someone who isn’t in the same grade as me. At camp I have friends of all ages, including CIT’s and counselors. Everyone at camp is so easy to talk to.”  Friends at camp “accept you for who you are – you don’t need to be a certain way for them to accept you.”

The oldest campers described their camp friends as  “family because you get to be with them for 6 weeks.” At camp they said, “you learn so much more about one another” simply because “not having social media breaks down barriers and you bond over things you wouldn’t do at home.”  Camp friends “see a different side of you because of living together for an extended period of time and accept you for who you are.”

One of Woodland’s senior counselors attributed the special character of her camp friendships to being “a purified version of yourself and being connected to others who are also the best versions of themselves. There is nothing superficial – it makes you stronger as a person and the friendships are more reliable.” “Going through challenges together,” another staff member says, “helps you grow stronger.”  At camp we “bring together a lot of girls from different places and with different beliefs, yet we come together because we share the same value system of listening, caring, and respect.”

A longtime Woodland girl and counselor shared that “you grow up in a special place that only camp friends share and understand. There is a sisterhood because at camp we are at ‘home’.”  Camp can also be described as a “shared experience and space. We speak a universal ‘language’ with camp friends through activities and events that lead to common jokes and a common experience.”  “When you leave camp and come back,” another counselor shared, “nothing changes. It is like you just saw each other yesterday.  It is like being on ‘pause’ instead of having to ‘rewind’.”

Regardless of the age, camp is unconditional acceptance and true friendship sharing wonderful experiences from which you both grow as people. It’s a lifelong gift, and we are indescribably grateful for it!

Each campfire lights anew, the flame of friendship true.  The joy we’ve had in knowing you, will last our whole lives through.  See you next summer!

A big shout out to the camp in North Carolina to whom I owe this awesome blog inspiration!