Summer Camp Memories Last A LifetimePosted by Alicia Theriault on September 16, 2019
Each summer thousands of children across the United States and around the world attend summer camp. The American Camp Association estimates over 14 million children and adults attend camp each summer. Every year four hundred of those are Fernwood Cove campers. And summer after summer the majority of campers return to summer camp. The unique environment of summer camp provides a multitude of opportunities. Campers return with truly unique stories and memories. One of the most unique aspects is that summer camp memories last a lifetime.
With a focus on simple living, Fernwood Cove girls connect in real and meaningful ways. Hundreds of girls come through the Fernwood Cove gates ready for adventures and friendships. Campers and CITs return home having learned new skills, developed meaningful relationships, and with amazing stories of their adventures. While the stories can come slowly at first, parents quickly begin hearing the words “At camp….” And the stories continue until it’s time to depart for camp again. And they don’t end there. Former campers share their camp memories with camp friends, college roommates and even their spouses. Showing that summer camp memories last well beyond the days of camp.
Summer Camp Memories In the Early Years
Girls begin their Fernwood Cove journey as young as seven years old. Take a moment to envision camp from the perspective of a seven year old. Everything must seem SO BIG. Their days are full of so many new things- new activities, new food, new friends, new songs. Each day brings something new. As an adult this can be overwhelming- just ask some of our counselors. However, when we think about camp from the perspective of our youngest campers we quickly understand why they often don’t have a lot of stories or memories to immediately share.
As young Fernwood Cove girls continue with their summer and transition into the school year parents will often begin to hear more about camp. They will learn about the new foods their daughter tried. Or the foreign words they learned from their counselor who speaks a different language. The smallest things can trigger memories of camp. You never know when they will surface. But when they do parents are guaranteed a magical moment.
Strong Camp Friendships Build Strong Camp Memories
As campers get older their stories from camp grow in length and number. There are times that parents likely wish they could press the pause button on their daughter’s camp stories. Each summer when campers return they not only further develop their skills. They also deepen their friendships and connections with their bunkmates and counselors. This has a snowball effect creating more memories. Each summer we see strong camp friendships build strong camp memories. Sillier, and happier, and more meaningful memories. It can be difficult as parents of young campers to be patient while waiting for these memories to be made. But we promise you, they are well worth the wait.
As campers grow into the oldest age groups and transition to becoming CITs they become interested in helping younger campers create summer camp memories. Cove Sisters are a great example of this. The oldest campers at Fernwood Cove, 8th and 9th graders, often commit part of their free time each day bonding with their Cove Sister in the youngest bunks. This dedication to the younger campers helps them connect with camp. It also helps our older girls realize there’s more to camp than their own personal camp stories and adventures.
Camp Memories Show the Impact of Summer Camp
Young adults work at camp for a variety of reasons. Former Fernwood Cove campers and CITs often return to camp as counselors so they can help the current generation of girls experience camp just as they did. They want to help today’s girls create summer camp memories much like their own. Part of the magic of camp is this continual development of new camp memories as we all experience camp together. Knowing that this development is driven by our combined memories of feeling connected and feeling a sense of belonging makes it even more special. Former campers are loyal and dedicated to Fernwood Cove because of their individual memories of their camper days.
As a camp director there’s nothing that makes you prouder than seeing former campers succeed long after camp. Hearing from alumni who tell us how camp has impacted them is always great. Hearing how they shared their camp stories of friendship and growth during interview or on college applications shows the lifelong value of camp. This is when we all realize that summer camp provides so much more than what we achieve in a summer together. It is through the shared stories of camp that we realize that both the impact of camp and summer camp memories last a lifetime.