As families travel to see loved ones in faraway places and gather around the table to celebrate the Holidays we are reminded of our camp ‘family’ the summer friends that sit deep in our hearts. Many of the people we are close to at camp live far away, some are even separated by a whole ocean. Most of our campers don’t get to see their shack mates through the year and miss those friends dearly. They often refer to their camp friends as their ‘summer sisters’ as that is how close the relationship feels. Even as adults our camp cohorts are geographically dispersed and missed greatly through the ‘off’ season. As the Camp Runoia song says the people you spend your ‘long summer days’ with definitely become ‘old friends for always’.
The bonds that you make at camp are unlike any others. Sharing day to day living, successes, frustrations, time by the campfire or in a tent under the stars just can’t be replicate by sharing a math class at school!
Social media is a connecting force for our older girls, Instagram, snap-chat, face time and text groups keep them in touch when they are not at camp. It is interesting that relationships generated in our tech free world at camp are nurtured through the ease of communication via technology when we can’t be together. It’s fun for our Runoia girls to share parts of their everyday non camp life with their besties from the summer. Our alumnae facebook page is bustling with activity especially when old photos are shared with a call out of ‘who is that?’. They generate interactions and the sharing of stories and ‘remember when’s…’ It is amazing what people remember even when camp was many, many years ago.
Recently a camp mom emailed to get the contact information for her daughter’s entire cabin group which included friends in Europe. A life milestone Bat Mitzvah celebration warranted the attendance of all of her daughters camp friends. Long after their camping days are done so many Runoia friends share other big life events together. Another Mom of a younger girl asked about addresses so that her daughter can send homemade Holiday cards to her shack mates.
Camp is so much more than just a few weeks of doing incredible activities in a beautiful location. It is friendships that last a lifetime, relationships that truly have deep and meaningful value. Camp is where many people make their life friends and truly have their ‘summer sisters.’