Ah, summer camp! There’s a lot of joy in our memories of camp days, from swimming to crafting to playing games. But the best memories of all?
The memories of time spent with our camp best friends!
Research has shown that developing long-lasting friendships during adolescence is crucial to child development and impacts the way we socialize as adults. Forming these essential bonds can be tough for some kids, and nothing opens the door to friendship like summer camp!
Today we’re going to talk about why how such close friendships form at summer camp and why they stick. Let’s dive in!
Homesickness is an Equalizer
In the first few hours after Mom and Dad have dropped you off at summer camp, you’re not sure where to turn. It’s a little intimidating and a little scary. Fortunately, you’re not wallowing in your fear alone.
Summer camps tend to organize kids by age, which means that most of the children in your child’s cabin or playgroup will be in a similar stage of development. Their reactions to homesickness will probably be somewhat similar, which can provide comfort and reduce feelings of isolation.
Turning to one another for solace can spark the beginning of a strong bond. After a day or two, it’s Mom and Dad, who? I’ve got a new camp best friend!
Camp Provides Structured Fun
Between the games and activities, there’s usually the right amount of structure at summer camp. Doing this allows kids to get to know each other without feeling awkward, and it’s a huge help to shy kids who are reluctant to approach someone on their own.
Plus, camp games and activities tend to focus on group challenges that require kids to let their guards down and work as a team. All summer camps, from arts and crafts camp to leadership camp, are designed to nudge kids out of their shells and feel more confident expressing themselves. Campers show love and support to one another during these challenging and vulnerable moments.
Camp Best Friends Grow Up Together Without the Drama
Once camp best friends have been established, it’s smooth sailing keeping that friendship alive. Why? Because you see each other every summer and, chances are, everything else is long distance.
We all know that things tend to get more dramatic as kids reach their teenage years. They’re beginning to feel more firm in their opinions. They’re exploring relationships.
There’s a lot of room for fighting between friends, even best friends, during this time. It’s not uncommon for a friendship between two teens to dissolve as they both change in behavior, habits, and taste–especially if these changes cause tension.
Meanwhile, camp best friends are removed from the day to day drama and can be supportive of one another from afar. In the end, no matter what changes either one goes through over the years, they still have their time spent at a summer camp in common!
Embrace the Love Between Camp Best Friends
When your child makes camp best friends, the best thing you can do is be supportive! It might feel a little strange that you don’t know this friend (or their parents) as well as some of your kid’s other friends, but that’s okay. Indeed, the camp supervisors would let you know if there was anything to worry about!
For more kid stuff and meditations on mom’s life, check out more of posts and subscribe to get them straight to your inbox!