By: Abbie Sussman, Summer 365 CIT
On National Best Friends Day (yes there really is a national holiday for everything), we celebrate the friends who have been there for us through it all. Ever hear the legend that camp friends are the best friends? Well, its true, and here at Summer 365, we take National Best Friends Day to appreciate these very special friendships that start during the summer. Through fights over who gets first shower and over the cleanliness of your shared aisle, camp friendships prevail through a lot of ups and downs. Each little bump in the road makes camp friendships grow stronger and stronger. After all, it is difficult not to become best friends with a group of people that you are surrounded by 24/7 for weeks at a time. At the end of the day, these are the friends that know you the best and will be there for you through all of the ups and downs of life. There is something special about camp that allows the friendships that develop there to flourish unlike friendships forged anywhere else. Maybe it’s all of those nights that your best friend kept you up talking because he or she couldn’t sleep, or maybe it’s the shared love you both had for the chocolate chip cookies served every Tuesday, but something in the crisp summer air brings great friends together.
Like best friends Stephanie and Jillian. When Jillian came to camp ‘late’ the summer before she entered 7th grade, she wasn’t sure how the other campers would receive her. Although in different bunks, Jillian “admired Stephanie’s Limited Too tank tops and asked her to be [her] buddy at scuba on the lake.” Stephanie gladly accepted, welcoming new camper Jillian with open arms. “Since that day we have become more than just camp friends, we’re life friends, and that’s all thanks to Tyler Hill Camp.”
(Stephanie went to camp 10 years and Jillian attended 7)
Some camp friendships are a little bit more complicated. CFFs (camp friends forever, BTW) Jackie and Lindsey live quite the distance from one another, with Lindsey in St. Louis, Missouri and Jackie in Dayton, Ohio. Visiting one another over the school year wasn’t always possible. They would spend the entire year in anticipation of living together at camp, where they created a summer’s worth of memories to get them through their long distance friendship over the year. “Since we no longer go back to camp, we substitute these long summers for short visits, but we plan on ending up in the same city after college. Just because camp is over, our friendship certainly isn’t,” Lindsey says.
(Both Lindsey and Jackie attended camp for 7 years)
Camp friends Logan and Kara have similar plans for their future, but they may be a little bit more dependent on one another than the average CFF duo. When asked how their friendship has and will survive after their camp years, Kara said “Lo will forever be my bestest friend and we’ve made a deal that we’ll live next to each other in matching houses when we’re married. Our kids will be best friends and go to camp together where their summers will be just as special as ours have been!
(Kara attended 6 summers and Logan attended camp for 5)
The most unexpected friendships often arise at camp. Counselor Shira never thought she would be best friends with her campers who are five years her younger. However, after serving as their waitress for two summers and their counselor for three, Shira forged a special bond with this group of girls. “Watching them grow old and helping them with challenges at each stage of their camp career has brought us so close to each other, and it has been an amazing experience.” Although she is not returning to camp this summer, Shira knows that the bonds she has made with these girls will last a lifetime.
(Shira attended camp for 11 summers)
How about those international friendships formed over the summer? Ruthie spent almost half of her life at sleep away camp, and when she became a counselor, she became great friends with the staff that came from outside the US. “Lift? (Elevator). Jumper? (Sweater). Plaster? (Band-Aid). Chips? (French Fries). Friendship? (Friendship). While my British (and other international) mates use different words and phrases for the above, friendship has and always will be a constant.” If it weren’t for the international friends Ruthie made while at camp, she would have never gone to a Liverpool football (soccer) game, she would have never gone caroling in Hanwell on Christmas Eve, and she would have never backpacked through Australia and Southeast Asia for six months. “I wouldn’t be the person I am without them. I thank camp (and the invention of Skype) everyday for bringing these special friendships into my life.”
(Ruthie attended camp for 12 summers)
Don’t think we’ve overlooked one of the most special friendships formed in camp: the bromance. Friends Ross and “AC” became friends their first summer in 2002, and the rest, as they say, is history. Ross is diabetic, and because of this, he made trips to the health center several times a day to make sure everything was all right. AC always accompanied him, becoming his “diabetic assistant.” These friends lived out the ultimate camp dream of becoming opposing generals, Ross on Blue Ice and AC on White Fire, during their last summer spent at camp together in 2013.
(AC attended 12 summers, Ross attended 13)
These are just a few examples of the amazing friendships that have come to be because of camp, and thousands more just like these are about to form as the summer of 2015 rolls around. It really is true: camp friends are the best friends in the entire world, and no other time or place can create friendships as strong as these ones. Happy National Best Friends Day! We hope we take the time today to tell your CFF how much you love them.