For many young adults, summer camp marks a golden opportunity for co-ed camaraderie and love to blossom. Some campers and counselors keep the campfire flames burning much longer than just the summer months and those extra special relationships can turn into a lifetime commitment. So begins the story of Cara and James, who met at sleepaway camp while they were counselors. Although Cara is from the Empire State and James hails from “down under,” long distance could never keep these two apart. In fact, these camp lovebirds just got hitched! Their wedding was on 8/23/14, and we are so excited to share their story with you!
CARA: James and I met in the summer of 2004. We became very very good friends. We kept in touch over the years and James would return to camp for five more summers after 2004. In Summer 2006, I found out that James “had a thing” for me… and I just went for it! All I wanted was a summer fling, I never thought we would be getting married!!! From 2006 until last year James would come visit me 2-3 times per year (more frequently as we got older). We were in a serious long-distance relationship. We would text, and instant message in the beginning (before skype or ichat was invented), and when Skype was invented we would “hangout” for hours and chat. He was living in Australia and I was living in NY. James moved to NY June 10, 2013 and proposed July 19, 2013. It has been amazing living with him. We don’t have to figure out the time difference between Australia and NY and make plans to talk. We both looked so forward to our wedding and had a lot of camp friends from all over the world come celebrate with us — England, Scotland, Australia.. it was amazing!!!
What was special about camp when you met?
Camp is the kind of environment where you “eat, sleep, and breathe” each other. You see each other at your worst and your best, whether is emotionally or waking up without any makeup on.
How did camp bring you together?
I (Cara) spent my summers at camp since I was 10 years old (1996-2007). Our camp, like most sleep away camps, recruit counselors from other countries around the world. James had no idea what he wanted to do with his life (career wise), so he decided the best thing to do would be travel. Camp would allow him to meet new people and travel afterwards. Literally, the day James was leaving to fly to America was the day he found out which camp he was chosen to work at.
What do you still do to bring camp into your lives?
James and I have many many camp friends we see all the time! My best friends are all camp friends. We also visit camp during alumni day or visiting day.
Are you planning to send your kids to your camp?
What was each of your favorite parts of camp?
We both liked the water front. We enjoy being active and swimming. We kayaked and sailed together as well as “blobbing” each other off the water slide.
What do you think it was about camp that brought you together?
The atmosphere and the quick amount of time it takes to get to know one another. In the camp environment you can’t hide who you truly are. One day at camp is like an entire month of getting to know someone in the real world.
What are three words to describe your camp experience?
Amazing, unforgettable, and extremely fun.
Why do you think it’s important to go to camp?
It enables you to become independent, grow up, and meet so many new people. You make extremely strong bonds that will last a lifetime and you learn a lot about yourself.
What’s each of your favorite camp memories?
Cara: When I was a camper (10 years old) my best friend (to this day), Jenna, and I went into the lake on a surf board. For some weird reason we were both wearing sandals. Jenna and I both lost one of our sandals when we landed into the lake and could not stop laughing for hours.
James: One birthday where everyone threw me a ridiculous party at The Point (local bar) and everyone dressed up from clothing items from salvation army.
Words of wisdom for current/future campers?
Have the best time, let all of your inhibitions disappear. Be yourself and get involved with all activities that interest you.
What’s each of your favorite camp traditions?
Favorite camp memento?
Every Friday we would fill out “Shabbat grams.” We were allowed to give them to anyone and they could even be anonymous. You could write anything on them as well. I still have the most meaningful ones from when I was a camper through my counselor years. They are so special and meaningful.
Favorite canteen candy? Dining hall meal?
Pizza bagels and hairy chicken (haha).
We are looking for LOVE! Email [email protected] if you have a camp love story of your own to share.