Knowing that our daughters will be successful in making new friends at camp is a high desire of all parents. At Keystone Camp, we are very proud of the ways we are able to support the opportunities to make new friendships. It is very tempting to choose a camp where many of the girls in your neighborhood or your daughter’s school may be attending. However, what you might find in that situation is that the expectations of those very familiar girls follow your daughter to summer camp.
At Keystone Camp, we are very intentional in creating an environment that brings girls together from all over the country, and even the world. We limit the number of girls from any one school or town who attend. We want the environment at Keystone to allow our campers to be who they want to be; not who they are expected to be. This geographic diversity gives our campers many opportunities to meet new friends who bring different perspectives to our community. Perhaps your daughter is from a large metropolitan community. One of her cabin mates may be from a town of less than 15,000 people, where everyone seems to know one another. How much we can learn about the ways our hometown lives differ!
We love hearing about our campers continuing their camp friendships during the school year. For several years, we had a group of six girls who would gather at a different home each President’s Day Weekend. They would come together from Nashville, Atlanta, Tampa, Tallahassee and Jacksonville. I always had the pleasure of receiving a letter from them about their adventures and they would share pictures of their annual reunion with me. They are all college graduates now, and I know they have stayed in touch. I also had three friends who ended up sharing an apartment in New York just out of college, and the number of camp friends who end up as bridesmaids and godmothers is staggering. These girls met at camp, and they remain in touch to this day. We heard from a few of our families this year about school holiday visits. A Washington, DC camper traveling to Cincinnati for a visit, and a couple of our Miami, Florida high schoolers visit their dear camp friend who lives in Sandersville, Georgia. Nothing like going from 453,000 to 5,700!
We love our friends from home, but our camp friends are truly special. What we hear most often from our girls is that their summer camp friends are their “constants.” So many emotions accompany school relationships, and we all appreciate the struggles that middle school brings. Your camp friends get to know the real you. When you are living with others 24 hours a day for several weeks at a time, you dive deep into your relationships. Living closely in a summer camp cabin cultivates relationships with those who have your same interests and it teaches an appreciation for those who have a different perspective. Camp nurtures new insights about yourself and life. Summer camp expands your worldview, and gives you many friends across the globe. My daughter has spent this semester studying abroad. She has been able to tap into her camp friendships to find a familiar face in a foreign land, new places to visit, and a place to rest her head at night as she has traveled.