Loyalty and Trust, The Magic of Fernwood Cove FriendshipsPosted by Alicia Theriault on April 16, 2019
“I knew when I met you an adventure was going to happen.” —A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh
The intense friendships forged at summer camp are the stuff of legend, appearing time and time again as the subject of movies, books and music. Some of the depictions get these friendships all wrong, dragging out old tropes or stretching the bounds of what we would consider “CA” (camp appropriate), mostly for a laugh. But they often also get one thing right: the magic of the summer camp friendship.
So what makes summer camp friendships so special?
Some people seem to make friends effortlessly, collecting new besties like favorite novels or treasured photographs. Other girls approach new acquaintances more carefully, wondering how much of themselves to reveal and when. The amazing thing about summer camp is that everyone, no matter her natural social tendencies, is in the same boat: open and interested and excited to share and make new friends. Everyone is ready for an adventure!
Friendships are easy at summer camp. Within hours, dozens of previously unfamiliar faces become a girl’s second family, and everyone is “in it together.” The loyalty and trust that can take years to solidify during the year and at school can blossom in a matter of days. Girls who would usually keep their guard up find that they can easily, safely, and joyfully express themselves. The risks of putting herself “out there” not only fade away, but they come to seem silly—a healthy perspective that they will take with them as women out in the world, wherever they journey in life.
As the saying goes, “You can’t make old friends.” At Fernwood Cove, new friends become old friends every day.
Summer camp is a place where girls can proudly, unabashedly, be themselves. They can fly whatever flag they choose as high as they like, and they will be celebrated for it. Because the version of herself that she puts forward to the world is her authentic self, the bonds she forms there are also genuine. Girls open up more, unbothered by feelings of self-consciousness that can visit them in the outside world. Hours spent together, sharing experiences and feelings, jokes and laughs, and hopes and dreams form the basis of the most rewarding, sustainable connections. Hours on Lake Norway, themed meals and unique trip days give girls the chance to make lasting memories. The minutes waiting for shower dip or singing songs around the campfire add up to a lifetime of the best sort of special connection.
Friendship is good for our health. Strong social bonds help us manage stress and increase wellness, literally adding years to our lives. And as many adult women will attest, there is something uniquely affirming about longstanding female friendships. Every trusted confidant a girl finds at summer camp becomes a cherished, loyal, reliable—even essential—relationship over the years. Many Fernwood Cove alums consider their summer camp friend group their most enhancing and affirming team of allies. They are the bevy of besties they go to first with their brags and their woes, their dilemmas and their raves (the good kind and the bad). They are the sister squad they will circle back to for the rest of the century. On Fernwood Cove’s part, annual reunions give girls the chance to connect in person between summer camp sessions, strengthening the trusting and loyal bonds they know they can rely on forever and always.
As Charlotte says to Wilbur in E.B. White’s beloved novel, Charlotte’s Web, “You have been my friend….That in itself is a tremendous thing.”