On the eve of my first day of camp I would lie in bed fretting well into the night. This happened every year. I always stressed over the same thing, “What if I don’t make any friends?” It’s every girl’s nightmare, but rarely is that worry ever brought to fruition. I would bet that most girls are surprised by the ease of making new friends and that the worry disappears within an hour of being inside the Illahee gates.
Not only are camp friendships fostered quickly, but it’s likely they will last into adulthood. Maybe it’s because we share every meal together (uninterrupted by a screen), or end every night in Friendship Circle. Maybe gathering around a crackling fire or having late-night tent conversations at Hannah Ford Farm, brings us closer. We will never know the “magic formula” in a camp friendship, but we will always treasure the importance of these relationships. Some of our Junior Counselors reflect on friendships they have formed at camp:
From camp I learned the value of true friends as well as the value of taking some time to disconnect with the outside world. Throughout my years at camp I have met some of my best friends in the entire world. They may live hours away, but sometimes I think they know me better than I know myself, and I am so thankful for them!
The picture on the left is Helen’s first summer at Illahee, where she earned the nickname “Squirrel”. On the right “Squirrel” is pictured during Leadership Camp this past summer. This will be her 10th summer at Illahee!
For eight years, Illahee has taught me a lot and I have grown so much as an individual. Most importantly, it has taught me about friendship. Since all of my friends from camp live in different states I only see them once a year, so we lose touch for weeks at a time because our lives are busy. However, as soon as I see them at camp, it’s like no time has passed.
Meredith and Gray during a trip out of camp on the Blue Ridge Parkway. They are both looking forward to being back as Junior Counselors this summer!
At the beginning, one of my favorite aspects of camp was the activities. I loved arts and crafts, riflery and tennis. But as I grew up and continued to come back to camp year after year, I realized I was actually more excited about seeing my friends. The relationships here are unique. It is crazy how you can become as close to a group of girls in three weeks at camp, as you are to girls you have been going to school with for more than three years back home. Some of the friendships I’ve made started with silly conversations in activities and blossomed into lifelong friendships.
Crosby and Perry have been coming to camp together since 2012!
Have a wonderful weekend, Illahee family!