Summer Camp Friendships Are InvaluablePosted by Alicia DeHart on October 25, 2019
If you were to ask current or past Fernwood Cove campers why they return to camp many would say their friends. The same can be said for Fernwood Cove counselors. In fact, “friends” is the most common reason for returning to camp across the country. There’s truly something special about summer camp friendships. They are one of the most consistent and popular results of going to camp. However, at Fernwood Cove friendships aren’t simply a result of camp. Friendship is one of the core values of Fernwood Cove. We place great importance on friendship because summer camp friendships are invaluable.
It can be hard to understand how relationships form so quickly at Fernwood Cove. How can you get to know someone so closely in just three an a half weeks in Maine? How does someone become a lifelong friend when you spend eleven months of the year away from them? Yes, it seems too good to be true- almost magical. However, I can assure you it’s far from magic. At Fernwood Cove the value of friendship is at the forefront of the Fernwood Cove community.
Summer Camp Friendships Grow Naturally
During the days of summer camp in Maine you’ll often hear people say it’s like being in a bubble. Or in “your own little world.” When you are fully immersed in camp life you focus on so many things that simply pass by in everyday life. This includes the people that you cross paths with. Without the distractions of outside life Fernwood Cove campers and counselors truly connect. At Fernwood Cove summer camp friendships grow naturally through community living, family-style meals, and a focus on inclusion.
This does not mean camp friendships occur overnight. Like many other valuable things, they come from basic beginnings and with proper care and attention they flourish. When campers and counselors return from summer to summer their friendships develop deeper roots and become stronger. The growth and strengthening that occurs each summer ensures camp friendships withstand the months apart.
Fernwood Cove Friendships Become A Sisterhood
After months apart the reconnecting that happens among camp friends on Opening Day is overwhelming. There’s intense energy and excitement. And shrill screams that can likely be heard for miles. But most of all there’s a feeling of belonging and being back with your summer camp family. This comes from the depth and meaning held within camp friendships. At Fernwood Cove we are more than friends. At Fernwood Cove friendships become a sisterhood. Our girls support each other through challenges, encourage each other to take new opportunities, and celebrate each other’s successes.
The sisterhood that develops among campers is formed from true connections. Connections that allow you to truly see a person for who they are, not the clothes they wear or the car their parents drive. Fernwood Cove girls connect through real experiences, not through social media filters. The Fernwood Cove sisterhood empowers girls to grow while simultaneously supporting their sisters as they do the same.
The Value of Camp Friendships
The part of summer camp friendships that makes them truly invaluable is their longevity. Long after the days of summer have passed camp friendships continue to thrive. This is shown most clearly through the continued support and connection Fernwood Cove alumni show each day. The value of camp friendships comes in the moments of celebration. The value of camp friendships also comes in moments of struggle.
Recently I heard a former Fernwood Cove camper and CIT discussing the unique qualities of summer camp friendships. She spoke of the strength of the relationships built through the intentional Fernwood Cove community. And then she spoke of the longevity and the ability to pick back up after months or years apart because that’s the structure of summer camp friendships.
Summer Camp Friendships Are Magical
This discussion was during a wedding reception for a Fernwood Cove alum. And the value of camp friendships was on full display. The wedding officiant and two groomsmen were Fernwood Cove counselor alumni. Two other camp friends were mentioned in the Father of the Bride toast. And camp traditions were a part of the celebrations. It was apparent to everyone there that summer camp friendships are magical.
There aren’t many other places that create friendships where almost twenty individuals (campers, CIT and counselor alumni) spanning over fifteen summers at camp would travel from three different countries for a weekend of celebration. This is just one example of the strength of Fernwood Cove friendships. And it’s exactly why Friendship is a core value and a major focus of each day at camp.