There is something about camp friendships that stick to us for the rest of our lives. Picture those moments when we see two people who have become great friends in camp many, many years ago, and have not seen each other for so long—and one day they bump into each other. They burst out in happiness and hug each other as they start catching up and talking endlessly about their camp adventures. What a wonderful sight it is to see people happily reminiscing about their unforgettable camp moments—going back to those sets of memories that have transcended time and distance. Meeting friends for life is one gift a person can gain from any camp experience.
At The Vineyard, our feedback from campers and parents is very encouraging and explains why 80% of our campers return each year. We have a very strategic approach in instilling Christian values to our campers through transformative activities. Still, beyond that, one of the biggest reasons why our campers keep on coming back every year is the fact that they know this is a loving community. They have old best buddies, mentors, leaders, and staff they can come back to, and these are the special bonds that were formed in just a few days.
What is it about camp friendships that make it so special?
It has to be a combination of many things, but it eminently has a lot to do with meeting like-minded individuals in a unique social environment. Campers are subjected to different opportunities that make them associate themselves with others, all set in a worry-free, uncomplicated, and fun environment. It also has something to do with timing, as children go through the important years of psycho-social development where they start to become curious about things like personal identity and purpose—and while they all go through that, they look around and meet friends who are going through the same stage, and identify with them. The reason why it’s endlessly fun to talk about camp adventures with old friends and why these friendships last is because our camp memories are preserved in a special bubble—a moment in time we can all comfortably reminisce again and again.
"My children have been to many camps throughout their childhood, and they have said the Vineyard was the absolute best!"- Dr. Ashley Lloyed
Fleeting as it may be, at some point, the camp will be over we all have to go back home. Are you missing the fun games and activities, and the interactions with your friends and leaders? Do you miss your summer camp best friends? That’s normal, but it’s clearly not the end of the road for you. There are many ways to stay connected with camp friends, and we counted the ways:
Gone are the days when people lose track of friends they’ve come to bond with in the past. Now, social media has made it all possible to connect with people even if they’re on the other side of the world. With so many social media platforms available, you can stay in touch with them in such countless ways.
How lucky are we to be living in a time when we can easily network with people by a simple “Add” or “Follow” button on Facebook or Instagram? Today, we can easily add friends on social media platforms and update each other on things we are busy about at present. You can exchange news, stories, and even personal feelings at a click of a button, and it doesn’t even matter far you are from them.
Chat and Instant Messaging Tools –
There are tons of messaging apps to choose from, and the most popular would be Facebook, Viber, and WhatsApp. You can send fun messages, greetings, consolations, advice, or anything random to people in any part of the world. Do you wonder what your camp bestie is doing at this moment? Send them an instant message!
Before leaving camp, be sure to add them all on social media, and of course, gather their email addresses to you can send them a quick note at any time.
Snail Mails and Postcards
Before social media became popular, snail mail was the way to connect with camp friends. Do you remember the time when we all used to feel so excited about getting a letter from our camp best friends? That has never gotten old. You can ask anyone, and they would say the same thing—that receiving a sweet note on the mail is the sweetest, most charming gesture a friend could ever do. Wherever you may be and whatever it is you’re doing, it doesn’t take much to write something and send it by post. Send pictures, postcards, and greeting cards because those things never go outdated.
Plan a Vacation or a Reunion
Probably the best thing that happens AFTER camp is planning that big reunion. The fact that you made so many friends during summer camp means you have friends from all over the country--- or even from all over the world! Planning a vacation reunion with them would be such a great idea. Agree on a place to meet, a new adventure to partake and make new memories from. At The Vineyard, we have kids from all over the country, but more than that, we have International Apprentices, too.
We love hearing stories about friendships that flourished at The Vineyard. Every now and then, we receive emails, social media messages, and mails of photos and greetings from our happy campers from all corners of the globe. How about you? How do you stay in touch with your camp friends?
Registration is ongoing for camp 2020 so if you want to see some of your old friends at The Vineyard, make sure you get your slot now.