I have to share a wonderful story….a story of the power of camp and the memories that truly last a lifetime. This past Memorial Day weekend, I got together with two friends that I have known most of my life. We all grew up in the same town, but the initial meetings were all camp related. I met my friend Jodi at day camp in the summer of 1974, and Jodi met our friend Stefanie at sleep away camp the following summer. Their camp ties were always a part of our growing up, and they always spoke of camp in a positive light. They spoke of camp so often that I had a familiarity with their camp friends and the adventures that took place.
So fast forward to Memorial Day weekend 2013… We are gathered together with our families to catch up on all that has been happening since we have last seen each another. As we talked about summer plans and kids and jobs, it was amazing to hear my friends continue to bring up camp stories like it was yesterday. Every so often one of them would get a big smile on their face and ask the other “Do you remember the time at camp when…”? These memories took place 38 years ago, but they were fresh in their minds and you could tell that they would be repeating them for years to come. As I listened to stories of camp, I was amazed at how wonderful it made them feel and especially how fascinated all the kids were to hear about camp “back in the day”. They talked about the nicknames they had…the friends they made….the summer as pioneers living in the woods…and the overall joy of their summers spent at camp.
I asked my two dear friends what their camp experience meant to them. They talked about feeling homesick but never wanting to leave, how much they matured at camp, their first camp boyfriend, the fun of color war, how squishy the bottom of the lake felt, and most importantly how they wouldn’t change any of it for the world. And then the conversation turned to our own children and the hope they too will have the same positive camp experience and one day sit around with friends reminiscing about their camp days. It may not be the 70’s anymore, but the heart of camp will always be the same. Camp will always be a place to develop independence and confidence, and to take on personal challenges. It will always be a place to form lasting friendships, to laugh, to enjoy nature, and to “just be”. It was a great day spent with friends, and though I didn’t attend camp with them, I loved hearing how happy their camp memories made them feel and how they cherished their times at camp. Lucky women!!!!